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?

Sunday, 4 January 2015


Classic Neutrals. Two styles which go perfectly together. Camel, Navy & Gold. A classic combination which, when added to minimalist shapes, creates an effortless ladylike look, lovely for the New Year.

New beginnings are always best starting with a clean slate, filtering your wardrobe through to your daily style, dressing up key pieces with trend driven items. I am planning to have a wardrobe sort through this coming week, always keeping hold of my classics & memorable pieces, making way for my many gifts I have received & some New Year finds!

Through the past year, from my Graduation to Christmas, I have been lucky enough recently to receive some beautiful timeless gifts which fit perfectly into this concept. When combined with some of my latest finds, I am all set for a classy 2015! Meet My New Year...

Gold Heart Pendent & Necklace - *Gifts*
Long Wool Camel Coat - M&S *found in a charity shop*
Wool Camel Cardigan - Vintage find in Manchester
Vintage Jaeger Silk Polkadot top - The Wardrobe Clothing Agency (Featured in a previous post here)
Indigo Slim Leg Jeans - New Look
Navy, Cream & Tan Handbag - Osprey *Graduation Gift*