Monday, February 8, 2016

Apple Butter Straight to Your Door

Preserving Place Apple Butter
Apple Butter is one of life's greatest pleasures... It's amazing on buttered toast or between two slices of bread as a simple sandwich. It's great on a scone or a biscuit... Apple sauce can be particularly lovely with pork as well! If you're up for making it, try my recipe for Bramley Apple Butter, but if not, it's a good thing you can buy it... Preserving Place Apple Butter is made with North Georgia apples and it can be easily ordered online... Enjoy!

Red Beans & Rice With Harrissa Polish Sausage


Red beans & rice is a New Orleans tradition that's believed by some to have been around for hundreds of years. Every family has their own recipe and preferences for how to serve this iconic dish whether it be meat-free, with ham hocks, sausages or pork chops. I'll be the first to raise my hand and admit that I've never been to New Orleans, but this is my version of the classic Mardi Gras staple which uses Polish sausage because that's what's available locally to me (and most people I imagine). I've also added harissa, which is my new favorite thing to cook with and adds a delicious punch to this dish. 


This is a great dish to cook during the week. I've only specified enough rice for the amount of people you're feeding because that's all you need. If you have leftovers, it's best to serve them warmed up with fresh rice or put them in a freezer to have a meal on-hand later down the line…



Ingredients
2 tablespoons harissa
3 tablespoon regular olive oil
400g cooked, smoked polish sausage, sliced into coins
1 small onion
2 sticks of celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 can chopped tomatoes in their juices (400g)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (tomato puree)
200ml chicken stock
1 can red kidney beans (400g), rinsed and drained
Cooked white rice for serving (about 100g per person)


Method
1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons of harissa with 1 tablespoon of olive, whisking to combine. Add the polish sausage slices and stir to coat the sausage in the mixture. Set aside.

2. Roughly chop the celery and onion into large chunks and add to the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until the mixture is a finely minced mush.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat and cook the onion & celery mixture until it softens. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding in the sausage. Stir and cook for a few more minutes.

4. Add the dried oregano, thyme, cumin and hot smoked paprika and stir to combine. Let it sizzle away for another minute or two.

5. Add the red wine vinegar, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock and simmer for about 5 minutes.

6. Finally, add the beans, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Serve hot over a bed of white rice.







Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pretty Spicy

Spice Society Organic Smoked Paprika
A fair few years ago, books started popping up in shops, many of them old classics, with new & improved, beautiful covers. I have often thought that that kind of makeover should be applied to so many things, spices being one of them. Why not make the packaging for a product more beautiful? Well, Spice Society clearly heard my call and they've delivered... Pretty packaging gets me every time!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

No More Tangled Hot Mess

Mark and Graham Vivid Leather Earbud Case
Because carrying earbuds around doesn't have to be a tangled hot mess... Whether for travel or sticking in a handbag, these little cases are too precious. Fashion meets function... Nice!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hearts Galore

Kate Spade Secret Admirer - City Hearts Hallie Canvas Tote
I'd be lying if I said I don't super heart this tote bag cause I definitely do! How perfect is this bag for Valentine's Day? 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Proto-col Natural Mineral Cosmetics LED Lip Gloss in Very Cherry

Natural Mineral Cosmetics LED Lip Gloss in Very Cherry c/o Proto-col
There are so many amazing lip glosses on the market these days that I think most of us will agree that we're spoiled for choice. If I let myself, I could have a serious hoarding problem when it comes to lip colors - I like to switch up my look regularly and there are just so many good options available! That said, occasionally a game changer comes along that brings something new to the table and that is the case with the Proto-col LED Lip Gloss

Wearing Proto-col LED Lip Gloss in Very Cherry

Very Cherry is right up my alley when it comes to lip colors. While I love to gloss over a lipstick from time to time, I'm also a major fan of a lip gloss that packs a punch of color on its own. It's just easier and in winter when lips dry out and get chapped, it's easier to wear as well. Proto-col LED Lip Gloss is easy to apply, can be applied lightly or more heavily for a deep color and lasts for ages. Very Cherry started out as a deep, but subtle reddish pink and even after wearing for several hours and eating lunch, I still had a faint blushy color on my pout. For a busy gal that can't reapply every five minutes, this is a necessary luxury.

Enriched with natural mineral oils to keep your kisser soft & moisturized, these glosses feel super lightweight while containing pearl dust for the ultimate glamorous shine. The applicator is perfect, featuring a brush that's just stiff enough to make coloring in the lines quite simple without needing to apply lipliner.

Mirror & LED Light Technology

The real bonus however is the packaging... With a mirror on the side and LED light technology in the lid, Proto-col LED Lip Gloss can literally be applied easily just about anywhere, even in the dark. How cool is that? This is something I never knew I needed until I had it... Isn't that always the way? I have applied this lip gloss with ease inside, outside, on the bus, in the dark... Pretty much everywhere and it's small enough to fit in any clutch, so it's perfect for evenings.

Proto-col Natural Mineral Cosmetics LED Lip Gloss is a bargain at just £11.95 and is available in 9 shades including clear, so there's a color to suit everyone. For more information or to stock up on your own handy dandy LED gloss, visit www.proto-col.com

Wes Anderson Vibes

Tucker Blair Grand Wagoneer Needlepoint Keychain
For some reason, when I see a Wagoneer, it conjures up images of a perfectly executed scene from a Wes Anderson film... There are worse images that could come to mind. If you can't have the Wagoneer, you can have one on a keychain... Job done!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pink Julep Style - Pockets & Polka Dots

False Wrap Fit 'n Flare Dress (c/o Hotsquash) / Vintage Scarf (similar here)
Calvin Klein Tights / Maui Jim Maille Sunglasses / Jigsaw Cara Ankle Boots in Black Suede
It may be winter, but I'm already starting to think about Spring enough that I don't really want to wear bulky knits all the time. Of course I love a cozy sweater, but sometimes it's nice to feel feminine in a dress without freezing to death or looking like I'm dressed for a blizzard. Hotsquash to the rescue with their Warm Collection featuring all sorts of pieces, including dresses, that are warm without the bulk. I'm a big fan of Hotsquash dresses... They're cute, easy to care for and there's a style to suit most body types. 


Using a special hidden technology, Hotsquash Warm Collection pieces promise to keep you warm while regulating your temperature, feature anti-odour technology so there's no embarrassing stinky problem and they dry quickly, so laundering and travel are a breeze!


I feel like I can never have too many little black dresses because they're just too easy and work well with my everyday life, so I decided to try the False Wrap Fit 'N Flare Dress and it's already becoming a valuable addition to my wardrobe. I love the full skirt and the lack of bulk makes layering easy. I can wear this dress on its own, over a tank, under a cardigan... There are so many options. There's also a belt that ties around the back, but I've been having some fun experimenting there too with a double wrap to tie it in front for a more 70's wrap dress look or simply turning it around and tying the bow in the front-side closer to the hip. My favorite thing about this dress is quite possibly that it has pockets and they're deep. I can throw keys, an ID, my travel card and a lipstick in these pockets and because of the fullness of the skirt, they don't even show, making this pretty much the best dress ever for busy girls on the go. I also love that I have wadded this up, folded it and squished it into my wardrobe, but there's not a wrinkle in sight. This dress was made for being thrown into a suitcase for a holiday or weekend getaway and it's so easy to wear. 


The Hotsquash False Wrap Fit 'N Flare Dress is a steal at just £85 and well worth the investment. It's machine washable and dries so quickly that it requires neither tumble drying or ironing. To shop this piece and others in the Warm Collection or for more information, visit www.hotsquash.com.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Hobbs Easter Socks

The Easter bunny is coming soon... I kind of hope he brings me these adorable Hobbs Easter Socks

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Suds Up!

Unperfumed Organic Oatmeal / English Lavender & Oatmeal / English Peppermint & Poppyseed
all c/o Little Soap Company

For the past few years, it's become quite important to me to pay attention what's in my shower. It seems so many people are concerned about what they put inside their bodies, but not at all worried about what they put on them. I'm not going to claim that I have all expensive, organic products in my home all the time... That would be a bit much to keep up with, but where I can, I like to invest in products with reduced or no chemicals or organic, all-natural products. Whether it be the soap on my countertops or the washing liquids I use for dishes and laundry, I'm making the effort to buy cleaner, greener products. I've even started making my own household cleaners, mostly because I don't have to worry at all if someone accidentally sprays them near food because they are non-toxic and many times made from edible ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice.


I've recently fallen in love with so many products from The Little Soap Company, a brand that claims it wants "to do for the cosmetics industry what Jamie Oliver has done for food." Founder Emma Heathcote-James has created what she believes is the purest, organic soap possible yet the prices won't break the bank. While the Little Soap Company enjoyed humble farmers market beginnings, you can now find the products in stores like Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Boots. Coming straight from the Cotswolds to your shower, these soaps are absolutely lovely. They smell incredible, lather up nicely and get you squeaky clean without drying out your skin. Perfect for traveling since they don't take up any of the precious carry-on liquids allowance, these gorgeous bars are now a staple in my shower and range in price from £3.99 for the everyday range to £5.50 for the artisan handmade range. Both ranges are lovely and well worth treating yourself to... As I always say, you can't hope to have a good day if it starts out with a bad shower!

For more information on Little Soap Company or to shop for your own lovely soaps, visit www.littlesoapcompany.co.uk