Monday, February 28, 2011

Wendy Bevan's Latest and Greatest

I love multi-talented photographer Wendy Bevan's work. My only problem with it is that it is too rare for my liking - her fashion photography at least seems pretty sporadic. As such, I get pretty excited when I see new shoots by her. Cue thrills when I saw her latest for Marie Claire Italia on Fashion Gone Rogue - check it out and see more photos on FB.

Love - the lighting, the antique feel, the illustrations, the Frida K inspiration. Also, despite my love of colour blocking and general COLOUR/POP/BRIGHTS, it is nice to see Prada SS11 styled in a slightly different way. Just wanted to share, that is all...




Chuck x

Mixtape 3 - Birthday Party

Had a hundred small things to do this weekend but since the boyf has abandoned me (for the next three weeks) I am going to use the extra time to be the most efficient blogger/academic worker bee the world has ever seen. Not that anyone cares but he has flown to Chile to run across the Atacama desert - 150+km in 6 days. Obviously I think he is bonkers but I am nonetheless very proud! Good luck R - please don't kill yourself!

Below is my latest mixtape for The Mixtape Project. It was my partner's birthday today so I thought I would plot a birthday. Quite pleased with it although (apparently as ever) it is quite an odd mixture of tunes...




I hope that you all had a great weekend.

Chuck x

Friday, February 25, 2011

Erdem + Monet = Perfection

When I first saw Erdem's FW11 collection I was predominantly blown away, as I imagine most people were, by the mood swing from last season - from white lace to this much darker look. And then, as I kept coming back to it, I was sucked into the prints. I mean, I know that Mr. Moralioglu is all about the prints but these are amazing. I love the Impressionists and I love Monet and I want to wear this collection - everything in it, all the time! Realistically this colour palette is much closer to what I actually wear and did I mention that I love Monet? Anyway, what better way to illustrate my love than with a photo montage!?


(All Erdem from Style.com, Monet - Water Lilies, Poppies, The House Among the Roses)

Happy Weekend, y'all.

Chuck x

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Food Reviewed: Pie Minister, BRISTOL

This is just going to be a super quick post - very sleepy bunny... zzz... Awake! Anyway, I wanted to declare my love for all things Pieminister. As you might have guessed, they make pies (and mash and gravy). You might have seen them out and about at festivals and they're stocked by quite a few good supermarkets (I know you can, if you're lucky, find them in Waitrose at least) and restaurants but I really love their own cafes. Hailing from Bristol they have two cafes here and, sure, the St. Nick's Market one is cute but it is more of a permanent stall and my heart really belongs to their Stokes Croft shop. I told you Stokes Croft was good at the moment...


I love so much about them - their rough and ready aesthetic, their animal welfare, their enthusiasm, their great prices, their delicious and unexpected pies... I have now tried at least half of their range and they are all amazing. I obviously love their classic beef pies (the PM or the Moo) but my all time favourite might, controversially, be the vegetarian Heidi pie with sweet potato, goats cheese, spinach, red onion and roasted garlic... So good! You wouldn't necessarily expect it to go with mash and gravy but it does. As does the Thai Chook (thai green chicken curry) pie that I had when I last went with R - below. It seems kind of wrong but it is so right.


I really love their enamel tin plates - should look into buying some, I think they're fab... I am aware that I am being startlingly incoherent so I'm going to shut up. That is pretty much all I had to say, I love Pieminister, they're great, you should try and go to one of their cafes but lacking that try and grab one from a supermarket and make your own mash and gravy. Looking at their website I see that they have cafes in Oxford, Stoke on Trent and Gabriel's Wharf in London. Or, if you are really keen, it looks like you can buy pie online! That almost rhymes. I'm getting delirious...

Heart Pieminister!

Chuck x

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Blood of One Ox...

I know that the Pantone colour of the year is supposed to be hibiscus but I am enjoying all the oxblood that is going down at LFW. I don't really wear any kind of red (aside from lots of red lipstick and my red gingham pin up shorts come summer) but I am looking forward to experimenting with this shade...



Inspired by the oxblood lovin' over at StyleBubble and Discotheque Confusion.

Chuck x

Mighty Mighty Meatballs

'Sup folks? I thought that amidst all the Fashion Week(s) craziness I would throw in some delicious food. Admittedly this is not something to be making if you are currently having hectic fashion times - quite time consuming - but maybe something to aid your recovery after. This meatball recipe is one of my favourite recipes full stop. It is hearty and delicious, full of flavour and tomato-y goodness, utterly irresistable. What more could you possibly desire? There is a lot of preparation and general cooking time (and it makes quite a lot of mess...) but if you can find said time then you shall be rewarded! I managed to find some time a couple of weeks ago and it was totally worth it. The recipe is an old Hugh F-W one via the Guardian mag and it is a winner...


Ingredients:
Sauce -
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, Pepper, a pinch of sugar
Meatballs -
  • 1 large slice of bread, crusts removed
  • 100 ml milk
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1/2 onion, grated - so you don't get big chunks of raw onion in your meatballs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • (2 tbsp finely chopped parsley - I never have this so it never goes in. Oops)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grated cheddar
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sunflower/Groundnut oil for frying
Recipe:
  1. For the sauce... Pan 1, soften your onions in olive oil over a medium-low heat (approx 15 mins). Add the garlic and cook gently for a couple of mins. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, pepper and sugar.
  2. Simmer uncovered on a low heat while you make the meatballs.
  3. For the meatballs... Pan 2, put the bread in a small pan and cover with the milk. Cook over a low heat until the bread has sucked up the milk. Mash with a fork and allow to cool.
  4. In a large bowl mix the mince, onion, garlic, parsley, egg, olive oil, cheese, nutmeg, bread pulp and seasoning. Unfortunately this mixing is best accomplished with your hands - hello meathands! Roll your mixture into balls (I like mine small, say large walnut sized) and set out ready to fry.
  5. Pan 3 (a high sided frying pan or casserole), heat about 0.5 cm of oil until nice and hot. Get your meatballs into the oil without burning yourself - or at least try. Beware splattering. Cook until brown on all sides and remove from oil.
  6. Add the meatballs and some of the delicious oil/fat to the tomato sauce and simmer for a further 20 mins.
  7. Make yourself some spaghetti to adorn your meatballs with and be generous with the sauce and grated cheddar on top. Enjoy the fruits of your hard labour!
I find that this recipe easily does six servings and it is very popular with all the flatmates. Always a treat. Quite fancy some now actually...

Chuck x

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm Like a Bird

I'm finding myself strangely drawn to the ornithological at the moment. Desires to fly away perhaps?



Chuck x

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Sunday Book: Little Dorrit - Charles Dickens

I had obviously meant to post this yesterday but I was busy being the worst invalid ever so you shall have it today. Actually, I should have posted this a week yesterday but I didn't get it finished in time. I was properly pushing my (academic) deadline for this one. I would not recommend trying to analytically read any Dickens in 5 days - it is not enough time! I don't have any other Dickens in my book shelf to compare it to but Little Dorrit is 780 pages, which is a substantial read.

First up, I went into Little D disliking Dickens. This was a longheld dislike fostered by childhood readings of A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, a very scary school production of the latter and general cultural anti-Dickens sentiments - Dickens as boring, long-winded, moralistic etc. It seems to be a fairly widespread dislike too, whenever I mentioned the looming Dorrit I was greeted with sympathy. So, after all of this, I was pleasantly surprised. I liked Little Dorrit, peeps!


True, my budget edition was cripplingly ugly and it isn't featherlight to lug around but it is a good yarn, by which I mean, it is chock-a-block full of story. Loads of stuff happens - unlikely, sometimes fantastical stuff but stuff and lots of it. I approve of this in a book, I'm all for psychological introspection in its place but plot rocks! The main characters, Arthur Clennam and Little Dorrit (her name is Amy but she'd rather you called her Little - sickening I know), are very good and righteous and a bit tedious for it but not as boring as 'good' characters can be. Little D actually raises some interesting questions about domestic abuse and complicity. The joy though is in the ridiculous minor characters - Dickens works a really wide variety of individuals into his 780 pages.

And, guess what? Dickens is funny AND topical. Who knew!? The two key objects of his satire and criticism are bureaucracy and financial speculation. Red tape abounds in the Circumlocution Office which sounds worryingly familiar. Civil servants should shake in their booties at Dickens' scathing comedy and bankers also get a good going over. I was so (pleasantly) surprised when I laughed out loud a couple of times a) because that rarely happens and b) because it is Dickens - since when was he funny? I feel I have been mislead. Interestingly, quite a few people in my tutorial group were surprised by the general funny goin' down in Little D, so it wasn't just me.

This is the first Dickens I have read as an adult so I can't vouch for the rest of his oeuvre but if you are interested in overcoming an anti-Dickens bias or a fear of Dickens this seems to me as good a place as any to start. I'm definitely going to be trying another Dickens when I have a good chunk of time (prob not until this summer - boo) - any recommendations from the 11 Dickens lovers out there? Has anyone read Little Dorrit? I would love to know.

Chuck x

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Swings and Roundabouts

I had an unusually crap day today so I am not feeling very chatty. A nice thing happened though - my Moxham Albatross necklace arrived in the post. I won it in Madeleine's Valentine's Day giveaway and I am very excited about it, even if I haven't quite decided how I am going to wear it... It is going to add some structure to my slouch fo' sho'. 


You can buy Moxham jewellery from ASOS Marketplace here.

Here's to the nice things.

Chuck x

Friday, February 18, 2011

70s Fashion Icons - Veronica Corningstone

So I was planning to blog something else but then I re-watched Anchorman for the bzillionth time in total but for the first time in a while and I was struck by Veronica Corningstone's opening scene. She is so 'on trend'! 70s-tastic and in head to toe (or H2T, thanks Tyra) white a la Constance & Vogue Espana. If I wasn't a) too scruffy and b) such a danger with the ketchup this is how I would like to be doing '70s' this summer. For the most part I think it is going to be a trend that passes me by but this is amazing.


They are the perfect trousers and she really does have 'the most perfect heinie'. Oh yeah, and she is a kick ass career woman (for the most part) and smarter than all the men in the newsroom put together. I love you Veronica!

Chuck x

P.S. Just remembered, have finally got round to getting myself on Bloglovin'. Haven't quite figured out how it all works yet but I'll get there. Follow my blog with bloglovin

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

Cars. They are magical things, they let you go place you could only dream of. My lack of car/housemate with car means I am fairly city bound. Obviously there are trains and buses but they require so much organisation that I feel quite exhausted just thinking about it. Because of this, despite two and a half years of living in Bristol, I have never made it to Shepton Mallet - a mere 20 minute drive away. Why Shepton M, you might ask? Well, because the Mulberry factory outlet is there obviously...

So, with the parentals + car at my disposal I commissioned a trip fairly swiftly. The bags are obviously the main attraction but even at discount prices they are crazy expensive. I wasn't even considering a bag (I'm no fool/I'm perfectly aware of my bank balance) but I did see a really lovely wallet and I could kind of do with replacing my v grubby wallet... £175! For a wallet. Can't be doing with that at my stage in life. What really caught my attention and I had the most fun playing with though were the clothes. They had a nice selection of clothing from different collections and there were two super bright skirts in particular that I could have easily bought home.


 One was the above from their SS09 collection, which IRL is a dark and very bright fuschia. It is an interesting quilted/padded/moulded/patterned acrylic creation and it is amazingly soft. The other was bright bluebell blue but I can't find it anywhere online. They would have made fab layers for some award winning colour blocking but I couldn't justify £150 each on plastic skirts. They were lovely though and I would have worked to de-cutesy them.


(Edie Shirt and Swing Back Trench, Current Collection available at Mulberry Online)

I don't have a massive aesthetic overlap with Mulberry's girlish prettiness but there are often the odd bits that I would happily incorporate into my own non-Mulberry wardrobe. The Edie shirt and swing trench are great examples of things that I would love to dress down to my own slouchy level.

All this set me looking back over their runway shots and they are kind of irresistable, even if they are not necessarily your style. I got completely sucked in by the red-heads they sent out for SS11. I am going to take a print off of one of these wigs to the hairdresser when I eventually get round to cutting my mop. This is the hair I want! They also showed a softer, more pastel side of colour blocking that I found quite alluring and perhaps more achievable with my existing wardrobe...


Their first Pre-Fall collection wasn't particularly interesting but these two looks stood out for me, mostly because of the great coats and the pop of mustard. I can't resist!


(All runway photos from Style.com)

I've now got myself mildly psyched about their upcoming Fall show. I wander what variant on sweet baby girl-lady Emma Hill is going to pull out for us?

Chuck x

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Food Reviewed: Zazu's Kitchen, BRISTOL

I haven't done one of these in ages. Have been reasonably good at being abstemious this term but R and I couldn't resist being frivolous and going out for a V-Day dinner. [Promise this is the end the internet will be hearing about Valentine's Day for another year, I'm so slow on/off the bandwagon.] Food is, after all, one of our fundamental bonds so what could be more romantic than going to a wonderful restaurant and eating so much that you need to be rolled home? Seriously, rolled, I tells ye. I went out looking vair beautiful (obv) in a waisted skirt with a vintage waist belt. ERROR. Wore my belt home as a necklace and had to half unzip the skirt - thank god for long coats! It was a totally dignified look, R totally didn't laugh at me a lot...

The sight of our romantic indulgence/greed was Zazu's Kitchen in Stokes Croft. A slight aside - Stokes Croft is amazing at the mo, we had drinks at The Canteen while we were waiting for our reservation and it really is one of my favourite bar-things in Bristol. Anyway, Zazu's Kitchen had been on our radar for a while after multiple recommendations and this seemed the perfect opportunity to try it out. Oh boy, it lived up to our expectations and THEN SOME. It was sooooooo good. It is love.


(Picture c/o ZK's FB. Also check out the gorgeous photos over at That Kate)

The restaurant/cafe (their primary business is breakfast and lunch, they normally only do evenings on Thursday and Friday) is beautiful. It is tiny - approx 18/20 covers for V-Day - and they have done amazing things with very little space. They have an open kitchen but, since a) the staff seem sweet and b) they're not serving huge numbers, it doesn't come off as invasive or aggressive as I think it can in bigger restaurants. There is art everywhere and lovely glass jars of food and books! I love books, as we all know, and they'll win me over to pretty much anything. The lights were just the right amount of dim and the waiter/maitre'd was charming.

Most importantly, the food was amazing. Amazing. Here is what we had:
Starters:
R - Trio of Beef: Beef Tartare, Salt Beef and stewed Ox Cheek. I wasn't brave enough to try the steak tartare but apparently it was excellent and the ox cheek was perfect - meltingly soft and succulent with a really dark, rich flavour.
Moi - Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Butter and a Parmesan crisp thing. This was killer! A bit of a risk too since I don't generally like gnocchi, I normally find it too doughy and stodgy. This wasn't either of those things though and the squash was so lovely and sweet and sage is such a great herb... and I am totally drooling thinking about it.
Mains:
R - Rabbit Ballotine with Puy Lentils and Red Cabbage. Neither of us were really sure what a ballotine was but it turns out that they're delicious. This was the most beautifully flavoured and least grobbily (sometimes a risk, I find) rabbit I've tasted in ages.
Moi - Steak with Roasted Garlic Mash and some kind of red kale. There is not enough steak in my life! So good and so good for the old anaemia. This was a wonderful cooked, wonderful piece of cow. Everything you could want from a steak and the mash was fab. Mmm... garlic breath = romance.
Pudding:
R - Dark Chocolate Delice with Vanilla Ice Cream and Salted Caramel sauce. Don't really know what a delice is, my amateur description - a solid mousse on a cheesecakeish base. This was nice but I was gone by this point so I barely managed to sample it!
Moi - I was out the race...

Their V-Day special was any three courses and a glass of prosecco for £25 which, I think, is pretty good value. Obviously it isn't cheap but for dinner this is a special occasion kind of a place. Also, apparently they do a brule-ed porridge for breakfast! I find this mega exciting. Will be going to investigate.

So, in conclusion, I love you Zazu's Kitchen. You are great. Fact.

Chuck x


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Orange Medley


Inspired by Where is Harriet? and my apparently new love of orange I thought I would create a wee homage to the colour. Clearly orange lust has been brewing for a while because these are all quite old images (bar the shoes) - I decided to work with what I already had rather than going out and looking for new orange. As you might have noticed I have cheated on my old favourite, Paint, and I haven't yet accustomed myself to my new bedfellow. Apologies for it being rather amateur-ish. Hopefully I will get the hang of it!

Credits, in a mostly clockwise kind of way:
Alexander McQueen, Pre-Fall 11
Alice Watt, Elle, What We WearsCostello Tagliapietra - Can't remember what collection this is.
Kurt Geiger Grid wedges
Bisous Ciao orange blossom macaron
Miss Selfridge sandals
Shakahuchi, Pre-Fall 11
Lime Crime, My Beautiful Rocket lipstick
Christopher Kane, Resort 11
Mark Fast, FW09

Mmm... Orange. Good times.

Chuck x

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some Weekend Niceness

Man, I have had a busy weekend! That makes me sound quite cool. Obviously I am not. I actually spent about 20 hours reading Little Dorrit (belated Sunday Book tomorrow maybe) which definitely makes me busy and definitely makes me uncool. Warning - don't ever try and read an entire Dickens in 5 days, it is too much (for me anyway). My weekend did have many small moments of niceness though and I thought I would chronicle them in a photographic stylee...


A lovely parcel from Angela Langford. Tissue paper and hand written notes just make everything nicer. After trying her Balanced & Beautiful face oil in her free sample kit I couldn't resist indulging in her special V-Day offer (buy the oil and get the Perfect Pores serum free) which is still on. I have very dry and irritatingly adolescent skin and most moisturisers disagree with it but good oils seem to work. And these smell mega delish!


Yeah, daffodils! One of my favourite flowers. So cheering. 99p for a mini bunch in Sainsbury's - a perfect spring bargain. I am going to start colour blocking my room now.


Took some time out from Little D to go to the Blind Lemon Vintage Fair at our Student Union on Sunday morning. Loads of sellers come from all over and there is a really nice variety of vintage. There were some truly gorgeous pieces that were out of my price range (although not totally crazy) but lots of affordable bits too. Generally nice rummaging going down.


Purchase the First: my news 'Sights of London' charm bracelet. Love this! Nelson's Column has come a bit loose but it should be pretty easy to fix. There was a bit of a tourist theme to my two buys...


Purchase the Second: hey there, Taj Mahal! Beaded Taj Mahal! On a fully beaded black velvet evening bag. I liked the front of this bag and then I turned it around and I was sold. Fond memories... I'm going to be wearing this out tonight for my wee V-Day meal with the boyf.


Bezzy B made us delicious Rose Cupcakes yesterday. They were from the Primrose Bakery Cookbook and covered in 'princess sparkles'. Romance-tastic!

Anyway, sorry that was a bit rushed. Need to go and put some face on before heading out for dinner. Happy V-Day y'all - and I say that from a nice-opportunity-to-talk-to-and-spend-time-with-people-you-love-inc-friends-and-family kind of a standpoint.

Chuck x

Friday, February 11, 2011

Question Time


My question for you tonight...

I fondly remember the collection (FW09! Seriously, time flies) but is this Style for Style t-shirt just too porny? Obviously it is nothing explicit but I feel there is an essence of porn clinging about it. Or do I just have a filthy mind? It is hard to say.

Anyway, this had been floating around in my saved links for a while so I thought I would harvest some opinions.

Happy Friday.

Chuck x

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Carrot Cake CupCakes

Deliciously alliterative and just plain delicious, Carrot Cake CupCakes as promised. Now, on the whole I am not a cupcake kind of gal. Why have something miniature when you can have it FULL SIZE?? I also think that they are often used as a blind for crap baking - cover bland plain sponge with 3 inches of horrid butter icing and maybe no one will notice its rubbishness because it is all pretty and shiny. However, I can appreciate that, on occasion, they pack an effective aesthetic punch, particularly when the cake is exciting and the icing is cream cheese icing (the only kind of icing I find palatable, nay, delicious). I went for dinner at a friend's earlier in the week and decided that CCCCs were a yummy and attractive way to show my appreciation. It was an idea I had been rolling around my head for a while and it worked out really well.

I used a slightly adapted Jamie Oliver recipe (here) and, apart from them needing a slightly ridiculous amount of time in the oven [this is a recurring theme - also possible that my student oven is just le crap], they were great! Dense and rich with a really full, rounded flavour. I picked the recipe partially on the basis that he uses a good blend of spices, not just cinnamon. Anyway, I thought they were excellent. This was the only photo I got!


Ingredients: (Makes 15 cupcakes)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 150g butter
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • zest and juice of 2 oranges - I love orange in cakes so I upped Jamie's suggestion.
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of mixed spice
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 250g carrot, grated
Icing:
  • 300g cream cheese - sure, do make 100g of this mascarpone if you feel so inclined, it would be great but I think this is fine and still delicious. N.B. Own brand cream cheese is not really equivalent to Philadelphia - I find that when you whisk it goes very wet and you have to pour it rather than ice properly (see photo).
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
Recipe:
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC. Pop your muffin cases (holds more cake, obv) in your tin.
  2. In a large bowl whisk your egg whites into stiff peaks and set aside.
  3. In another large bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale and golden. Beat in the egg yolks into the butter one by one. Then stir in the flour and baking powder. Add the walnuts, spices and carrot.
  4. Fold the egg whites into the cake mix. Dollop into cases, about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake - I found about 40 mins seemed about right but be ready for them to take longer than you would expect and keep an eye on them.
  6. In the meantime, whisk all the icing ingredients together and pop in the fridge.
  7. Allow the cakes to cool slightly then ice. I garnished with grated carrot because I forgot to save any walnuts. Oops! I like the colour pop though. Go orange.
I'd really recommend this recipe - it is a winner, as Jamie's often are. Also to be noted, he replaces some of the flour with ground almond which would be great but I didn't have any. Oh well.

I also had a mini strop prior to baking because I thought one of the flatmates had stolen the eggs I had put aside for baking. Angry texts were nearly sent. Then I remembered that I had eaten them for breakfast with the boyf the day before. Never text in anger. Looking like an idiot successgfully avoided for once!

Chuck x

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oranges ARE the Only Fruit


(Kurt Geiger, £190)

So I really like the Miss Selfridge orange sandals but, I must admit it, I have found a new orange dream shoe. Check out these Kurt Geiger delights! So beautiful, so orange! The wedge brings so much more orange surface area... They're lovely, unaffordable but lovely. Where did this orange crush come from?? I need to track down the show/outfit that triggered it. I also might need to find an actual orange. Have some left from my delicious Carrot Cake CupCakes (hey there, alliteration) which I need to post about.

Happy Wednesday y'all.

Chuck x

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

'The Last Tango in Compton'



This is le sex. So fluid, so perfect. Utterly hypnotic tango in the new VW advert. I want to move like this.

[N.B. I saw this for the first time at the cinema this w/e. We were watching Brighton Rock and this was pretty much my favourite thing about it! Ok, that is an exaggeration - the cinematography is beautiful, Helen Mirren looks great, the battles between Mods and Rockerts were sartorially epic and made me want to learn much more about the history - but I did not like the film. Just putting this out there as a warning, it is VERY violent and horrid and I am a big baby - this is not a film for babies. There is much slashing (arms, faces, eyes) and knives make me queasy and don't even get me started on the sulphuric acid. I almost broke the boyf's fingers in fear. It has also totally put me off reading any Graham Greene.]

Anyway.

Chuck x

Monday, February 7, 2011

Coloured Building Blocks

So I am running with my colour block theme - see Elle perfect block colour ensemble and Miss Selfridge's deliciously orange sandals. I'm viewing it not so much as a trend as a more upbeat and generally cheerful way of dressing. Something inside of me is calling for bright colours against all my generally muted instincts. Maybe it is the miserable weather, who can say? Anyway, I decided to investigate what my wardrobe had to offer in terms of bright, block-able colours and these are the scant pickings. I know that I do not have a neon rainbow wardrobe but I wasn't really aware of quite how little colour I wore. I'm not gothic, although I wear a lot of black and grey (ah, lovely lovely grey), it is just that my colour choices are fairly quiet - moss, dusty rose, dove grey (that is a colour!), navy, pale peach... I have quite a few stripes, a fair bit of plaid, some really lovely vintage prints and a floral but none of these are BRIGHT in the way that I want.

Below is my mini wardrobe rainbow. This is the closest I could get to bright, lip-smacking colour. And four items are scarfs. I did vaguely consider modeling all these pieces at once for you but decided it would be a bit too mad. 1 pair of shorts, 2 t-shirts, 1 shirt, 3 jumpers and 4 scarves. A strange look!



(Gingham shorts, Ebay; Tourist t-shirt, Italy; Plaid shirt, Rokit; Orange-red scarf, H&M; Burnt orange jumper; ASOS; Ochre scarf, H&M; Green silk scarf, Italian market; Green cotton scarf with bells on, Indian market; Teal/turquoise hoody, AA; Powdery blue jumper, my Pop; Dark purple t-shirt, Gap)

This is a strange and uncharacteristic cross-section of my wardrobe. It doesn't make for much of a 'block colour outfit'. I will definitely try out the red-on-red look come summer - I suspect I will look like a strange cross between a Coca-cola advert, a 7 year old and a pin up girl. In the meantime, the purple t-shirt will be coming for a run, I will keep an eye out for a green belt to go with the scarves and I will seriously consider the Miss Selfridge sandals to go with the orange cardigan and (if I could get one) a pink skirt...

What are your colour profiles?

Chuck x

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Block Colour Loveliness


Hey Elle,

You are so right, that is how I want to dress right now! I can't get this image out of my head. I'm not a massive fan of 'colour blocking' as a verb but it is what I want to be doing and this is a perfect, casual way to go about it. Unfortunately my wardrobe is not really cooperating. It is not exactly overflowing with strong, clear, bright colours. Murky I can do, poppy not so much. Am going to see what is achievable though to mimic this look. Mostly I'm keen on matching my lipstick, my belt and my shoes - amazing!

Clothing credits - Cotton t-shirt, £14, American Apparel. Silk dress, £299, Jaegar. Suede sandals, £60, Office. Leather belt, £17, Benetton. Lipstick, I wish I knew.

This has to happen... [Those Miss Selfridge sandals would be an excellent start - orange accents?]

Chuck x

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Chronicles of Self-Restraint, Pt. I

In keeping with my resolution not to buy clothes/things I don't need I have been laudably restrained in the shopping department of late. Despite this I got lured into a Miss Selfridge for the first time in about seven years the other day. There was an intriguing pair of shoes in the window and a 20% student discount - I couldn't help myself. I was also interested to see what their shoe quality was like since I can't really remember them having shoes in my youf. Anyway, I was quite impressed; much cheaper than the likes of Topshop and surprisingly good looking and comfortable (for high street heels). I spent about half an hour trying various shoes on - I had time to kill - and was left blissfully undisturbed by the shop assistants. I very nearly came away with a pair of the wedges but ultimately my self-restraint and internal voice of reason won out. I resent said voice so I thought I would turn them over to you in the hope that they find a loving home and I can feel less mournful about letting them go...



These were the window lures. They're not actually leather but they're an impressively good imitation and they looked preeetty sharp. I wear too much black for tan-brown to be a great option but I was swayed. And I think they look much more expensive than they are.



First up, these look less cheap in real life - this is not a super flattering photo. I'm a big fan of orange, despite owning very little of it, and these just felt amazingly summery and cheering. Let us not forget that colour blocking is big news and these would be just the thing... Not really weather appropriate for February but they will be great summer sandals. I also found them super flattering possibly because, WARNING, they are super high. Seriously, mega heels going on in real life. Fun shoes though.



On paper I think these are a bit over ambitious in their trend attack - crepe wedge, desert boot inspired, brogue effect, shearling lined etc. But in practice none of this is too obtrusive and they're just quite cute. And really comfortable, a very do-able, everyday height and snuggly with their fur lining.

Oh, the pitfalls of restraint! Anyway, I noticed that the 20% student discount is still available online which makes these £33.60 and £36 respectively... Tempted, anyone?

Chuck x

Friday, February 4, 2011

3 Things

Nothing much to say, just thought I'd share some things I've liked recently...


Cuterus Badge from Vickinator, Etsy. Seriously, how cute is that uterus!?? Want me one of these.



Basso and Brooke are doing furniture! Who knew? If I was a bzillionaire my house would be full of this. Such great prints, so wonderful and garish. Picture from Vogue.


Vivienne Westwood x Comic Relief x T K Maxx (£14.99). Irreverent yet regal - what Viv does best. I loves me a nice bit of Louis XIV and these are nice quality t-shirts. Spent a long time trying this on today and I really liked it but, aside from a few minor ebay slips and a necessary bra, I haven't broken my No Spending/Lo-Consumption resolution not to buy any new clothes yet and I didn't feel I could justify this. Maybe I should re-consider since at least £7 goes to charity?

That is all.

Chuck x

The Perfect Brownie Recipe

By 10 o'clock yesterday morning our house was filled with the smell of freshly baked brownies. This was quite strange, I am not usually an early morning baker - a leisurely mid-afternoon bake is more my style. However, there are exceptions to all things and I had promised some baked goods to charity before lunch time. Now, I am not a brownie lover - I don't mind them, don't get me wrong, they just don't really excite me - and I probably wouldn't have cooked them for myself but I thought they were a safe bet for a bake sale because nobody dislikes brownies and they always sell pretty well. I used another recipe from my Baked cookbook (whose cookie recipe I used for my Chocolate Orange Cookies) and I might have been converted, I definitely have a new level of brownie appreciation. These things are basically a totally delicious way of holding loads and loads of chocolate and butter together in one irresistible, gloopy morsel. I'm giving the recipe mega thumbs up because these came out perfectly - soft but chewy, moist and chocolaty with that wonderful delicate crisp top. I was quite sad to give them away!


Things to be noted - the recipe calls for 1 tspn instant espresso powder but I left this out because it felt unnecessary and lots of people aren't keen on coffee; this requires a lot of ingredients - it makes a lot of brownies! It also, if you are me, makes A LOT of mess. I got covered from breast to hip in brownie mix, also covered were the microwave, kettle, kitchen surfaces and floor. When they say 'use a large bowl' they are not messing around - use a really large bowl!

Also, I have some cup measurers so I didn't bother to translate into weight - sorry.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tspn salt (go for it! salt and chocolate... yummmz)
  • 2 tbspns cocoa powder
  • ~310g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped. I used a bar of dark and a just over half a bar of milk chocolate and that worked fine.
  • 250g (an entire pat!) butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated, golden caster, demerara, random sugar I found in our kitchen... Variety is the spice of life!
  • 5 large eggs. Yup - 5.
  • 2 tspns vanilla extract.
Recipe:

1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan. I don't know what size my pan was but it clearly wasn't big enough! My brownies were way deeper than regulation brownies which totally threw the baking time - even after doubling the cooking time it wasn't fully cooked in the middle. Lesson learnt - 2 inch thick brownies are delicious but hard to cook, probably best avoided...

2. Mix flour, cocoa powder and salt together in a medium (not small) bowl.

3. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a LARGE bowl - can't stress this enough. The recipe suggests over boiling water but I couldn't face the whole palava so I melted mine in the microwave. As long as your bowl is microwave suitable and you stir it rigorously every 30 seconds this works just as well. Keep mixing until smooth.

4. Whisk the sugar into the chocolate mixture. By the time you've done this everything should have cooled down a bit. Add 3 eggs to the mix and whisk until combined. Repeat with the other 2 eggs. If you haven't used a big enough bowl the mixture will be all over your mid section by this point. Stir in the vanilla. Don't overbeat the batter - as with muffins lumps are ok in brownie mix.

5. Fold the flour into the mixture with a spatula/metal spoon. If you are using a bowl that is far too small (see below) this is a perfect opportunity to spray flour onto the brownie mix already bedecking your kitchen so that it sets like glue. Glue, I tells ye.


6. Spatule (yup, casually making up verbs) your mixture into your tin and roughly flatten off. Pop in the oven and bake for approx 30 mins, or 70 if your brownies are unusually tall... Apparently, a good way to test is your brownies is to insert a toothpick into the middle and see if it comes out 'with a few moist crumbs sticking to it'. I maybe should have tried that.


7. Leave to cool/eat right away/mournfully wrap up to take away to charity folk. As you can see my monster brownie was still a bit wet in the middle but bake sales wait for no man!


Really, if you are into brownies you should try the recipe. Or if you're not this might convince you. I am definitely going to make this for myself at some point. I'm looking forward to customising it as well with lots of fruit and nuts, although that might corrupt its chocolaty purity... Decisions.

In short, YUM. Recommended.

Chuck x

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mixtape 2 - Blame it on the Boy



This is my second mixtape for The Mixtape Project. Quite an eclectic mix! I'm really liking the fact that none of these songs go together. If the person who receives this likes every track we are probably soul mates. I'm also quite impressed by my use of Caramel Wafer wrappers for the cover (art). Not the easy shortcut I was intending but NICE AND SHINY. Very important. I'm going to blame the general retardedness/7 yr old school project chic on the fact that I was pretty strapped for time. Excuses excuses...

Check out my first mixtape here. Join the project and we can have musical, arts & crafts based fun together!

Chuck x

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Edinburgh (All You Can Eat)

I'm back! And feeling rested and less mad. I love Edinburgh. It is a beautiful place and it helps that it has entirely positive connotations in my mind - when I go there I only do nice things and never horrid things like, say, work. I had the best long weekend which basically consisted of sleeping and eating lots. We went to all of our favourite places and stuffed our little faces. Good times!

Breakfast - Eteaket, 41 Frederick St.


A really sweet tea shop with approximately a zillion (maybe 50?) types of tea. Every pot of tea comes with a little egg timer so that you know how long to brew it for. My illustrious host, VB, went for their 'Life's a Peach' black tea which 'blends full bodied Ceylon tea with a sprinkling of yellow sunflowers, vibrant blue cornflower blossoms, delicate rose blossoms and safflower, giving a delicious peachy black tea with a hint of cream'. How delicious does that sound!? It so is. I had a yum-tastic chai latte, I often find chai lattes a bit lacking but this one is really good, rich and sweet but not cloying. We ate porridge and ham and cheese croissant-panninis which are the bestest and butteriest things ever!

Cake - Glass & Thompson, 2 Dundas St.


Inhale the above photo - this is cake porn. Glass & Thompson make lots of amazing looking cakes but neither VB nor I could resist their unfeasibly moist and perfect chocolate and almond cake. I don't normally go for chocolate cakes because I find they can be bland and dry but this is the exception. It is scented with orange and we had to keep stopping and taking breaks to make sure that we didn't just wolf our slices in two seconds flat. An unbelievably gorgeous cake to be savoured as slowly as possible...

Lunch - Oink, 34 Victoria St.


I love this place! It is hog roast day EVERY day. It isn't a silver cutlery kind of dining experience but pop in and grab a bun full of pig. Minimal choices (white or brown bun, haggis or sage & onion stuffing, apple sauce or chilli relish), maximum yum. And you can say hi to your little porcine in the window. So much fun.

Mmm... food. The best thing.

Chuck x