Sunday, 30 December 2018

5 LIFE LESSONS OF 2018


1. No one cares if you miss the party.

2018 is the year I learnt that staying in on a Friday or Saturday night does not make you a social failure and that most nights out follow a predictably dull pattern of bad music, vast amounts of money wasted on drinks and of meeting people who you would never talk to under normal circumstances and who you probably never will again after declaring your undying friendship to them in the smoking area on the night. I mean I am by no means a grandma or am saying that I will never go out again, but I realised that pre-drinks- chatting with my friends over good drinks and food, was actually my favourite part of the night, not the dance floor creeps, junk food consumed on the way home or the day wasted in bed hungover the next day.

There will be nights out in 2018 where I need to let me hair down on the dance floor that is for sure but I won’t make it a factor in my life that I force just because FOMO sets in as I scroll down my Instagram feed on a weekend night when i have chosen to stay in rather than party.

In the end of the day no one but you cares if you are at the club or not so if you fancy cooking a nice meal for your friends instead, putting a hair mask on or hoovering your flat (a guilty pleasure of mine), then do it because the best kinda of party state of mind needs to come from within.

2.Put that phone away, no really. 

I work in social media, I have a blog and, yes, I like to document particularly nice things I have worn, cooked or seen for my Instagram but this year I learnt that it is important to still take in the world with your own eyes and ears. This became particularly evident on my trip to Bali where people seemed more pre-occupied with finding and photographing the places they had seen on someone else’s Instagram than actually taking in the beauty and history around them. 

Another case in point, I forgot to back up my phone before it broke a few months ago and with that lost all pictures taken since January but as my mum rightly stated “why does it matter the memories will stay with you in your mind forever” and she’s right.

I say In 2019 make it your aim to watch a gig with your own eyes and don’t bother recording it for your friends who are anyways not going to be overly interested in a shaky clip with terrible sound quality, put your phone away when you have dinner with your friends because really there is nothing that important happening on Instagram or Whatsapp or Facebook when good food and conversation is to be had and try to escape the anxiety social media can cause us all by living a little more away from the screen. There is a whole world out there that doesn’t require a like button.



3.Think twice about your fashion purchases.

I buy a lot of clothes because for me dressing up and creating outfits has always been part of who I am, but over the years I did find myself buying pieces every week whether I really needed them or not and whether I really loved them for more than one wear or not. For some psychological reason, I thought I needed something shiny and new to shoot every time, even though of course apart from me no one would really be able to tell what I had worn years before or what was box fresh. 

Then December this year came around and I realised I would have to finance most of the festive season for my mother and I this year, which gave me a little bit of financial anxiety, but also provided the kick up the bum I needed that finally got me thinking- I have cupboard after cupboard full of beautiful clothes that I haven’t worn in years, why am I going to shops weekly when I can have a rummage through my vast wardrobe and see what I can re-style with new accessories (and considerably better hair and make up since me last wearing them)?! I found some fantastic pieces that I had completely forgotten about which by now were back in fashion or worked with other pieces to create a completely new look.

After pulling a good few looks out of the archives I promised myself to not buy any new clothes for the remainder of the month and not only saved money but realised it was real fun to re-interpret these pieces to fit my current style. It also made me realise that I was buying way too many things that I simply didn’t need, just because I was after something new. Of course I will buy clothes in 2019, heck I already caved in slightly with the Zara sale but I will try and reduce the volume of my consumption and make more use of what I already have. I urge you to do the same, you may find some real treasures in your wardrobe that you had completely forgotten about.



4.Accept people’s flaws because boy do they have to deal with yours.

This has been the year my mother and I despite all the bad things that have happened to us (dead dad, family feuds, money issues etc. etc etc.) finally got on and realised that despite everything being a slightly neurotic family unit with a lot of flaws is better than not talking. She is far from perfect but so am I and the support she’s given me over the years outweighs the nagging she does. 


The same goes for friends, again no one is perfect, some friends will not reply to your Whatsapp in days, some will be flaky at times, but with true friends they will be there for you when it matters, when you need a shoulder to cry on, someone to get ridiculously drunk with, someone that has seen you in some right states- and exactly those friends deserve a break sometimes because they deal with all the flaws you only show the people you truly trust.



5.It’s OK to be single even if apps, TV shows and your mother tell you it’s not!

I am over dating apps after one too many bad dates, I work in fashion which isn’t exactly inundated with straight men and I spent Valentine’s day this year alone and will probably (unless something drastically changes) again in 2018. And you know what… I am fine with that for now. I have a busy job, a great set of friends, a stable relationship with my mum again. I have my blog, my job and have not been better mentally in a long time plus I am never not busy. 

Right now for a guy to fit into all of this he has to be worth it. As silly as it sounds I do believe in a thing called fate, my mum and dad met at a NYE party, and somehow I became the end result of this meet cute, so I think if it is meant it will happen and until then don’t you worry, I won’t be crying in a corner over being single in fact I'm pretty fucking ok with it.

Friday, 28 December 2018

NEON TOUCH




Earrings / Stradivarius
Jacket / ASOS
Body / Halpern for Topshop
Jeans / Vero Moda
Shoes / Office

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

NEVER TOO MUCH PINK



Coat / & Other Stories
Jumper / & Other Stories
Jeans / Arket 
Boots / Office

Friday, 21 December 2018

DECEMBER SHINE


 Sunglasses / Urban Outfitters
Jumper / & Other Stories
Jeans / The Cords
Shoes / Mango

Thursday, 20 December 2018

MY TOP TEN DISHES OF 2018

Another year of eating out and travelling comes to an end and I got try some amazing dishes, both sweet and savoury, not only in London but around the UK and indeed the globe. I can't wait to see what 2019 will hold when it comes to all things culinary! What was your favourite dish of the past 12 months?

CHEESE TOASTIE WITH CREAMED SCRAMBLED EGGS AND HOMEMADE BAKED BEANS @ EARLY BIRD, HELSINKI / FINLAND 
This was an utter game changer when it comes to brunch and I wish I didn't have to travel all the way back to Helsinki to order it again. Simple sounding on paper (though when is a cheese toastie ever a bad idea), this was executed beautifully and I still dream of those creamed scrambled eggs that were like nothing I ever tasted before.


2018 was the year I got obsessed with laksa, a type of spicy noodle soup, hailing from South East Asia, that is warming, comforting and full of amazing flavours. The best version I have found so far a little closer to home has to no doubt be Sambal Shiok's offering on Holloway Road. This newly opened spot's menu is all about the laksa and rightly so because they make a bloody fantastic bowl of it for a great price. Sadly no longer a secret gem but one definitely worth queuing for.


BLUEBERRY AND WATERMELON SMOOTHIE BOWL @ CRATE CAFE, CANGGU / BALI
I had lots of amazing meals in Bali (mainly due to my fantastic host Josie who new ALL the foodie must-try destinations) but my first ever smoothie bowl at local brunch favourite Crate Cafe has to be the stand out dish of the trip. It's one of the dishes Bali has become known for in the last few years and I was more than curious try this bowl of goodness, filled first with a thick smoothie layer and then topped with lots delicious mix-ins such as fruit, nuts, coconut you name it, which is why I went for their rather incredible blueberry special which came with a thick blueberry smoothie base, frozen watermelon balls, coconut flakes and delicious granola. I was dubious beforehand whether I was going to enjoy it but I have to say I adored the fresh fruity flavours and range of textures. I probably wouldn’t go through the effort of making one at home but while in Bali make sure you try one, especially at Crate where they are so pretty and damn tasty!


CARROT DONE THREE WAYS @ PIDGIN, LONDON / ENGLAND


My budget doesn't tend to stretch to haute cuisine on a regular basis but Pidgin is a gem of restaurant in the heart of East London that serves fine dining dishes at a very reasonable set menu price, in an unpretentious and welcoming restaurant space. The menu changes weekly and you can see the high level of craft that goes into every course served. On the occasion of our dinner here in the summer, my dining companion and I were simply stunned by this vegetable course and the intense flavours of the humble carrot it managed to deliver. Simple ingredients were elevated into something truly special and unforgettable, with a plate of carrot, lime peanut, lemongrass and ricotta delivering on every front. If you want a special meal in London that is worth a few pennies more my vote is for Pidgin, you'll sample dishes you won't forget in a hurry.


CORN FRITTERS WITH BEETROOT KETCHUP AND POACHED EGGS @ THE DISPENSARY, WINCHESTER / ENGLAND.
If I am honest the brunch game has not been at it's best in London for a while, after a wave of Antipodean inspired cafes opening a few years back  I haven't had a standout brunch in quite some time, with most cafes veering into the VERY overpriced and bland when it comes to my favourite mealtime. I wasn't therfore expecting to have one of my best brunch experiences in a long time in a quaint English city like Winchester, which I visited for a pre-hen do weekend in the countryside, and was thus pleasantly surprised when the bride to be took us to this fantastic little spot in the centre of town. 

The entire menu sounded fabulous (soft boiled duck eggs and parmesan soldiers with truffle and duck fat anyone?!) and way more imaginative than what I have seen in London of late and the corn fritters I went for in the end, served here with an incredibly tasty beetroot chilli jam, feta, perfectly poached eggs and rocket was not only a feast for the eyes, presented beautiful on equally eye catching plates (I am a sucker for good tableware), but was cooked to perfection and shock horror only cost me £9! London you better get your brunch game back on point because wow was I surprised what gems you can discover just a train ride away with added countryside as bonus!


PRINCESS CAKE @ BAGERIET, LONDON / UK
I've written about Bageriet's fantastic cinnamon buns before and if you are after a sweet Scandi treat, their tiny bakery, tucked away on a side street in the heart of Covent Garden, is the one for you. Their stand out baked good for me however has to be their take on the Prinsesst?rta, a brightly coloured cake fit for a princess (a Swedish princess of course, to be precise Prince Carl's daughters during the late 19th century who were particularly font of this cake in their time) which consists of layers of light sponge, raspberry compote, vanilla custard, fresh cream and is encased in vibrant green marzipan. It is truly scrumptious, not too sweet, and almost like eating a cloud and boy once you have had your first slice here you will be planning a return visit asap. If you haven't had your very own piece of princess cake yet I suggest you make it a priority in 2019.


HAKE WITH ASPARAGUS, JERSEY ROYAL POTATOES AND A TRUFFLE (YES MORE) MUSHROOM CRUST @ BLANCHETTE EAST, LONDON / ENGLAND
This dish, served at Blanchette East, a lovely little French bistro with a small plates sharing concept on Brick Lane, was spring in a nutshell for me and full of fresh, zingy flavours that let the top quality ingredients do the talking. It was hard not to inhale this baked fillet of hake with asparagus, jersey royal potatoes and a truffle mushroom crust and I already cannot wait when it becomes seasonally available again. Sometimes dishes don't need a lot to them to make them truly memorable.


BROKEN EGGS WITH FRIED POTATOES, GARLIC & PRAWNS @ CASA MACARENO, MADRID / SPAIN
Without a doubt part of the reason why this meal was so special was because of the company I enjoyed it with. I had been ditched by my planned travel companion for a weekend in Madrid a few hours before our flight but through my amazing network of friends quickly ended up agreeing to an impromptu late Friday lunch with a local friend of a friend who was up for showing me one of her favourite neighbourhood authentic tapas joints, Casa Macarano, and it definitely did not disappoint! 

We got on like a house on fire, ordered plenty of fantastic wine and I left her in charge of the ordering, she of course in the know of what was good. Everything we ate was great but somehow this dish, essentially fried eggs, juicy prawns, fries and garlic was the stand out, true comfort food with its salty, juicy and crispy flavours, all beautifully coming together. I've been dreaming of this dish on many hungover occasion since and I, for sure, will return to Madrid one day to not only order this little star of a plate again but also to see the friend I luckily made that day for life.


VEGETABLE TAGINE @ AL FASSIA, MARRAKESH / MORROCO

I had plenty of tagines on my long weekend trip to Marrakesh but this one stood out by a country mile. Served at Al Fassia, a restaurant solely run and staffed by women which is not a given in a mostly Muslim country, it was part of their vegetarian set menu which also had a fantastic selection of starter dips and olives and perfectly encapsulated all the rich, slightly sweet yet earthy flavours that make Moroccan cuisine so unique.

Served in an authentic tagging clay pot and with a side of bulgur wheat, it was a truly fantastic way to serve vegetables in a satisfying and filling way and I have since often tried to make something similar at home. If you go for one meal in Marrakesh go to this spot, booking ahead is almost always a necessity for a reason.


HALLOUMI FRIES @ YES YES YES, HELSINKI / FINLAND
I mean who in their right mind would say no to halloumi fries with pomegranates, yogurt dressing and coriander?! And they not only sounded amazing, looked insta food porn worthy but also tasted the part - crispy and salty with a hint of sweetness from the pomegranate.  This was ultimate lux junk food worth every single calorie.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

FESTIVE STRIPES



Beret  / Topshop
Dress / ASOS
Bag / Gucci 
Boots / Mango

Thursday, 13 December 2018

EYE OF THE TIGER

Skirt & Top / Ganni
Boots / Mango
Photography by Andreas Ande
Creative Direction by Rolf Buck

Monday, 10 December 2018

Sunday, 9 December 2018

SPICY TUNA PASTA BAKE


This spicy tuna pasta bake is super easy and quick to make but tastes fantastic and looks impressive! All ingredients are readily available so this is something you can rustle up, without breaking a sweat, even after work to feed a crowd. The sun-dried tomatoes and olives add a grown up twist and make this bake stand out from your bog standard tuna pasta bake! I hope you enjoy!

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

400g dried fusilli pasta - as someone that doesn't do too well when eating gluten I went for which tasted fantastic and none of my friends would have guessed it wasn't normal pasta.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

900g tomato passata

1 tablespoon dried Italian mixed herbs

2 teaspoons white sugar

11/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes

300g jar of pitted black olives
(I love these)

150g sundried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped

425g can tuna in olive oil, drained, flaked

70g grated mozzarella cheese

70g grated cheddar cheese

Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve


METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 200 C/180 C fan-forced.
  • Cook pasta following packet directions, until almost tender (I under-cooked it by 3 minutes from packet instructions as it will be baked later). Drain well. Return to pan.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over high heat. Cook garlic and onion, stirring, for 3 minutes or until light golden. Add passata, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, sugar and salt. Season with pepper. Add chilli, to taste. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over pasta in pan. Add olives and tuna. Toss to combine. Transfer mixture to a 12-cup-capacity baking dish. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Best served with, of course, an Aperol Spritz! I added some cranberries to mine on this occasion for a festive twist!

Friday, 7 December 2018

IRRIDESCENT DREAMS

Jacket / Fyodor Golan
Trousers / The Cords
Shoes / Mango
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