Sunday, 24 June 2012

Perfect (Lazy) Sunday Brunch

Sundays are made for pure unadulterated relaxing...

I like to enjoy a long leisurely 'Perfect Sunday Brunch', before turning to some other relaxing activity, to make the most of this day of rest! 

Sunday Brunch Essentials
Here's my little guide to Perfect Sunday Brunch (a bit of an alternative to the usual fry up!)

WHAT YOU NEED

FOOD & DRINK

Fresh eggs (2/3 per person)
Pack of mushrooms (per two people, I favour chestnut for their nutty flavour)
Gia garlic paste (or 2-3 cloves of garlic to crush if you can be bothered!)
Lemon or lemon juice
Loaf of sourdough or brown bloomer bread
Hash browns (2-3 per person)
Olive oil
White wine vinegar (or any that you have, I used Sushi vinegar)
Sea salt, black pepper, mixed herbs, dried parsley
Cafetiere coffee or teabags (try Lavazza or Yorkshire Gold tea bags)
Milk & sugar
Ketchup /other sauces

Garlic paste - save yourself the fiddling!

GADGETS, GIZMOS & OTHER

Cafetiere or teapot (depending on your preference)
Saucepan of boiling water
Frying pan
Wooden spoon
Fish slice
Grill or oven
Toaster
Sunday papers
Mugs
Cutlery 
I like this Bodum cafetiere in lime!

WHAT TO DO

1. Put the hash browns in the grill/oven, don't forget about them and turn once when they turn brown
2. Put the saucepan of water on the cooker, add sea salt and vinegar, and bring it to the boil.  My secret tip is to also add black pepper and mixed herbs to the water!
3. Wash mushrooms and slice
4. Slice your choice of bread and leave ready by the toaster
5. In the frying pan, heat olive oil and when hot enough add the garlic paste. Add mushrooms and stir. Add sea salt, black pepper, parsley and a few squirts of lemon juice.
6. Meanwhile, whilst mushrooms are cooking, crack eggs per person into a dish, also pop the first batch of toast into toaster.
7. When the water in the saucepan is bubbling, use the fish slice to swirl the water and then add the egg mixture into the swirl.  Let the eggs poach for as long as you like, depending on how cooked you'd like them.  When you deem them ready, drain and place on top of toast.
8. Before cooking the next batch of eggs, add some more herbs and black pepper into the water.
9. Hash browns should be ready by now, so remove from grill and plate up.  Make remaining toast and turn on kettle.  Make tea or coffee to your taste.
10. Everything should be ready by now, so grab the papers, coffee or tea, plate of 'Perfect Brunch', cutlery, friends/boyfriend/husband and TUCK IN!

Tadah! Perfect (Lazy) Sunday Brunch!

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Friday, 15 June 2012

Supermarket Sweep!

Picking up a few essentials in Sainsbury's today, I couldn't resist adding this gorgeous cardi into my basket!  It's from the newest Gok for Tu at Sainsbury's collection and in my signature bow print! 


I love bows and will always be tempted to buy things emblazoned with bows... One of the very reasons this blog is called Bow Street is due to my love of all things bow!  Good old Gok for designing this flattering cardi!  There are two colourways available - pink/black and off white/black, I opted for the latter, and at £28, you can't go wrong - a printed cardi is always handy to add some detail to a simple outfit!

Gok for Tu - The Covetable Cardi, £28

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Monday, 11 June 2012

Yummy Melanzane Parmigiana

Sometimes weekends are all about relaxing, lounging and enjoying delicious food and drink, especially when the weather outside is frightful (and reminiscent of winter!), and this weekend gone, I did just that!  A lot of time was spent cooking (and eating!) some delicious food (if I do say so myself!)...

Last night we had friends over for dinner and enjoyed a delicious bottle of Piccini Super Tuscan 2008 with Yummy Melanzane Parmigiana (baked aubergines) after watching some of the weekend's footie.  We've used the recipe before many times and it never fails to hit the spot or impress!  If you like, you can make extra and then take it into work for lunch the day after - beats a boring sandwich any day of the week!

Yummy Melanzane Parmigiana (via BBC Good Food and Olive Magazine)

Serves 4

Ingredients

olive oil
2 garlic cloves , thinly sliced
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 small bunch basil, shredded
3 medium aubergines
2 balls mozzarella, sliced
a handful grated Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)

Method
  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add the garlic and gently sizzle for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cinnamon and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened. Stir in the basil and season - I like to add sea salt, fresh black pepper and oregano.
  2. Slice the aubergines lengthways about 1/2cm thick. Brush both sides with oil, season and griddle (chargrill), turning a few times until completely tender (you could also do this in a non-stick frying pan). It's important to get the aubergine as tender as possible, so give it time.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and put a few spoonfuls of the sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Cover with the aubergine and mozzarella then repeat, ending with a thin layer of sauce (you'll have roughly 3-4 layers). Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling and golden.
  4. Serve with crusty bread and a mixed salad
Ta-dah!


Piccini Super Tuscan 2008, from Tesco
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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Feeling Beach-y!

Two weeks ago, we were teased with a week of glorious sunshine and now it's raining nonstop in London, topped off with some pretty strong winds!  Instead of shedding a few layers, we're having to dig out our boots and winter wear - boo! 

Many people I know are jetting off on holiday; to the exotic beaches of the Maldives; the opening parties and sunsets in Ibiza; magic and mayhem in Las Vegas and the glamour of Monaco... Meanwhile, I have none of these glorious places to look forward to any time soon, so I've decided I'm going to hit the beach via these tropical 'beachy' buys I've come across! At least until I can jet off myself!

Happy Weekend (#I love short weeks!) !

Blue Palm Print Maxi, £55, Wallis (out of stock online, but try instore)
Palm Print Swimsuit, £30, ASOS
Soaked in Luxury Palm Print Scarf, £19, Joy
Vest with Scenic Beach Print, £25, ASOS
Hawaii iPad Clutch, £16, Topshop
Playa Rose Sunset Clutch, £60, Samudra @ Beach Flamingo
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Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday Chic/Cheap Thrill Alert!

How fab are these cut out lace detail envelope clutch bags?! So fabulous that I had to bag myself two!  At only £15.99 each from British high street stalwart New Look, they are the chicest companion to the weekend's Jubilee celebrations! Available in white/hot pink, black and pewter!  Not all designs are available online, so check out larger and flagship stores for the full range.   They are my Friday Chic/Cheap Thrill!




Pewter Crazy Cut Out Bag
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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Repurpose! Reuse!

Sometimes, the original purpose for something might not be the best way to use it.  Or, you may simply not like the original purpose for it.  Or, you may find multi uses for it!  Anyhow, it is something that interior designers and stylists have been doing for years, and in these times of austerity, it's more relevant than ever to think out of the box and to really squeeze the full life and potential out of things we buy or already own! 

I just wanted to share a few of my recent repurpose and resuse ideas...  I'll be sharing lots along the way, but just wanted to get the ball rolling with these!

Trays

I've only recently realised how useful trays can be!  In addition to obvious uses as a serving tray for food and drink, trays can be used all over your home and work, to house, well whatever!  They help to keep things neat and organised and can also help to add a splash of colour or pattern to a plain colour scheme.  Here are some of my favourite uses for them...



Plant holders

Plant holders are also a recent discovery, mainly due to one particular pot I found whilst rummaging in IKEA.  Immediately I was struck by how pretty it was - it features lovely metal cutout detail which resembles lace, and I just thought it would be better used as a home for odds and ends!  I now have several... one of my bedside table, containing essentials such as lip balm, paracetamol and hand cream (all in one neat handy place), one containing all my make-up brushes, the list is endless! 

Another great idea to use it (aside from it's original purpose as a plant pot holder!), it to flip it round, drill a hole in the bottom and use it as a chic light shade!

At only £1.99 each, these are a serious steal!

IKEA SKURAR Plant Pot, £1.99

Gift boxes

Occasionally, when you order something from a posh online store like Netaporter or receive a gift, your things come in a lovely black box, made of thick, hard wearing cardboard. Whilst many would discard of the boxes, I definitely would not! These boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes are great for storing stuff and keeping things neat.  Take a look at how I reuse my Netaporter boxes below! 

net-a-porter.com gift boxes
Large size box houses my clutch bag collection!
The small box houses my postcard collection!
The extra small box houses my gift cards and vouchers!

What are your favourite repurpose and reuse ideas?
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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sun & Sandal-tastic!

I am so happy that the sun (and heat) has made an appearance!  London looks beautiful and temporarily at least you see more smiles than frowns!  After a mostly miserable May, the sun is set to stay, with temperatures soaring up to 28C - it is due to be hotter here than in Greece this week!

To celebrate this mini heatwave, I've trawled the high street in search of the chicest flat sandals and wanted to share my favourites with you.  It's time to unveil those tootsies after months of unpredictable weather, so be prepared and ensure your pedicure is up to scratch with a bright hue!



Don't forget to pay special attention to your feet - toenails trimmed, heels smooth, toenails buffed and painted...ready for summer!

CCS Foot Care Cream, £6.25, Amazon - I swear by this!
The best tool for smoothing dry heels, £3.49, Boots
4 Way Nail Buffer, £3.00, M&S
Seche Base, £6.99, Beauty Bay
Seche Vite, £8.99, Beauty Bay - an amazing top coat!
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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Delicious Weekend Brunch at Lantana


I love the idea of weekend brunch...it's the ideal way to awake and then soak up the best bit bits of the weekend, via a leisurely meal with good food, good coffee (or champagne/prosecco - depending on how you're feeling!) and good friends.

But it seems like the whole brunch thing seems to be a bit of a slow burning thing over here - despite being au courant in places like New York, Melbourne and Sydney.  Even if you do find places serving weekend brunch, if often only runs till around 11am - nothing leisurely about that!  So I was moutherwateringly excited to sample weekend brunch and girly catching up session at Lantana.

Lantana, meaning 'a hardy invasive weed that thrives in unlikely environments' -  is a bustling little Antipodean cafe in the heart of Soho, London.  It's been called “a little bit of Australia in Fitzrovia” and is also one of the best places to enjoy a flat white in London (both I and the London Evening Standard can attest to that!)

A bracing walk to Lantana meant we had big appetites, but it was a queue that greeted us instead of a waiting table when we arrived, as Lantana doesn't take bookings. Probably just as well as it's constantly busy and the kind of place where you could easily while a way a few hours, meaning that the staff here probably wouldn't be able to chuck you out to accommodate bookings!

A short while later we were happily seated in the heart of the action, sipping smooth, creamy yet punchy lattes and salivating over the brunch menus.  After much deliberation and changing of choices, we settled on what we'd be feasting on!  I was going for Sauteed mixed mushrooms on grain toast w poached eggs and lemon herb feta and my brunch buddy Jamini opted for the BERT - Toasted sandwich w/ crispy bacon, a fried egg, rocket, tomato and aioli.  

Now this is where I have to apologise in advance...because as soon as the food arrived, we devoured it pretty darn quickly and the normal 'let me take a photo of that' blogger side of me endured an epic fail!  All I can say is both dishes looked delicious, smelled delicious, tasted delicious! I can honestly say that everything on my plate was gone and savoured till the very last bite...there was something very special indeed about those poached eggs.  Man, I can still remember the taste passing my lips now!  I will remember them fondly!

A few flat whites later, suitably fed and relaxed, we were ready to take leave of the deliciousness that is Lantana and head back towards the throngs of Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon (another epic fail - as a Londoner, I really should know better...)!

The famous and delicious flat white at Lantana

If you're heading to brunch anytime soon, I urge you to try Lantana - a perfect place to celebrate the weekend and catch up with friends over delicious food and coffee!  And next time, I promise to take a photo before I delve in!

Lantana, 13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1SN 
www.lantanacafe.co.uk
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Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sensory Delight at Leather Forever

Today, I spent a perfect Saturday afternoon exploring the Hermès Leather Forever Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts' sister exhibition space 6 Burlington Gardens.  Quite a fitting location for the exhibition seeing as Hermès' first London boutique opened in nearby Jermyn Street fifty years ago!


The innovative exhibition commemorates 175 years for Hermès by celebrating the luxury brand's special relationship with leather and tracing Hermès' history - from 19th Century saddle and harness-maker, to one of the most famous (and desirable) handbag brands of the 21st Century.

As a visitor, you are taken on a whimsical journey discovering Hermès' love of leather, featuring some of its most historic creations as well as some more recent designs.  Personal delights include:
  • The 'Library of Skins' room, where you can see, feel, touch and smell the plethora of leathers and exotic skins that Hermès' skilled artisans transform into beautiful and functional creations
  • Live craftspeople from the Hermès workshops in Paris demonstrating the art of leather working by creating some of its iconic works in situ and talking you through the intricate processes
  • A giant neon Kelly bag sculpture showing off the many variations of the Kelly and Birkin bags that have been created over the years that you can see in detail with Hermès binoculars
  • A room dedicated to Hermès' equestrian roots featuring a white sand floor
  • Special lighting and animation showcasing Hermès' bags' features 

Giant neon Kelly bag sculpture

A final surprise before leaving the exhibition was the unveiling of four one-of-a-kind versions of the Hermès Passe-Guide handbag representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, each in its own country personalised setting.  My favourites were the bags for Ireland and England! These bags will be auctioned online from May 14-31 by Christie's, raising funds for the Royal Academy of Art.

This exhibition is a feast for the senses and a must see for anyone who is an admirer of the Hermès brand, an admirer of its beautiful handbags and leather creations and of course anyone interested in design and crafts.  Hurry though, as the exhibit only runs till 28th May and it would be a shame to miss it!

Hermès Leather Forever, 8 - 27 May 2012 at the Royal Academy of Arts' 6 Burlington Gardens
Admission: Free
Opening hours:
Saturday-Thursday 10am-6pm
Friday 10am-10pm
Visit the Hermès Leather Forever official website here
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Friday, 18 May 2012

Cool comfort with Airism

Question: This summer (if is ever arrives!) how can you keep cool, comfortable and yet still look chic?

I believe I may have discovered the answer to this sartorial conundrum!

Let me introduce you to the Airism Lounge Set from Uniqlo.  I don't know how aware you are about Uniqlo's Heat-tech range (a winter essential!),  Airism meanwhile is their spring summer equivalent - literally air conditioned clothing!  Now this not something I have been sent to trial or review...oh no...this is my own personal discovery and I've found myself returning time and time again to repurchase!

The Airism range consists of all manner of clothing to keep you cool, calm and collected this summer - including loungey wide-legged trousers, maxi dresses, knee length dresses, tees, skirts, underwear and more.  Crafted from a silky material that keeps moisture away and allows you to stay cool and comfortable, my personal favourite from the range is the Lounge Set!  Available in a variety of colours and so soft to the touch, it's just begging to be slipped on so that you can..well...lounge!  The Lounge Set (and the rest of the Airism range) is not only another piece of genius from Uniqlo people, it is perfect for relaxing in, travelling in, working out in - the options are endless!  I love the breton striped version of the lounge set below, which I recently snapped up!

Uniqlo Airism Lounge Set in navy stripe, on sale at £19.90

Also, I love how most of the range comes ready in a little package - ready to be thrown in a suitcase or to be gifted to someone as a stylish yet very practical present! Most of the Airism range is on offer on the Uniqlo website right now, so snap it up quickly!  Men: fear not, you can get cool comfy too, albeit with a slightly smaller range, check it out here.


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Thursday, 10 May 2012

I Am Packed

One of the most exciting things about a holiday or a trip away is deciding what you're going to pack...all that anticipation about the outfits you're going to wear or revelling in the fact that you've only packed half a suitcase, so that you can stock up on treasures and wares from local markets and boutiques from your holiday or business destination!

I especially love fellow bloggers' posts on what they're packing for their trips, especially when they have put together detailed photos or videos, it may seem strange but I think it's all part of the excitement attached to travelling, with the possibility that anything is possible and new adventures await you!

So when I discovered iampacked.com, I thought yay, finally a blog (brought to you by Air New Zealand) devoted to packing, including posts submitted by normal people all over the world, from the UK, to Osaka, to Brisbane!  It's probably only really nosy people like me who want to know what make-up and shoes people on the other side of the world are packing, or how they've packed their bags!  If you are as inquisitive as me, check out the site...I think I may a little bit addicted!

The only drawback is, all these images of bags packed ready to arrive in exotic destinations is making me want to go on holiday even more now!


Iampacked.com - a snippet from one of the lucky suitcases!



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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Met Ball 2012 Favourite Frocks

Fashion's equivalent of the Oscars took place on Monday evening, in the form of the Met Ball 2012 or Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to give it its full name.  This year's theme of the evening was Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations so the fashion bar was set very high indeed!

Hundreds of fashionistas and actresses alike poured themselves into a variety of dresses, good and bad... I've picked out my favourites from the sea of photos appearing all over the Internet!

Carey Mulligan in Prada

January Jones in Atelier Versace

Jessica Alba in Michael Kors

Solange Knowles in Rachel Roy



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Brett Easton Ellis for 40p

Despite much praying for the weather to improve, the rain hasn't miraculously transformed itself into glorious sunny rays, and so we're left with grey, murky and miserable 'meh' weather.

With no prospects of jetsetting into sunnier climes, I've decided to get acquainted with Brett Easton Ellis's satirical LA world by delving into 'Imperial Bedrooms', a sequel to his 1985 bestseller 'Less Than Zero'.  I came across a copy of this well thumbed book at my local library, where they regularly sell books for under £1, in this case a mere 40p!  You can't even get a decent coffee for that!


I know we're in the digital age and all that and that it's really easy to read on a Kindle or on your iPad 3, but sometimes, it's nice to actually read a good book the old fashioned way! 

Whilst Amazon or your local supermarket is great for picking up the latest bestseller at a cheaper price than its RRP, I'd say it's well worth heading down to your local library to see if they are getting rid of any of their books.  Yes, they may be a little older, but you may pick up a classic you've been meaning to read for ages, often in a great, hardback condition for next to nothing!  Look out for recent bestsellers or old classics like Dickens or F.Scott Fitzgerald (especially The Great Gatsby)...

Next, head home, make a big pot of coffee, and dive straight in!
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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Garden Parties

With two bank holidays coming and plenty of praying for the sun to come out (and stay out) going on, I thought now would be a good time to share a few thoughts on garden parties.

A chic alternative to the BBQ, garden parties are a great way to celebrate the great outdoors as well as to celebrate all things British in a year where Great Britain is hot property!

Whether you have a large garden, a little patio, terrace or have access to communal or community gardens, garden parties work for everyone!  Worry not, if you don't actually have a patch of grass, you can always throw down a grass rug!

Grass rug, £59.00 from La Redoute

You can make your garden party as organised or as casual as you want.  Invite friends or family over from late afternoon (3 or 4pm) and tempt them with plenty of food and drink until the twilight hours!  If you don't have any outdoor furniture, you can beg/borrow/steal/hire trestle tables and folding chairs, covering them with sheets or material to prettify and thus creating your own decor scheme, adding placemats, crockery and cutlery or melamine/plastic bits, depending on how casual you want to be...

Love this casual table setting with single flowers in jars!
Read more after the jump...

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Happy National Stationery Day!

Today is National Stationery Day - a day of celebration of the written word and of all things stationery. It has been launched to get more people putting pen to paper, and writing more often by hand. There’s more to life than email and texting!  I for one am a massive fan of the handwritten letter and card and have a selection of lovely writing paper and cards in a box at home!  And of course there is nothing nicer than receiving a handwritten letter in the post!

If you're a stationery addict like me than the national launch of such a day is music to my ears and of course cause for celebration!  What better way to celebrate than to round up some of my favourite stationery buys right now?!

Bows letter set, £2.50, Paperchase
Neon pink heart stickers, £2.54 for 36, Etsy
Heart holepunch, £10.00, Papermash
Vintage travel gift tags, £4.95, Papermash
Letterpress thank you cards, £4.75, Paperchase
The Classic - Moleskine pocket ruled notebook, £10.00, Paperchase
I love Muji's range of pens and pencils, check them out here

For more information, check out http://www.nationalstationeryday.com and more importantly get writing and indulging in the massive choice of stationery out there!  Great places to try are Paperchase, Papermash, Ryman, Muji, Amazon...

What are your favourite stationery items/buys?
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