Monday, 29 April 2013

spring pastels

So, you are going for a walk in the park and the sun only occasionally shows its face, but you are determined to lose the winter knits.

This is a great spring pastel outfit for this year. It felt so good getting the peach and mint out of the closet. I bought the jacket last year and matched it with clothes I already had. I'm now looking for a casual pair of trousers to pair with the jacket for the summer. 

Have you seen any that might look good with it?

This is one of our favourite places to visit. The botanical gardens (last seen here) has so much to see. A great place for picnics, outdoor concerts and a restored bear pit (which actually had two bears in it until the 1870's.)

What I'm wearing:
H&M jacket, top, blouse, bracelet, ring and sunglasses (wardrobe)
Accessorize necklace (wardrobe)
Primark wedges (wardrobe)

What spring pastels are you wearing?

Have a lovely day everyone.

Friday, 26 April 2013

make the most of may - bucket list

Welcome to my new monthly post - make the most of May. I have been thinking for a while about making the most of the better weather and lighter nights and I thought there is no better way than a monthly bucket list.

This is my way of making sure I don't let the month go by without looking back at the end of the month thinking where did the last few weeks disappear to. I wanted my list to include lots of outdoor activities, making recipes with seasonal and organic ingredients and I am planning a road trip for the end of the month.

I am going to make sure I do a monthly 'make the most of' post at the beginning of every month and I will let you know how I got on at the end of May. I'm really looking forward to it.

What kind of plans have you got for May?

Monday, 22 April 2013

how to make stuffed butternut squash

I know it's early spring, but it is still quite chilly and I fancied some comfort food. I make this a lot in the autumn as it is simple to make and really delicious. I'm sure you will love it too.

Ingredients (serves 4)
one large butternut squash (1.5kg/3lbs) or two small ones
one garlic clove, finely chopped
50g unsalted butter
a little olive oil
75g walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
200g blue cheese
two teaspoons chopped thyme
one tablespoon of runny honey
sea salt and ground pepper

Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Share the garlic and butter between the two halves. Then brush the squash with a little olive oil.

Place in the oven at 190c/gas mark 5 for forty five minutes to an hour, until the flesh is soft.

While the squash is in the oven, coarsely chop the walnuts and break the cheese into small lumps.

When the flesh is tender, take out the oven and scoop into a bowl, leaving one centimetre thickness still attached to the skin.

Mix the flesh with three quarters of the cheese and nuts, keeping some back for later. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the mixture into the two halves, topping with the remaining cheese and nuts. Drizzle over the honey.

And voila! You have a really tasty meal that is very simple to do. I served it with a salad as you don't need much extra to go with it as it's really filling. Enjoy!

I used the recipe for this from the River Cottage Everyday cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Friday, 19 April 2013

burgundy obsession

We snapped these photos on our last day away in Leeds. I couldn't have a day away and not shop! Leeds is a brill day out for some retail therapy especially as it has just opened a fantastic new shopping centre.

Of course I was wearing burgundy again, I matched my cardigan with a lovely green jersey dress and my black ankle boots. I borrowed the scarf from S as a finishing touch. 

Topshop green dress - wardrobe
Topshop burgundy cardigan - wardrobe
Primark burgundy scarf - (last seen here)
Black boots - (last seen here)
Topshop necklace - wardrobe
Ring - wardrobe
Sunglasses - wardrobe

Have a great day

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Spring lace dress and brogues

Well hello sunshine! The first proper sunny spring day this year. But don't be too deceived as it was quite chilly! As you can see I'm wearing my lace dress but a jumper and tights were a must in the cold and the colours were part of my holiday mix and match outfits. Loving burgundy right now! 

My brogues are so comfortable, just right for a day sightseeing.

We spent the day in a lovely little town called Harrogate, famous for it's spa waters and gardens. It was so lovely to see signs of spring everywhere. In the photos below you can see me desperately trying not to tread on the crocuses.

The town is also famous for a tearoom called Betty's. People queue up outside to get a table in here! So we thought 'while we are here, let's be proper tourists and queue up too.'  We were not disappointed! The choice of cakes was all too much, I wanted to try them all. But in the end I chose a raspberry cream macaroon and S had a fat rascal, apparently a 'local delicacy.' Divine!!

A lovely place with a lot of lovely parks and gardens, perfect for a picnic. We did brave the cold and sit outside to eat, next time we come hopefully it will be without a coat!

Primark lace dress - wardrobe
Primark burgundy jumper - wardrobe
H&M tights - wardrobe
Topshop brogues - wardrobe
Topshop parka - (last seen here)
Sunglasses - wardrobe
Urban Outfitters watch - (last seen here)
Primark ring - wardrobe

Have a lovely day everyone,

Monday, 15 April 2013

what I wore for a date night

These photos were taken on our first night away on our little spring break. We got dressed up and went for a lovely meal just a short walk away from the hotel we were staying in. As I said in my last post I tried to pack items of similar colours to mix and match. You can probably tell from my earlier posts that I am in love with the colour burgundy at the moment. (Four items of burgundy on here!)

My skinny jeans go everywhere with me, I just find them so versatile and comfortable, especially if the weather isn't great (we usually have a downpour while we are away.) So I am always prepared with my skinnies and an umbrella. I fell in love with the pretty detail on this blouse when I first saw it. I can wear it under a blazer like this or just with jeans or a skirt in the summer as it has short sleeves.

How do you pack for a short break away?

We decided to try a place called the Yoyo bar and restaurant to eat. We have had gorgeous cocktails there when we have visited before so we thought we would try the food. Of course, it goes without saying that we had a bottle of Merlot (my favourite!)

The food was great, for starters we shared chicken spring rolls and steamed minced pork encased in wanton pastry. For our main courses I had stir fry prawns and water chestnuts and S had a chicken massaman curry. Everything about the meal was perfect; unfortunately I was too full for a dessert!

Hope you will join me for the next installment of our trip.

Topshop skinny jeans - wardrobe (last seen here)
Topshop burgundy blazer - wardrobe
Topshop cream blouse - wardrobe
New Look boots - wardrobe
New Look clutch bag - wardrobe
Topshop & H&M bracelets - wardrobe
Primark ring - wardrobe
River Island watch - wardrobe (last seen here)
Gifted name necklace - wardrobe
Topshop long necklace - wardrobe

Friday, 12 April 2013

what i wore on a short spring break

Our spring break arrived very quickly this year! One minute we had booked it and the next I was thinking about what to pack. I always find this a little tricky as the weather is so unpredictable, but I had a feeling it was going to be cold. 

Trying to piece together items that are warm and cosy and that look blog worthy takes me a few days to get right. Sometimes I wish I could just transport my whole wardrobe where ever I go because I get palpitations at the thought of leaving something behind! Is that just me?

We had decided what we were going to do each day so I put each outfit together in advance to fit what we were doing. I picked colours that I could mix and match with, mainly burgundy, cream and green. I always put my accessories out with my outfits so I don't forget anything. By doing this, I have found I take less but have everything I need.

We spent part of our first day in a quaint little town called Hebden Bridge. It's such a lovely place to be with all kinds of quirky and funky shops including a fantastic soap shop. There are so many places to eat we were spoilt for choice. We had a lovely morning walking round the town, along the canal and when we were ready to eat we found a great Turkish restaurant called The Olive Branch.

Our meal was so tasty, I had a Mediterranean vegetable and halloumi wrap and S had a meatball wrap. If you ever go to Hebden Bridge, definitely try it out as you won't be disappointed.

After lunch we drove to Haworth, famous for being the home of the Bronte sisters. Again, this little village is quaint and definitely still has an old-fashioned feel. I always find when I come here that it is always freezing with a cold wind. I'm determined that next time I go it's going to be the height of summer and my hands aren't going to turn blue!

We have been inside the Bronte house with my girls before and we loved it. It really is like stepping back in time. I could quite happily have moved in!

At the top of the hill is the famous Rose and Co Apothecary shop. Again, step inside and you go back one hundred years. Big vintage glass cases and cabinets hold pretty soaps and toiletries, all with a vintage look. It has to be one of my favourite shops to visit and of course, I always have to treat myself and my girls to a little something!

I have a few more posts about our trip, hope you will come back and see what I wore and what we got up to.

Burgundy lace dress - H&M
Green shirt - Topshop (wardrobe)
Green parka - Topshop (last seen here)
Boots - New Look (last seen here)
Tights - H&M
Satchel bag - Topshop (last seen here)
Name necklace - birthday present from S
Long necklace - Topshop (wardrobe)
Rings - Primark (wardrobe)
Sunglasses - Primark (wardrobe)

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

around my home

I'm so lucky that I have got a partner that can build practically anything he turns his hand to around my home. It's not what he does for a living but he believes anyone can make things if they put their mind to it. One of the reasons we bought this house was to put our own stamp on it. It's just a modest 1930's house but it still has a lot of its original features.

It has two chimney breasts into which we have put log burners. However, the chimney breasts did present us with a problem. What would we do with the alcoves? We came up with the idea of a DIY bookcase that S promptly designed, then made an MDF box to fit a very awkward space (1930's houses are not the straightest!) S made the shelves different sizes to fit different sized books, vases of flowers and a lamp.

I had quite a few books that I wanted to hand (book hoarder!), and the bookcase is perfect. I love shabby chic and French styles as you can probably see. It houses my fashion and lifestyle books and I do tend to collect pretty notebooks so they stand on there too.

It's amazing how much it actually holds, it definitely adds interest to the room without it feeling cluttered. Everyone who visits my home, including my daughters friends, all make a beeline for the books.

Friday, 5 April 2013

how to make a french roast ham & pear open sandwich

This open sandwich is simple but sooo tasty. It really is! Perfect for lunch.

Ham (I used French Torchon ham)
Really fresh bread (I used a baguette but there are so many gorgeous breads)
One pear (I used a conference pear for its soft sweetness)
Extra virgin olive oil

  1. Lightly toast the bread.
  2. Whilst that is toasting, thinly slice a pear.
  3. When the bread is toasted, brush on a little olive oil, and top it with the pear and some strips of French roast ham. Delicious!

Simple pleasures!

I took this open sandwich recipe from Rachel Khoo's The Little Paris Kitchen cookbook.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

what's in my bag

I always find reading other bloggers posts on 'what's in my bag?' really interesting. I am a little nosy I suppose! After reading quite a few, I have found that most of us have similar items that we can't bear to be apart from! My bag is usually packed the day before (organised, I hear you say) but if I leave it till the morning, you can guarantee I will forget something!

Can you believe I am sitting writing this after putting my items together and I have realised I have forgotten to put in my black River Island purse and keys!! I can't get far without those essentials! I think all the Easter eggs have fogged my brain!

So here is what's in my Ted Baker bag (minus the purse and keys) :

Ipad - Keeps me up to date with blogs I read and I sometimes use it for photo editing.

Iphone and headphones - I never leave home without these! I use my iphone as a camera, a diary, for checking e-mails and I read ibooks and listen to music on it.

Moleskine style journal - Good for noting down items you need as a reminder when you are out shopping. Also, useful for noting down outfits you have worn.

Notebook and pen - General notes for everything.

Beauty essentials - Handcream, dry shampoo, eye pencil, lip gloss, blusher, nail file. mirror, mini brush set, moisturiser, lip balm and plasters. These items are always in my bag, you never know when you are going to need a touch up!

Perfume - I am so in love with Paco Rabanne lady million perfume. It is divine! A lovely Christmas present from my daughter.

Dried fruit snacks and mints - Keeps me going through the day.

I would love to hear about what you have in your bag. Is it similar to what's in mine?