Wednesday, 21 October 2009

devonshire delights

i'm off down to devon for a week or so, and i'll hopefully have all sorts of delicious experiences to share with you all when i get back. i hope so. there'll definitely be some pasty eating, some scones and i expect also some crazy homecooking tales...

on the way we'll be stopping off near Bath, and maybe savouring something rather traditional and delicious. a bath bun perhaps, or maybe just a trip to the costume museum....not quite the same category, but equally scrumptious, don't you think?

now, i'll say cheerio, wish me safe travels and happy pasties!

holiday & hair

Hi everyone! I've had my hair cut! Go and check out a picture of it at my other blog, Alissa Loves.

I chose a long blunt bob, because:
- Liv Tyler and I have almost the same face shape, and her hair looks amazing
- when I was researching hairstyles for oblong face shapes, the only info I got was to not have the kind of cut I used to have! and to make sure that there was a lot of volume to the sides of my face
- it looks awesome!

i'm heading off on yet another holiday (it's ridiculous but brilliant), this time down to devon, where i shall drive over the cornish border and grab myself a pasty and some clotted cream scones...yummy. i look forward to catching up with you all when i get back.

just on a quick note, if you're thinking of having your hair cut differently, book an appointment and have it done soon before winter sets in. there's no real reason, except that it will make you feel a whole lot better about the onset of cold winter weather.

oh, and don't forget to enter my youtube contest, which ends on Friday!

new hair cut

I got my hair cut!!!!!
I absolutely love love love it! It is so much more edgy than what I had before, or at least that's what I think anyway. Last time I had it cut short, I didn't have my straighteners or any mousse, so it was a frizzy mess...not good. It's a blunt cut, so it looks really vintage and 30s, and looks amazing with hats :)
I'm heading off to Devon/Cornwall for a week away, which will be nice and relaxing even if it rains. which it almost guaranteed will for at least 50% of the time. But no matter, because I have a ton of books to get through including Sense and Sensibility and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Hardcore, but hopefully very readable.
I've packed so many long-sleeved tops its unreal, I have given up on packing properly given just how many times I've packed recently. on the way to devon we're stopping by with my auntie/uncle/cousins for a little while who live near bath. so hopefully i'll get some good shopping in, or at least some amazing photos.
i've still got a lot of new clothes to show you all....and i made a dress yesterday to go with my new hair.
talk to you all in a week or so :)

current loves...

what i wish was in my wardrobe

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

chocolate truffles - a la ritz style

it's been a pretty posh week this week. i've taken a stroll around basildon park, where i had afternoon tea. not only was this the set for netherfield in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, but it is an absolutely gorgeous house, with some very delicious cake choices. mmm. (see photos here)

i love looking around country houses, they are just so ornate and beautiful. if i ever got the opportunity to build my own house, it'd have tall ceilings and big windows just like basildon park. and the library there, oh my word. i'm starting a collection of folio books, but i've not nearly got as many as that library. i'm going to have to keep on going...maybe i'll get there some day?!

and then after that grand experience, i went to a truffle making workshop with the past patisserie chef from the Ritz. it was amazing! it was held near Salisbury Cathedral, which is a beautiful spot, totally stunning building. if you've never been, you should visit it. it'll take your breath away.

the workshop was awesome. 3 hours of pure chocolate heaven.

first we mixed and piped out the ganache...then once set, cut it up and/or rolled it into little balls.



then when those had set, we put the toppings on top. nuts, cocoa powder, more chocolate, vermicelli. yum.



then we spent a few minutes popping the finished truffles in bags and tying with copious amounts of ribbon. i had about 60 truffles to take home with me, and give to friends :)


what a gorgeous experience! unfortunately i can't let you in on all the secrets of perfect chocolate truffle making, as i paid for the secret. you'll just have to go to wiltshire and find out for yourself...

all i can say is that these are the healthiest chocolates (LOL) that i've ever had in my life, and the most delicious. and they don't seem to be lasting very long either. Ritz chocolates. How posh!

handmade skirt...love love love

i told you that this was acoming. i have been meaning to make something with my sewing machine for ages now, and i had this skirt idea for a couple of weeks since i bought a similar skirt in urban outfitters.

i went to Fabricland to get some similar fabric, and i found some that was almost identical. the trick with this skirt is to use fabric with loads of stretch to it, then it pretty much can't go wrong (although stretchy fabric does present some interesting stitching problems, hmm)

literally, get your fabric, make two pieces, one for the front, and one for the back. cut a slightly curved line around the edge. sew them together, back to front, so the stitch disappears when you turn it inside out. check that it goes in and out in all the right places. you could make this as a high-waisted skirt really easily, just change the curve to fit your waist rather than your hips

get some thick elastic for the waistband and cut it to the right length, with a little left over to fold and sew under. then sew it onto the skirt, and stitch together the band join with a zigzag stitch.

then sew up the hemline to wherever you want it. It's such an easy skirt to make...i'm blatantly making more and more. and more!

i hope you have a go, it took me a couple of hours :)

ps. in my hand i'm holding some truffles i made in a workshop...check out my food blog for more info at Not Just Apples.

Friday, 16 October 2009

ebay purchases

I have been talking to a few people in the last week about eBay; and opinions have varied.

The more savvy, stylish people are happy to have seen some good purchases, the people who are trendy highstreet shoppers are genuinely surprised and jealous of such awesome finds, and then the people who dislike shopping are horrified I would ever buy any clothes on eBay. "They sell clothes on ebay?" to which I reply, "Yes, of course, about 60,000 dresses at any one time." And that's in only my size...

anyway, i wanted to share my purchasing joy with you. so here they are:


All in all, I am a happy bunny.

People have often wondered how I manage to get nice things from ebay. And the answer to that is: I buy things I know will suit me. I buy items from stores I know will fit me. I buy things that will timelessly fit into my wardrobe. And last but not least, I spend HOURS AND HOURS on ebay trawling through the rubbish items.

i look for specific items too. like i'll type in dress, but then sort it by size, stores, country, fabric, etc. but some of the best purchases have been things that were labeled badly, like just "dress 10" or simply "shoes".

i've worn the tea dress almost every day since I got it on Tuesday :) i'm wearing it right now actually. and the thing is...it's a Primark dress, but it feels gorgeous and fits perfectly. the i am going to head out with my 1950s style tea dress, my leather topshop black boots, a cream cardigan and my new faux fur gilet (i thought the best way to nod to the trend was with a simple bodywarmer)

and all that for £83.88!!!!!

just make sure to cut yourself off whilst the going is good.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

recent yumminess

i have recently been eating too many bad things. it's impossible to eat non-sweet stuff all the time, and like with ebay, i've recently become quite addicted...

of course, what i call sweet stuff isn't nearly as bad for you as regular sweet stuff, so it feels justifiable to me. but because i always make a healthy version, i eat more and so it becomes much less healthy.

portion size is not something that has stuck in my brain yet...i always eat what i'm given and i hate to see food go to waste. which is why it sucks that most sweet recipes feed a family of 6, and there's only 2 people in our house. oh dear. we just both feel the need to polish it off before it gets ruined, which is of course a few hours after i made it :)

plus, there's been a whole host of meetings and dinners where i've needed to take round some type of cake.

these cranberry muffins were made because we had cranberries, and there were more than enough for some smoothie, so my mum suggested muffins...although in reality these are actually cupcakes. they weren't bad. at all. and lasted just over 24hours.



we ate this last night, when my good friend emily came round to visit. we had a million apples, and i wanted to make a dessert that didn't cost so much...so here you go, apple pie.

it was seriously good, and there's still half of it left. i think it would have been a bit much having all of it, as it's a pretty deep dish. although i am 100% positive that it'll be gone by the end of this evening. tasted delicious straight from the oven, with some low fat (Elmlea) single cream on top of it.


here's the recipe...

ingredients:
for the pastry
225g flour (i used about 100g gluten free flour, 50g plain flour and the rest wholemeal)
125g butter (i actually used salted, because that's all we had, and it tasted really good)
a pinch of salt
a sprinkling of sugar
for the apples
1.2kg apples (i used a mixture of cox and gala, which taste amazing when cooked, and hold their shape)
50g granulated sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
juice of half a lemon

1. rub the butter into the flour, until it forms breadcrumbs. then add the sugar and salt. add 3 or 4 tbsps cold water to make it form into a dough. cover in cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
2. core, peel and roughly chop your apples. mix together with the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and lemon juice. make sure the apples are evenly coated.
3. take your pastry out the fridge and roll out until thin. coat your pie dish with pastry. Then fill with the apple mixture.
4. take the remaining pastry and create a simple lattice to cover the top of your pie. Coat with an egg wash (use one beaten egg, to create colour and shine, and a delicious looking dessert).
5. pop in the oven until golden, about 30 minutes, ish.
6. enjoy straight from the oven with some cream (or cream substitute, Alpro Soya Cream is delicious)


and finally, i want to ask, do any of you have an uncontrollable urge to finish everything?

british vogue love

wowee, this month's vogue came in the post the other day, and how perfect that it should be an issue about affordable clothing :) november 2009 british vogue is gorgeous, with loads of helpful articles, and almost everything in the issue is within financial grasp (i say almost, because vogue's idea of affordable means that its not 4 or 5 figures, but it is still 3)

anyway, i thought i'd give you guys a sneak peek, and tell you to go out and get it!!!!!!!!!!!

the photos are backwards from the order in the magazine, but for some reason, the picture downloads won't work properly (grrr)

there's a photoshoot made out of household items...this is a tea-towel corset made by William Tempest. the detail blows my mind.


there's a whole section devoted to street style, which is amazing, as i think that's what blogs are really all about, aren't they?


there's a directory of places to go to get the Dash Cash look...the best charity shops and vintage places, night classes and haberdashery. AMAZING!


The final photoshoot is the gorgeous Caroline Trentini posing in the ultimate classic fashion staples, that have been updated for the season. and of course everything in the shoot is accessible and affordable, yippee!


as if you don't already want to go out and buy it, the first article is about taking old vogue patterns and making them into something up-to-date and wearable. oh my word.


oh and ms jagger has been interviewed for the issue too, what an inspiration.

the past few copies of vogue have been a disappointment, but this has totally renewed my faith. i actually have read every single word and article, and just love love love it.

ps. keep your eye out for my latest ebay finds, and a skirt that i made myself!

Friday, 9 October 2009

what i ate yesterday

yesterday was a tasty day. i know i always say that, but i would only ever let you in on the tasty days...

it started with a fast, as i had to go to the doctors for a fasting blood glucose test (i'm diabetic, for those of you who didn't already know). and by lunchtime i wasn't particularly hungry, i guess its all the brownies and carrot cake cupcakes that i've been eating the last week!

but i did eat something of course. so at 12:30 i made a smoothie and had asparagus with a fried egg and small sprinkling of cheese. it was sooooooo good.


here's what i put in the smoothie: frozen raspberry and mango mix (defrosted slightly), yogurt, water, raisins, cashews, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, agave nectar, flaked almonds.

i didn't really blend it enough, so there was the occasional chunk of raisin, which was actually pretty good. but, we don't have a strong enough mixer at home to do anything more hardcore with...it will never be smooth :(

then at about 2pm we went to watch a waitrose demonstration at my nearby store. we do this every few months, and i adore them. for about an hour or so, you sit and watch a professional chef at work, listen to their tips and taste what they have cooked.

yesterday's cooking was really good, the chef did four dinners based around the essentials items. the recipes are in the free 'seasons' book. she cooked, stuffed marrow, pizza with dolcelatte and figs, salmon with kale and potatoes and squash and lentil stew. all were delicious, and we also got to taste some chocolate cake from the new 'seriously' range, which was really really good.

i took a sneaky picture on my iphone whilst inside the demo room...




you always need to keep the recipe on your lap, so you can right down their suggestions, edits and so on. it's always so good to see something hands on, and it's a fantastic way to spend 1 free hour :) i might just make squash and lentil stew today actually!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

another doctor's appointment

i had another doctor's appointment on wednesday. i went to see my specialist which is about 1 hours drive away from my home. it's always worth it, as they are such a great means of support. i am supposed to go every 4months, but the clinic only runs once a month for one afternoon...so if i can't make an appointment the next one is usually several months ahead.

anyway, i'm not complaining because it is totally worth it. thank you NHS! i never understand people that actually moan about the NHS...it is after all FREE, and better than a lot of other countries. if you want better service, then you should pay for it like other countries do, or learn to treat yourself at home. hmm, bitter much?

my specialist team are amazing. so good. really helpful and they know everything, which is a change, because most regular GPs don't seem to understand diabetes, not type 1 anyway. i always seem to tell them things. i love explaining the inner workings of diabetes with people, so if you have any questions do ask them, and i will give you an answer!

the appointment was pretty quick actually, and the only difference to usual was being asked if i was thinking of getting pregnant soon. that made me smile. i was given a leaflet about it, and told that i must let them know the second i am thinking of becoming pregnant. it's important to have very stable levels during the first 3 months, and to have a specialist there who will know what to do when something feels weird.

but, i am not thinking of getting pregnant for some time yet, there's something else that's got to come before that...

so, i had my hba1c done whilst i was there, and they asked if i was doing ok and if i had any questions. they are just so nice, which makes a change from my pediatrist several years ago who told me that i was going to die (i might be being dramatic, but he did make me cry and it was completely unnecessary as i was doing the best i could with the advice i was given). shortly after this event, i was down at the specialist who told me that i was doing really well, go figure.

for those of you who have the unfortunate position of having a bad doctor, i sympathise.

but, maybe it's time to start thinking of switching to a more positive one, who encourages you to do better and try harder. exercise more and eat right. keep an eye on those levels. call them if you need anything. literally. that's the sort of care you have the right to have.

ebay is evil, ebay is awesome

oh my word, i've gone totally ebay crazy. its not good. its really not good. it's definitely not good for my bank account. it all started when i got my iphone a few weeks ago and realised that it had an ebay application. i started playing with it, and the rest is history. they make it so easy for you to buy stuff!

i've actually bought in the last week...
- one belt - a great purchase, as long as it fits
- 3 dresses - one red, one khaki, one floral (2 topshop, 1 zara)
- one smart top - it's from topshop, it arrived in the post yesterday, and it fits!
- one coat - it had some dodgy shoulder pads, but once i got them out, i think i'll be wearing this coat all through the winter! it's vintage and navy blue. perfection.
- 2 pairs of boots - one pair didn't fit, so i'm reselling them back on ebay, and the other's i wore today...they're grey topshop ankle boots, and i love them, even if they hurt my feet today :)

and i'm bidding for another 6 items, and watching 18 others. i've lost out a few times, but that's all part of the "fun"

i actually am addicted. i know its not good at all. but i CANNOT stop. i actually can't. i need to delete the app from my iphone...it's the only way.

ps. i'll show you what i bought as soon as it all arrives in the post, and this madness stops.

this weeks deliciousness

so there's been a lot of sweetness this past week...and a lot of tasty food.

last friday i went to a friends house, to which i had promised to bring brownies, so i made some pumpkin brownies, which went down a treat. they are the most moist and rich brownies you'll ever eat i swear. i used the recipe from the 'cook yourself thin' girls, i have the book (which is really good by the way) but you can find the recipe online too, click here for harry's spiced winter chocolate brownies.






i also made some delicious carrot cake cupcakes for a group meeting we had on tuesday, and these turned out to be so delicious i sneaked in 4 before the meeting began. i always feel like carrot cake is healthier...and though i did edit the recipe a little (find it on joy of baking) they still aren't the most virtuous desserts you could ever have! i did top them with cream cheese but by that stage they were being raced out of the door to the meeting so i didn't get a picture.

BY FAR THE BEST CARROT CAKE RECIPE EVER! add a little orange juice and change the types of flour for the best results...in my opinion :)



i also made the most delicious sausage stew, to which i added a dollop of creme fraiche which made all the difference to the smoothness and flavour.

and the one disaster that i had this week was the stew i made yesterday, i added turkey mince which turned out to be a huge mistake. i have never used turkey mince successfully, and so if anyone has any good turkey mince recipes, do let me know! the only reason we had it in the freezer was because it was on offer at the supermarket, and i am now under strict instructions to never buy it again, even if it is substantially cheaper than all other meat.

anyway, i went to the hospital yesterday for a routine checkup and came out with a great plan to eat even more healthily than i already do. so for lunch today, we are having asparagus with scrambled eggs, followed by a raspberry mango smoothie. then for dinner we are having a vegetable stir fry. then tomo morning i will have summer porridge (i will have to share pictures of it soon!), followed by the leftover stew from yesterday and then moussaka for dinner...maybe? my food plans always change depending on my mood.

ps. we went shopping at Lidl's this morning, and bought loads of fruit and veg for only £17. bargain! i love that shop so much. so so much.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

for the love of chanel

The Chanel Show Spring Summer 2010, Paris, watch it on Youtube...the models come out of a giant haystack, with gold twigs in their hay, Lily Allen comes out of the ground to sing, and there's a little model mayhem in the hay:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8otjTStvmIE

i saw this yesterday on my phone, and i had to stop everything i was doing to watch it (twice!). what an amazing show! they are always spectacular but i never thought i would want to wear every piece in his show...but literally EVERYTHING in this show is amazing. here's some of my favorites, thanks to http://www.style.com/:

this show makes me want to:
- draw little chains on myself with eyeliner
- paint my nails with OPI's 'You Don't Know Jacques!'
- wear tweed all winter
- find a pattern so I can attempt to recreate a Chanel jacket, given there's no way I'll ever be able to afford one in the short term...
- buy and wear some amazing tights
- drape black lace on everything
- learn the art of the elegant messy bun
- pile matching bracelets on my wrists
- dye my hair blonde
- get black ribbon and attach it to all my clothes

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

beauty contest prizes


ok well here's the prizes video, so if you haven't entered yet, hopefully this will spur you on...!

new york city: things to eat

Let me start by saying that NYC is amazing! There are so many delicious places to eat...I swear you could eat somewhere different every night of the year (for several years!) And there are lots of healthy places to eat too, which is awesome :)

Before arriving in New York I had been trying to plan what I ought to try in the city, and I unfortunately didn't even get so far with my list at all, I saw the Magnolia Bakery, but didn't get to go in, I didn't have cheesecake or a bagel, but here's what I did have:

Starbucks - Yes, they do sell different things in different countries! I had a Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwich, an apple fritter (not healthy at all, but I needed to try some sort of fritter before leaving the states), and a banana and chocolate smoothie with green tea matcha.

Given the choice, I'm not so sure that I'd go back here so frequently, there were so many other places to eat!! But it is great for people watching, which is fab pastime when you are bored :)


of course, if you're ever in manhattan, you have to try a gray's papaya, what a delicious bargain! grilled hot dog with everything please!




i love this last sign, i'm blatantly a real new yorker, i ate a frank every day ;)

then last but not least, fairway was right opposite our amazing hotel, which was awesome as it's potentially the best food market ever! well, it certainly runs a close second to Whole Foods anyway (there you can actually get sachets of maple almond butter, yep, no joke!) and I didn't get a chance to go to Dean & Deluca, which was rubbish, but there really wasn't time to do everything


we had a veg stir fry in our room one night, which was delicious and very filling, and fresh thanks to fairway!

and last but not least, outside fashion week, glamour were giving out cupcakes :)

Friday, 2 October 2009

san francisco - foodie central

i'm carrying on with the penultimate place on my trip, san francisco! (next comes new york!) i was so impressed by the sheer quantity of food places in san francisco, there's anything you could ever want to eat!

so here's some pictures of some of the things i ate in sf:

tuna salad sandwich, this was a pretty good sandwich.


on mission and dolores (i think) there's this amazing little arty cafe, which has a great atmosphere, i would highly recommend it's sweets. mmmm.


i've never seen a more beautiful board, have you? i got a veggie slice...i hardly ever have pizza, so i thought even my one slice for this whole year had better be the healthiest type!




Jamba juice are such a delicious company, i want to eat all their food.


we went out to a 50s diner for breakfast one morning, and this is what we got. can you tell? c had french toast with a side of bacon, and a side of omelette, and i had the pancakes.




we went for a meal out in china town which was tasty, and fun. it wasn't really new things to me, but it was nice. though i did try plum wine for the first time, which was tasty. chinese food is not something i usually eat a lot of, because of the preservatives and sugar content, but i do enjoy eating it :)



the fortune cookie factory...

a tea shop, with super delicious tea.


bread and cocoa, we went there for breakfast one morning, and i had oatmeal, what a delicious way to start the day!





Bristol Farms is so scrumptious, i could have spent a whole day looking at everything, and trying everything. next time i'm in san francisco, i'll be eating here the whole time i swear. it's on the bottom floor of the westfield shopping centre, and it's well worty a visit. i chose chilli and sourdough, as i wanted something hot and filling, and my was i satisfied.




we ordered room service just this once on our trip, because we could! i had a very expensive, but tasty banana, strawberry, yogurt and granola with hot chocolate. and charlotte had a cream cheese bagel and tea. what can i say. it was totally worth the expense!



so, overall, YUM! San Francisco is a delicious place to be!