I can’t stop thinking about this dress. Daydreaming about the flowing emerald green silk.
Green silk dress – See by Chloe.
At full price for more than £500 it was completely out of my price range, and very much just a daydream. At £245 it’s still out of my price range, but I keep trying to convince myself it’s doable. Maybe it’s the dress of my life. Maybe it’s the one. Maybe there’ll never be another dress for me.
There are very few lovely green dresses out there. For all the lovely dresses in the wonderful world of internet shopping, very few of them are green.
Le sigh. Cost per wear right?
I’ve been going back to my roots lately. I learned to bake from a mixture of my mother and grandmother’s recipes, and recipes from New Zealand’s iconic Edmonds cookery book. This walnut and coffee cake is without a doubt one of my favourites from the flour company’s book (with the motto ‘Sure to rise’).
Within months of first moving to London I was on the phone to home asking for a copy of the book to be posted to me. I still go back to it when my shelves of other cook books fail to inspire me, or if I’m feeling a bit homesick. I tweak this cake recipe a bit, espresso rather instant coffee, and use a little rapeseed or sunflower oil instead of butter and throw walnuts into the mixture. It’s the perfect cake to bake on a Sunday.
Coffee and walnut cake (adapted from Edmonds cookery book)
2 tablespoons strong espresso
1/3 cup of oil (sunflower or rapeseed)
3/4 cup brown sugar
scrape of fresh vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 eggs separated
1 cup plain flour
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons milk or soy/rice milk
Coffee icing (icing sugar, butter or alternative, espresso)
1. Make your espresso and set aside to cool.
2. Cream butter, sugar, coffee mixture and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
5. Sift flour, cornflour and baking powder together.
6. Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with the egg whites.
7. Stir in milk and walnuts.
8. Pour cake mixture into two greased and lined 20 cm sponge sandwich tins.
9. Bake at 190°C for 20-25 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
10. Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
11. Fill and ice with Coffee Icing. Decorate with walnut pieces if desired.
P.S. Where I find cake inspiration
This snowglobe print by Clare Owen pretty much sums up the last few days in London. It really is a bit like being shaken up in a snow globe when you’re trekking around trying not end up on your bum in a pile of ice or sludge. But I can’t complain. London all white is the stuff of dreams and film sets. Just lovely.
The print is 50% off in the Papermash sale at the moment along with lots of other lovely stuff.
I thought it was time I shared a few images from around the flat. I’ve posted a few bits on Instagram so if you follow me there, you’ll have seen a few bits and pieces. Unbelievably, it’s a whole year since we moved in. I still feel like I’m settling in, rearranging and finding spots for things which don’t have obvious homes.
The mantel. Apparently one money-box just wasn’t enough. The badger was a gift and is from the Quail range at Liberty. The owl (Hedwig) I fell in love with when I spied him at Caravan Style a couple of years ago. He just had to come home with me. They both live on the mantelpiece. Both are sadly closer to empty than full. The teacup trios were gifts, the left is by Susie Cooper (I wrote about it here) and the right is a vintage set by Collingwood (c.1924-1930). The couple dancing print is from the brilliant 20 X 200 site.
The bookshelf. Another little wise owl. This guy was £1 from a charity shop. He lives with a very weather-beaten yellow submarine, complete with fab four aboard. The Beatles toy was the Mr’s when he was a child. Our bookshelves are overflowing but there’s still space for these guys.
The sofa (and the ukes). The Mr’s collection all lined up watching telly on the sofa. Left to right: A charango, a Mele soprano ukulele, a banjolele, my SpongeBob ukulele, and a Lehua ukulele all together, just hanging out. And before you ask, no I can’t play any of them. The sofa, or couch as us New Zealanders tend to call them, was donated by the Mr’s uncle when we were trying to fill the unfurnished flat. It’s covered with Charles Eames fabric apparently. Love.
And here’s a Liberty print cushion I ran up on the sewing machine. I’m halfway through making another one in green.
The bedroom. This is an unsigned original Biba poster photographed by James Wedge. I really wanted to have it on display as I just love her. You can’t really see from my photo but the Gold Biba logo is printed in the top left hand corner. These posters were never used or sold by Biba as they were produced in 1974 just before the company folded. There are a few floating around online if you look for them. She’s lying on the most rich and opulent cushions. She doesn’t really match the wallpaper, which I’m not really keen on but in a rented flat what can you do? If those legs and butt aren’t motivation to get up and go for a run in the morning I don’t know what is.
I love looking at pictures of other people homes on blogs so thought it was only fair that I shared some of mine. Stay tuned for part two (once I’ve had a tidy-up).
Gee whiz it’s been busy lately. Some days it seems I barely have time to breathe let alone write a coherent sentence (and I write for a living).
I’ve decided that a few treats are the only way to get by. I’m making this month brighter with:
1. New make up, and Chanel’s new spring nail colour called ‘April’.
2. Actually finding the time and will to paint my nails.
3. Beetroot for dinner. The bright pink vegetable that truly is the sweetest of them all. Roasted, boiled, raw, grated or baked in a chocolate cake: I adore it all. Especially when the mister cooks it for me and when it’s in all shades of gold and pink.
4. A green vintage slip I bought on a day trip to Brighton recently. It’s currently soaking in a bucket in my bathtub. A few minor amends and it will be as good as new in no time.
5. Breakfast. I’ve been making an effort to actually eat breakfast at home before work these days. This is apple, pecans, soy yoghurt and oats. Deliciousness in a bowl.
How do you cope when you are too busy to think? What little things do you do to cheer yourself up?
All photos by me.
This is a sneak peek of one of the walls in my bedroom. One of the mister’s ukulele’s from his ever-growing collection. A trio of owls made of milk glass from a vintage shop in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. A felt mermaid from Titirangi market in Auckland, NZ. I made some display hoops for my collection of brooches and earrings from Liberty fabric and embroidery hoops. I like owls.
Photo by Luke.
- Image: Tatty Devine
I grew up in an old cottage underneath a very, very large oak tree. And I have been eyeing up this Tatty Devine necklace each time I walk past their Brick Lane store. I even went for a wander last week thinking that I would pop in and buy it, only to find they were closed. But it was meant to be as it’s now the Tatty Devine sale so they’re now half price. The only thing is I can’t decide between the wooden leaves or the plain black. What do you think?
I am completely, utterly besotted with this Starlette Crown by Giant Dwarf on Etsy. I can’t remember where I first saw it but I spied it again featured over on Design*Sponge and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I could wear it to work right?
I want. Only £18 from Topshop. I know, it’s not really bank account busting but I’m trying my hardest to save for our coming trip to San Francisco.
But it could be worn in a number of ways with many outfits I already own. And I do love a collar.
I really want a new winter coat. Or a cape. But I can’t decide which. Please help.
I’m in love with this boiled wool leopard number from Zara, which I could make or buy a Peter Pan collar for. It looks very sleek and flattering unlike the big fluffy teddy bear-esque fake fur coats that are so popular at this time of year.
I’m equally enamoured with the idea of wearing a lovely black cape. I just haven’t found the right style yet. This asos one comes pretty close. I tried my hardest to get a vintage black cape on eBay last Winter but never managed to find the right one that was in my price range. When I did buy a plaid one from eBay two winters ago it was ‘lost’ in the post so I gave up on that idea all together.
Is it too military? Should I be trying to find one more Victorian or nurse style? Will it make me look the size of house? Does it only work with jeans or is it okay with a frock underneath? What will I do with my handbag and endless other bags that I seem to be lugging around constantly?
Please let me know what you think so I can decide! Cape or coat?