Wednesday, 10 June 2015


It has been an age since my last outfit post (I mean, just look at how much my hair has grown!), so I thought a visit to HOME, Manchester new creative hub, & the surrounding area was the perfect backdrop to my colourful Saturday outfit. A hybrid of Cornerhouse & the Library Theatre Company, we went to visit their latest (& first) art exhibition 'The heart is deceitful above all things', which was perfect for a quick Saturday afternoon injection of culture, before we headed to hunt down tea & cake. I won't give away too much (go & see it for yourself!), but keep your eyes open for the retro funfair temporary tattoo dispenser!

Khaki & Gold Sunglasses - TK Maxx, originally Balmain *what a find!*
Blue Suede Cropped Jacket - Mango (also in a gorgeous wine hue) *latest buy*
Grey Jersey Vest - Old
Lilac bag - Vintage
Floral Printed Cotton Culottes - Vintage
Black Leather & Wood Block Heel Sandals - Urban Outfitters

Sunday, 26 April 2015


I love the weekend! You may have gathered this from my last post, however I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate Sundays in particular. At this very moment I am sitting in bed, having woken up naturally, looking out the window onto yellow-sprouted trees framing a bright blue sky, with not a cloud in sight. I am thinking about slipping into any old clothes so I can make the most of the fresh bright morning by popping to the shops for the Sunday paper & some fresh bread for brunch. And I'm thinking how I would like to make this a Sunday tradition...

Apart from this new tradition, baking always seems to creep into my weekend plans. If my friends pop round they always ask if there's cake (as there normally is!) so I bake a bunch of goodies from what I have in the house. This time I had an abundance of plums, softening fast & calling out to be smothered by cake & devoured by happy mouths. Good old BBC Good Food gave me a hand with this delightfully delicious Plum & Ginger Sponge recipe, or 'Gingery Plum Cake' as they call it! It is a winner in my eyes, moist (not a great word I know, but it sums it up!) with a perfect balance of sweet, spicy from the ginger & tart from the fresh plums. I just reduced the size of the tin a bit for a deeper sponge & didn't use quite as many plums on the surface area on top. I would love to try this again with some additional fruit, maybe raspberries as they suggest, nectarines or mango. Is mango good baked in a sponge? Let me know if you have tried it!

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Saturday, 11 April 2015


Now that I have a 9-5 job (as opposed to part-time haphazard hours juggled with freelance work on the side) I am learning to love & make the most of evenings & weekends. They may be a normality for many, however this is a luxury for me! Now that the clocks have sprung forward & its is lighter in the evenings helps dramatically in making the most of time. We have been treated (& teased) to a few sunny early evenings spent in the local beer gardens, however I'm still waiting for the temperature to raise its head a bit so we can full enjoy Spring!

My weekends so far have been so fun packed, full of breakfasts in bed, rummaging through a fabulous vintage fair, pub quizzes, experimenting with some new recipes & drinking my way through a Gin Festival...

My friend Clare & myself with the biggest smiles on our faces at The Gin Festival!
Empty pink grapefruit after breakfast in bed.
Homemade tomato & mushroom macaroni cheese with balsamic rocket salad.
Bright yellow daffodils in the park.

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Sunday, 5 April 2015

MeetMyEasterTreats : Take2

Carrot cake is one of my favourite types of cake (& there is tough competition trust me!) so I don't know why it has taken me so long to try my hand at baking one. I actually made this one back in Winter (which officially wasn't even that long ago) but haven't really had a perfect time to share it. But with the Easter Bunny around this weekend I thought anything carrot flavoured fits in nicely with the theme, so give a warm welcome to my homemade carrot cake. Happy Easter!

I used this fabulous recipe originally from the Hummingbird Bakery, which I highly recommend as as even though it is a towering triple-layer cake (actually the biggest I have ever made!) the sponge was so light! I did decide to deviate slightly from the recipe however and not to cover the outside of my cake with the buttercream as I think there is enough sandwiching it all together, but feel free to experiment!

Recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, which you can also view here courtesy of Ocado.

Saturday, 4 April 2015


These are just too cute to eat (almost)...

Feeling in the Easter mood, yesterday I went on a baking spree & created the cutest Easter Bunny sandwich shortbreads. I was inspired by La receta de la felicidad's recipealthough mine turned out a little more rustic, but just as tasty (I imagine)... A few of the bunnies however didn't make it through the sandwiching process, however their missing ears & tails were put to good use as I improvised & created a chocolate bark (recipe below). Similar to rocky road - with chocolate, shortbread & marshmallows - you layer up the deliciousness & have an extra treat alongside the bunnies, which I think is a strike of genius...

My Double Chocolate Easter Bunny "Bark"

2 bars of dark chocolate
Any left over shortbread from the bunnies
Bunny Tails (secretly mini marshmallows!)
1 bar of milk chocolate

Melt the dark chocolate
Spread melted chocolate over a sheet of greaseproof baking paper
Top with broken bits of bunny (or if your bunnies remained in one piece, top with whatever you fancy!)
Top with bunny tails
Melt the milk chocolate
Drizzle over the top of the delicious bark
Leave to cool (if you can resist!) & dig in! 

Easter Bunny shortbread sandwich cookies - Inspired by La receta de la felicidad's recipe
3 Bunnies walking down the street
Pin Up Easter Bunny
My Double Chocolate Easter Bunny "Bark" (recipe above!) 
Colourful bunny tails

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Friday, 3 April 2015

MeetMyYearSoFar : PhotoDiary

Okay, I know I have been a tad AWOL, however my life has taken a turn for the crazy. From landing a new job (working 2 jobs in transition) to showing my designs in Leeds Rag Fashion Show, the year so far has whizzed by at a scary, yet exciting speed.

So, in order to help get back on the blogging track, I wanted to compile some unseen photo footage of 2015 so far. Yes, yes I know it is April (already!) however this is to help me as much as it is for you to be nosey, as I have seemed to lose track of lovely memories I have experienced...

Re-united with my longest friend Suzie at the Horniman Museum, London, looking very happy with our walrus & elephant cookie

Amazing artwork at the newly renovated Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

My new design business cards

A rare "selfie" of me before my feature at Leeds Rag Fashion Show, wearing dress & earrings made by me

Peacock feather installation at The Whitworth

Snacktime consisting of apple slices with homemade nut butter & nutella

Homemade giant hobnob biscuit (the scale isn't shown here, but it was as big as a pizza!)

Springtime sunset from our balcony

The homemade giant hobnob biscuit covered in chocolate which I made for a friend's birthday (wish I could have kept it myself!

My go-to Hemsley+Hemsley cook book alongside butternut squash, kale & quinoa stew (recipe from Love & Lemons), then topped with cheddar & served with homemade beetroot hummus

Saturday, 28 March 2015


A month or so ago I was in London doing a design internship with the on-trend fashion company Oh My Love. Based in East London, everyday I passed through Westfield shopping centre on my journey across the city. One evening when I wasn't rushing through I actually stopped for a spot of shopping only to discover the fun-loving eclectic shop Tiger. It is a shop of many things, from stationery to homewear to accessories, & is such a fun place (& so affordable!) to have a look around if you get the chance. On that occasion I had to refrain from buying the whole store as I was travelling to & from Manchester, however when I discovered one of their shops in Brighton I just couldn't resist. Their website showcases their range of products, however every shop stocks different variations, so that gives you an excuse to pop in every shop of theirs you see!

Pastel Metallic Panelled Socks - perfect for springtime shoes
'A piece of cake' memo block - useful & unique

I also have my eyes on these cheeky finds...

Friday, 23 January 2015


Here it is, the first recipe I tried out from my new Hemsley + Hemsley cook book. As food is better enjoyed with friends, I invited mine round for a leisurely lunch, with this dish gracing the table as the main dish & my Salted Whiskey Caramel Gingerbread Cake following for a naughty desert. Even though Hemsley + Hemsley's recipes are all about nutritious wholesome food, life is all about the balance!

...Mushroom & Stilton Quinoa Risotto...

I thought I'd share with you this light & lovely lunch as I enjoyed it so much & it is surprisingly easy to make (for a risotto!) I hope they don't mind... (recipe courtesy of 'The Art of Eating Well' by Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley)

...Fresh & Healthy Ingredients...

150ml hot water
3 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms (which I skipped as I couldn't brace a cold trip to the shop! But I just added some more fresh mushrooms!)
1 tbsp ghee
2 medium onions, diced
3 celery sticks, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled & diced
400g mushrooms (I used button & chestnut, but feel free to experiment!)
250g white quinoa (activated overnight, see below)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or 200ml white wine)
700ml bone broth or vegetable stock (I used fresh chicken stock)
125g stilton (or other blue cheese)
a handful of fresh parsley (I used dried)
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
sea salt & black pepper


Firstly, "activate" the quinoa by soaking it in twice its volume of filtered water overnight, or for at least 8 hours. This step isn't completely necessary, however it is highly recommended by Jasmine & Melissa as it improves the digestibility of quinoa & boosts its vitamin content. Once finished soaking, rinse & drain the quinoa completely.

...Quick & Easy Method...

Heat ghee in a large pan over medium heat & gently fry the onion & celery for about 8 minutes, until softened.

Add the fresh mushrooms (not porcini), thyme & garlic & cook for another few minutes.

Stir in the drained quinoa & cook for another couple of minutes, until the quinoa is almost sticking.

Add the apple cider vinegar (or white wine) & stir to de-glaze all of the bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Pour in most of the broth (but not all of it) & turn up the heat to bring to a boil & then reduce to a medium simmer.

After about 8 minutes of simmering, roughly chop the porcini mushrooms (if using) & add them to the pan along with the soaking liquid.

Continue cooking for another 5 minutes on a medium simmer. Taste the quinoa to see if it's ready - it should be cooked & tender, but with a nutty texture. Cook for a few more minutes if it needs more time. Also, add more broth if the risotto is getting too dry. Bear in mind, it will continue soaking up liquid even after the heat is turned off.

Turn off the heat & add the stilton, lemon rind, lemon juice & parsley. Stir through. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve immediately with extra crumbled stilton on top, if you'd like! I also served mine with a simple spinach & sunflower seed side salad to add a bit of crunch!

I also tried the Quinoa Risotto Balls recipe to use up any leftovers, which I have ready to share with you very keep your eyes on this space!

This Hemsley + Hemsley Spring Quinoa Risotto recipe is also on my list to try in a few months time, so hopefully we'll be seeing some springtime sunshine soon...

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


'Fashion Grads North West' is a new magazine including fashionable events, news and work experience opportunities within the region. Being a recent Fashion Graduate myself, I think this magazine has identified a gap in the market & fills it very nicely. In this first issue (you can read the exclusive prototype here!), I really enjoyed & benefited from the 'Launch Strategy: How to Build a Buzz' seminar sum-up as it included key questions from the event, & valuable answers from a Fashion Industry panel, providing us Fashion Graduates (who have great design skills but who might have to brush up a bit on the business side of things!) clarity we may have when thinking about starting up a business.

I think the Fashion Industry advice sections, like the one I mentioned above & the 'Create Your Own Fashion Label: Advice From MUUSE Co-Founder Gitte Jonsdatter' article are Fashion Grads North West's shining points as they combine experience with passion & advice...a winning combination.

As blogging has become a major part of the fashion industry, creating new & exciting opportunities for all, I was lucky enough to be selected to take part in the first issue's 'Bloggers Panel Christmas Q&A', where North West based Bloggers were free to answer some important festive questions...

As a thank you for being involved in the first issue of Fashion Grads North West & for joining before January 25th 2015 (which you can still do here), I was sent a lovely little gift box including a Yankee Candle tart, festive nail art stickers, a peppermint candy cane, a beauty product (mine was a black & white confetti effect Barry M nail polish) & a festive mini soap! Every gift box is different though, so why don't you join up & see what you get...

Friday, 9 January 2015


A New Year calls for a New recipe...specifically CAKE! Yes, I know we have just survivied a few of the most unhealthiest weeks of the year, but I made this cake especially to celebrate the New Year, so it's allowed! And after it is finished I promise to turn my lifestyle healthy again, with help from my wonderful Secret Santa present that was 'The Art of Eating Well' by Hemsley + Hemsley. As my Secret Santa knows, I love Food & I love Art, so this book is a perfect combination of the both as each page provides the plate as a canvas & the food as the is truly beautiful & looks delicious! I am yet to try out these recipes though, as the cake is still going...but I will let you know when I do! 

Here's to a healthy (after the cake is finished!) & happy 2015!

I took inspiration from this amazing recipe from 'Top With Cinnamon', one of my favourite foodie blogs, altering some quantities as I already had some homemade salted caramel sauce, using a Nigella recipes as she is famed for her love of the stuff! I made my cake double layered instead of quadruple layered, but if you have more mouths to feed & want to create a delicious show-stopper, then definitely take the plunge! The bigger the better, hey! I also decided to add more decadence (not necessary, but I was feeling naughty!) by sprinkling chopped chocolate covered honeycomb over the salted caramel...

Let me know about your naughty New Year treats & also your healthy recipes!

I'm so excited to try out my new recipe book, have you used any of Hemsley + Hemsley's recipes yet?