Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Not Here To Put Boots On Caterpillars

To celebrate Australia day, here's a groovy lamingtons recipe!

Ingredients: 125g butter / 1 cup caster sugar / 1/2 tsp vanilla extract / 3 eggs / 1 3/4 cups of self raising flour / 1/2 cup of milk / 2 cups of desiccated coconut

Icing: 3 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture / 1/4 cup cocoa powder / 1 tbs butter / 1/2 cup boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a pan with baking paper. Using an electrical mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition to avoid curdling.

2. Sift half of the flour over the butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add half the milk. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Bake for 30 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside overnight.

3. To make the icing: sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Add butter and boiling water. Stir until smooth.

4. Cut the cake into fifteen pieces and place the coconut in a dish. Using a fork, dip one piece of cake in the icing and shake off the excess. Toss in the coconut. Place on a wire rack over a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining cake, icing and coconut. Stand for two hours to set then


Monday, 18 January 2016

Have You Ever Eaten Pheasant?

Now I don't know about you, but the last thing I needed this morning as I was getting dressed for work was Phil & Holly reminding me that today is officially Blue Monday - aka the most depressing day of the year. If you're having a rough day here are some ace stand up shows to get you cackling again!

Feel free to comment your favourite stand up DVD below! Always keen to add to the list...

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Blooming Bakery #6 Raw Choconut Snowballs

These delicious treats are an adaptation of a recipe from Madeleine Shaw's marvellous cookbook Get the Glow. I've substituted the cherries for coconut and rolled them into snowballs ~ feel free to mix and match the ingredients to suit your taste buds. Not only are these bursting with flavour, they're also jam packed with calcium / iron / vitamin c / magnesium thanks to the superfood cacao.
 6 ingredients. 15 min prep. Serves 6.
Ingredients: 100g almond butter, 100g coconut oil, 50g raw cacao powder, 100g honey, 1tsp vanilla extract, 50g desiccated coconut & a pinch of sea salt.
Recipe: Chuck all ingredients in the food processor - beginning with the coconut oil and almond butter. Mould into balls and place on a coconut-oil greased tin. Pop in the freezer for 30mins. Surreptitiously eat one, *cough* just to check they're not poisonous, then transfer into the fridge. Eat to your heart's content.
If you fancy learning more about Maddy and her divine concoctions, here's a post I wrote after attending her event at Whole Foods last May.

Empties #4

After ten years in the big smoke, my dad recently uprooted to a charming town in the North West. Whilst tackling the mountain of boxes, I've discovered some doozies: pizza trays from the 80's when my grandparents owned a bar in Corfu called Cosmopolitan, psychedelic hand casts from Camden of my brother and I circa 2003, protest placards... it's fascinating rummaging through the abyss of knickknacks!

In a bid to be minimalistic, we've been consciously using up products before the big move to avoid waste. The Bruce Bogtrotter in me has had a ball crawling into the cupboards and getting lost in hundreds of teacups.
First up is a stupendous amount of honey - honestly, my love for honey could rival Winnie the Pooh's! Although tubs of Manuka tend to be quite pricey, they're brimming with more health benefits than I can count on my fingers and a pot can last for months. Take advantage of Holland & Barrett's penny sale whilst you still can - your immune system will thank you.

My dad's friend is a beekeeper and always extremely generous when he visits. During our last few weeks in Crystal Palace, we were practically eating honey morning, noon and night. It's such a versatile kitchen staple: swirl a teaspoon into your brews, use it as an amazing natural face mask mixed with a dot of spirulina, the list is endless!

 Cherry / Apricot Jam - Corfu - 2011

My grandmother is also always sending us home with suitcases full of jam - her infamous marmalade and cherry have to be my favourite.. I'd walk to Greece for it! Speaking of Greek produce, I can't rave about this Kallisto Kalamata balsamic vinegar with honey enough - it makes salad bearable for anyone.

Does your family have a cupboard just for tea, or is it just mine? One of my favourites lately has been Teapig's liquorice and peppermint. If - like me - you loathe liquorice, don't be put off as the taste is disguised. The tea has a peculiar after taste, which you'll understand if you've tried it - it's tricky to describe. Whenever I'm craving something sweet, I pop the kettle on and et voilà: craving curbed.

That's not to say I don't indulge, exhibit A...

Tesco currently has an offer: two Jus-Rol products for three squidaroonies! Their cinnamon swirls and pain au chocolat are scrumptious revision snacks and ludicrously easy to whip up.
When I was killing time before Estée Lalonde's meetup, I nipped into planet organic. I bought these Ombar buttons, which are a vegan version of Cadbury's dairy milk buttons. As their main ingredients are raw cacao and coconut cream, they're an acquired taste. I remember grimacing when I ate the first button, but now I can't get enough of them! 

Onto the wonder that is soporific tea's: I've been a lover of Dr.Stuart's tranquillity tea for many moons and have always been fascinated by the ethnobotanist's soothing blends. I've also worked my way through this Yogi tea enriched with chamomile, rosehip and fennel. The mystical fortunes attached to each teabag and yoga pose instructions on the packaging are kawaii.

I go through almonds like there's no tomorrow and like to buy in bulk to cut corners. Pro tip: hit up your local Middle Eastern / Cypriot deli as they tend to sell them loose and supermarkets sell large quantities around Ramadan, which is an ace time to stock up. I know, I'm a right nutter!

 Speaking of fruitcake habits, this killer answer to the Metro's 'what's the weirdest thing you've seen on the tube?' made me chortle and got me thinking of my own answer. Hastily making DIY business cards on my way to a networking event - complete with thumb printed daisies / acrylic paint - is definitely up there.

What's  your wackiest "did anyone else see that?!" moment?

Friday, 15 January 2016

Film Focus #2 Even Artichokes Have Hearts

Happy Friday Crazy Cats,
It's been a minute since my last film focus but after re-watching this magnificent film, I just had to share it with you. Do give it a whirl if you're into the weird and wonderful.
The first time I ever watched Amélie was back in 2011 whilst I was visiting my grandmother on the island of Corfu. She lives just outside a quaint fishing village, on top of a secluded hill with - to my horror - no internet connection.

Can you imagine? Teenage me had to actually, now brace yourselves, spend my evenings interacting with my family, reading ancient dust covered books and watching black and white films; how dreadful. Of course, I'm being sarcastic. I treasure those dog days wrapped up in a different time zone, a different era, a different world.
One evening after watching BBC's 1999 adaptation of David Copperfield for the 50th time, my dear friend Louise lent me her copy of Amélie and my eyes were opened. This whimsical Parisian art house film ignited something within that, five years later, is still alight.
The flawless actors - seriously, whoever cast the enigmatic Audrey Tautou as Amélie is nothing short of a genius - tied together with Jean-Pierre Jeunet's idiosyncratic style and Yann Tiersen's timeless soundtrack created an electric alchemy of cinema. There's something so charming about the films sentiment and reminds me to look at life through the wrong end of a telescope.
When my dad and I spent New Year's in Paris back in 2012, we actually stayed in Montmartre due to my adoration for this quirky film. We also popped into the infamous Café des 2 Moulins where I opted for the crème brûlée, of course...
For anyone curious, here are my Paris Travel Diaries:
As hideously cliché as it is, I must say the soundtrack is in a league of its own and can even whisk me away to Paris when I'm curled up in Penge. I love to listen to it as I'm dashing around London or on long train journeys - one minute it adds a spring in my step and the next, it's hauntingly nostalgic. Putting the album on shuffle is emotional Russian roulette - and let me tell you, it's enrapturing.
Can we just take a moment to pour over this tender scene? *spoiler alert*
I read a groovy article on Buzzfeed recently, where folks shared their most uplifting movies and this eccentric film was a contender. "Amélie really helps me through anything. ANYTHING. If you're upset it helps perk you up, if you feel like a weirdo it makes it not feel like a bad thing, if you had a bad break-up there's that weird recorder guy that you can be glad isn't your ex. It's just good for all ills."Lee Jenkinson hit the nail on the head.
 Let your freak flag fly!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Hot Tramp, I Love You So!

I was hoping I'd wake up this morning and discover that yesterday was a horrible nightmare. Unfortunately the news is true, the Starman has returned home.

& To think that only a few days ago, I was listening to his eagerly awaited 26th (!) studio album Blackstar in awe. As my cosmic friend Vickie eloquently put it: "It is a very sad day on Earth, but a fucking cool one on Mars". Words don't do justice for how profound his time here was and how much more he was than a musician.

I'm still up north at the minute, but if I'd have been in the big smoke I would've been a the Brixton street party in a heartbeat. There were makeshift speakers blaring his greatest hits, the thin white duke projected onto buildings and a bunch of devoted fans with Ziggy's infamous lightening bolt adorned on their faces. The Brixton born icon would be proud.

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Besides his PHENOMENAL music - which I can't seem to listen to without tearing up - , I'm reminded of his ICONIC fashion and ace sense of humour...

His wicked cameos in Extras, Zoolander and Spongebob also showed his more playful side; and don't even get me started on Labyrinth ~ he truly was the cat's pyjamas! Speaking of cats, when I have my own place, I'm gonna get a tabby and call her Sally...

Here are some touching tributes from artists to mark their respects...

In honour of the man who fell to Earth, this weekend I'm going to put on my red shoes and dance the blues.

I've also bought tickers to Sound Control to Major Tom tribute event on the 7th February to celebrate his life. If you're in the neighbourhood, swing by and dance magic dance - all proceeds go to Cancer Research. They'll be local Mancunian bands singing covers, face painters - naturally, a screening of Labyrinth and Bowie themed cocktails ~ I'm pining for Jager Tom, Vodka Redbull Redbull, Gin Genie, PornStarmantini... Can you think of any others?

Thanks for all the stardust and the soundtrack to our lives, David.
Rest in Space.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Bibbidi-Bobbidi Bits & Bobs #13

'Ello Poppets,

Although Christmas has been and gone, I thought I'd share a bunch of charming stories I read about during the festive break. In the metro I heard about the chaps who threw a Christmas doo during their commute - complete with cracker hats - and about the sprig of mistletoe that someone tied to a carriage on the underground. Finally, how adorable is this innovative advent calendar from my dog Deefa's groomers?!

To ring in the new year, here are two arrow-to-the-core messages that always give me goose bumps...

The Laughing Heart - Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
 don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
 it may not be much light but
 it beats the darkness.
 be on the watch.
 the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
 take them.
you can’t beat death but
 you can beat death in life, sometimes.
 and the more often you learn to do it,
 the more light there will be.
 your life is your life.
 know it while you have it.
 you are marvellous
 the gods wait to delight
 in you.

& This wackydooda gem from Patti Smith...


I stumbled upon this Dazed article recently which shares Kevin Smith's low budget for his cult classic Clerks. The idea is to inspire upcoming filmmakers as the budget is fairly modest ~ I shared it on my uni's Creative Writing page as it's so encouraging.

In a similar vein, Nylon recently shared Gabrielle Demeestere's top 10 tips for making your first movie.

Speaking of filmmakers, as part of my Creative Writing degree I have to cultivate a piece of film and have free reign. Over the Christmas holidays, I've read countless scripts and been researching specific directors/writers to broaden my knowledge. 

At the moment I'm enamoured with Edgar Wright's inimitable work. You may not think you're familiar with his work - but you'd be surprised. Edgar has dabbled in cult classics such as Spaced and the infamous cornetto trilogy. Every Frame a Painting's analysis of his midas approach to directing is fascinating. I'm also digging his earlier work such as this groovy music video ~ it's pushing me to think of avant-garde ways of telling a story.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you may have read about Shia Labeouf's latest artistic venture #TOUCHMYSOUL. Say what you want about the fella, but you have to admire his eccentricity and the way his brain is wired...

Last January I wrote a blog post all about my New Year's resolutions which pushed me to conquer them as they made me accountable. This year (and every year) one of my targets is to explore new corners of the world. I'm hoping to visit some Greek friends after I graduate in April and do a lil island hopping, as well as some family friends in Scandinavia. I'd also love to go on a wee adventure around Vienna solo ~ this may or may not be so that no one has to witness in horror how many apple strudel's I can eat in one trip.


This top 10 cities to visit in 2016 guide has given me serious wanderlust - they say that travel is not reward for working, it's education for living.

Another resolution of mine is to read more and explore new genres/territory. The 2016 Book Riot Read Harder challenge list is ace for anyone stuck in a reading rut. Here's a glimpse...

After a marvellous festive break, I'll be back in the big smoke next week to begin the final term of my final year of university... eshk! To start with a bang, I think I'll swing by the Cutty Sark for a silent disco and boogie under the sea - well, sea level!

& Finally I thought I'd give a quick shout-out to my cosmic former boss Hala El-Shafie who is co-hosting a brand spanking new series on Channel 4, beginning tonight at 8pm, called 'How to lose weight well'. As you guys know by now, I have so much love and time for my Nutrition Rocks family!

I hope your week is full of adventure ~ roll the dice!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

January Sales Wishlist: Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters also have a wicked sale on at the mo & if you add the code 'SALE20' at the checkout, you'll receive a sneaky extra 20% off your total! Hello, overdraft! Goodbye, self restraint!

I love this edgy skirt and velvet wrap top ~ they'd be ace paired together, thanks to their clashing textures.

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I'm striving to be a wee more daring with my outfit choices this year ~ I think a pair of pinstripe paper bag trousers and a forest green velvet jumpsuit will help notch my game up a gear.

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One of the rare times it's useful to have itty bitty feet is when it comes to sales ~ size 4 FTW!

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Butterfly bra > weekly budget.

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Don't be shy at having a nosey through the men's section too ~ it's where I often pick up killer lumberjack shirts and Lenny Kravitz-esq tartan scarfs!

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A feather tiara is also in my basket so that.. um.. I'm prepared if  I'm ever invited to a Las Vegas themed dinner party. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

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If money was no object, this cosy olive biker jacket and trippy toadstool HoH jumper would be in my wardrobe right now!

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 I don't know about you, but when I think of Christmas the colours red and green spring to mind & Lord knows it ain't Christmas until you've dug out some glitter nail polish.

Bonus points for kick ass names like Cruella & Absinthe!

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What have you got your eye on?