July 18, 2014

July 16, 2014

tomato and red pepper soup

Tomato soup is just the best comfort food in the whole world, especially for days like today where it hasn't stopped raining outside. You all probably know by now that I have an obsession with sweet pointed peppers so obviously I had to include them in the recipe too, the soup is incredibly easy to make and also works out so cheap at price per portion. I decided to use a couple of cloves from an oak  smoked garlic bulb that I bought from the garlic farm back on the isle of wight which made the soup taste incredible. It's absolutely essential to use plum tomatoes instead of the regular kind as they have much softer seeds which don't taste at all gritty in the soup (plus they taste tons better). 

1 white onion
3 sweet pointed red peppers
500g plum tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
2tbsp tomato purée
2tsp tabasco
2 cups of vegetable stock

Start off by slicing the tops off the peppers and then straight down the middle, scoop the seeds out and then cut your tomatoes in half and place everything cut side down onto a deep baking tray. Cut the onion up into rough chunks and keep the garlic cloves whole then throw those in too. Use enough olive oil to give everything a good coating and sprinkle with chunky salt and pepper. 

After around 40 minutes in an oven at 190°c everything should be starting to blacken and the tomato skins should be peeling away, all you have to do now is pop the garlic out of the skin and pour everything into a large pan.

Now is the most important part of the recipe, use a blender to whizz the soup up for as long as it takes until it's completely smooth and creamy. Then add a few shakes of tabasco, you can go as spicy as you like it, along with around a tablespoon of caster sugar, tomato puree and a few cups of stock mixture.

It isn't proper tomato soup unless you add a good spoonful of creme fraiche too. This recipe makes enough for around four people but if you have leftovers then just store in the freezer until it's a rainy soup day again.


July 14, 2014

charbonnel et walker raspberry truffles

Not often will I dedicate a whole blog post to a box of chocolates but let me tell you, these are seriously good. I've been a big fan of the Charbonnel et Walker brand for many years and have a slight addiction to the pink marc de champagne chocolates so was obviously more than ready to try out these babies when I heard the news they'd newly launched. I'm not usually the biggest lover of dark chocolate but on my first bite became instantly addicted to these, they are rich and decadent as you'd expect but the tangy raspberry flavour cuts through the chocolate to create the most perfect balance. Trust me you need to try them. 


July 13, 2014

turning twenty

On Friday I turned 20 and am now officially no longer a teenager, damn you time. As much as I dread getting older I've now decided it's a good age to be and I can just wash away the bad sides of being a teen. On a more positive note, I woke up to the most delicious breakfast of fresh crossiants with fortnum and mason strawberry and champagne jam, fresh strawberries and orange juice. 

My cake, from Patisserie Valiere, was the most delicious light sponge filled with french vanilla cream and fresh strawberries. We've made a rule in this house to only ever have french birthday cakes after I had the most incredible cake for my 18th in Paris, no type of cake ever compares to these. If you know of anyone with a birthday coming up then you simply must check out their website, you can customise any kind of cake even down to which kind of fruit, cream and sponge you desire along with a custom message and choice in ribbon colour. I think my mum did a great job with her choices.

I was even treated to this incredible breakfast which included Fortnum and Mason strawberry and champagne jam, fancy indeed.

I love to have a crazy and eclectic mixture of wrapping paper, the peacock feather version was definitely my favourite.

Onto the gifts and I'd been spoilt good and proper again this year. I asked for these Topshop boots as I knew they were in the sale at a great price, they are currently down from £65 to just £20 so get them while you can! They are incredibly comfy and I can't wait to dress them up with jeans and a white tee. The bag is from Warehouse and was also in the sale (what a great daughter I am) reduced to £24 from £32, the style reminds me a lot of the Rebecca Minkoff cross body bags. I also asked for a purple lipstick, just because.

I was treated to a big box of goodies from Lush, you can't beat getting lovely bath goodies for your birthday. My favourite chocolates also made an appearance but this year round in a bumper sized box, not only is it essential to drink champagne on a birthday but it must be consumed in chocolate form too of course. My mum struck gold with the genius idea of this scandinavian design book, she definitely gets a lot of cool points for that present idea. Another item from the sales that I put on my list was this pair of slip on shoes from Dune, they are ridiculously comfy and will be perfect to wear with jeans once I start university in a few months time. They wear an absolute steal at £35 down from £75 (they are now just £30 on the website!).

My main and most exciting gift was without a doubt this Longchamp handbag, I ask for one each year as they are just so practical and fit everything in. I already have both a berry red and cobalt blue version so I'm really pleased to now have one that will go with nearly all outfits. I looked at asking for the black colour at first but decided on the Fusil colour and I think it looks so much nicer. I'm a huge fan of playsuits and spotted this one from Monki to add to my collection, it's such good quality and looks designer in my eyes. It's a great fit too and flatters the body perfectly, and guess what, once again it is in the sale at £18 down from £25, not that you would believe it by looking at it.

Last but not least are these above the knuckle rings from a brand called Me and Zena, these make the perfect birthday gift as they have a birthstone embedded and a little note about it too. You can't see just how lovely the little ruby coloured gem looks from this photo but I will be sure to post some photos on Instagram soon.

July 12, 2014

the lust list | watches

I have a full on obsession with watches, bordering on addiction. Most girls collect handbags or shoes, but not me, I'm a crazy watch lady (whatever that is). I rarely ever wear accessories or jewellery apart from watches, at the most I will wear a dainty gold necklace or bracelet. I'm all for simplicity and functionality and love how watches both serve a purpose and also look great. This is my selection of what I've been lusting after lately, I may just have to buy myself the Marc Jacobs version in the top left corner purely down to it's originality. 


July 10, 2014

pressed flower phone cases

1 | 2 | 3

I first spotted these incredible pressed flower phone cases over on Lottie's blog, aren't they amazing? I'm just using a simple transparent case on my phone at the moment as I like to keep things simple, that and most iPhone cases that I come across are either overpriced or look horrific. In contrast, these are so beautiful and would be like having a piece of artwork on your phone, the one on the far right is my favourite as it's so simplistic yet eye-catching. These ones in particular are from Moora Seal and would cost around £26 each including delivery to the UK, but if you are after a cheaper option then Etsy quite literally have thousands to choose from.

July 09, 2014

devil's food chocolate fudge cakes

I initially hadn't planned to write up a post on these as I wasn't expecting that they'd turn out half as good as they did, but after my first bite of one of these babies I felt the need to share just how good they are. Imagine the huge chocolate fudge cake from the film Matilda, these are exactly the same but in cupcake form. They are the ugly sister to pretty neat vanilla iced cupcakes, but who cares because they taste so damn good. I used the Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake Mix (yes I'm a cheat) and shared the mixture out between muffin cases instead of forming a cake. They take around 15 minutes in the oven but you know when they are ready as the tops of the cakes will have dents in making them look like muffins. Once they come out of the oven allow them to cool before spreading on the chocolate fudge icing, this part is messy but you can probably get them to look neat if you really want to. My cakes turned out as light as a feather making them not at all heavy or sickly tasting, I'm not the biggest chocolate cake lover but since these were so fluffy I absolutely loved them. 


July 07, 2014

the lust list | tech accessories

I'm one of those people who can't help but want every kind of accessory going for the gadgets that I own, but what's an iPad without a pretty case? I've also realised that I most definitely need to invest in a juice cube (5) soon since my phone is constantly running out of battery on the go, I have actually resorted to asking shops in the train station if they have a socket I can borrow to plug my phone to charge before. Another useful accessory is the logitech keyboard for the iPad (7), I've been after a macbook air for a while now but this would be a great short term solution to write up blog posts and reply to emails on the go. 


July 05, 2014

bill's halloumi burger

A few days ago I had the best halloumi burger ever at bill's so I decided to take on the challenge of recreating it at home which turned out to be a surprisingly easy and quick recipe. The two most important ingredients you will need are the halloumi burger slices and the sweet red pepper (ordinary red bell peppers don't taste anywhere near as good). 

First up, fry the halloumi slices and red pepper in a little oil until the cheese is golden brown but be wary not to overcook is as it will turn tough and be too much on the chewy side. You can always roast the peppers if you want them to have more blackened skin, try and flatten the peppers with the back of a spoon as they are cooking so that they fit into the burger as a neat slice.

Next mix a good dollop of the greek yoghurt with some sweet chilli sauce, next time I make these I'm going to use the hot version to make the burgers spicy. I add around two tablespoons of water to the dressing and give it a good mix to make it a better consistency to coat the salad leaves. Then just toss the dressing through some chopped up gem lettuce and it's done.

The final step is to layer up your burgers, start with spreading hummus on the base of the burger, then place on the red pepper, lettuce and finally the halloumi slice, you can always add extra of the yoghurt dressing on the top too. Bill's use red pepper hummus in their burgers which adds great flavour, I'd recommend sticking with a sesame seed bun too as they taste so good with this burger. 

July 01, 2014

outfit inspiration | 01

It dawned on me recently that since I can't afford to buy most of the clothes that make for great outfit combinations that I should simply put all my ideas together for blog posts instead. I came up with this outfit as something that would be perfect for a day in the city, it's the epitome of smart causal. I already have two Longchamp handbags and have a third one on my birthday list as I love them so much, they are so sturdy and even the small version fits almost everything inside. I'd wear this outfit with both a bright red lipstick and matching nails to add a flash of colour, but nude nails and lips would look equally as good if you want to go for an even more understated look.