My late teens and early twenties were spent sipping on glasses of Malbec or Rioja (we’re just talking wine, as there was a lot of tequila and cocktails too!) thanks to my mum’s taste for red wine. There’s always be a bottle handed around at the dinner table, so that was my preference. I wasn’t really educated in wine on any level, so white had always tasted acidic or too sweet - Black Tower was a fave!
After meeting Steve, who has a pretentious palette for little else other than Chablis, Sancere or Lauren Perrier rosé (check my empty bank balance please!) I was a white wine convert. My step over into the food and hospitality industry from fashion, quickly broadened my taste and understanding of wines. Now I’m not a wine buff, and even my Wine Merchant only claims to know around 2% of what there is to know about wine, my senses quickly developed a like for a much larger range of vino’s…
Let's not kid ourselves, we're all guilty of hoarding clothes that either don't suit or fit us, and beauty products which are well beyond their best and will probably never touch your fingertips again. However that nagging "maybe" that's telling you quite the opposite is cluttering up not only our wardrobe and drawers, but minds too!
There's a lot to be said for the benefits of having a good old clear out, but why not adapt the same mentality we can apply to gutting our our wardrobes to our skincare and makeup drawer too.
Last year Lydia teamed up with Cult Beauty to curate a box that epitomises her skincare regime, leaving her skin glowing on a daily basis. Only in the past couple of years, probably since hitting my 30’s have I jumped on the glowy bandwagon. Up until recently, and pretty much thanks to social media, glowy skin had always been about highlighters and gloss, but as you start to see your skin slowly age and retract, you start to understand the benefits of a good glow-enhancing product with a little science behind it’s ingredients, and the benefits it can have on your skin.
Millen’s Cult Beauty Box features her all time favourite By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, which is available in three shades, Tata Harpers illuminating moisturiser, Alpha H’s liquid gold, Omorovicza’s foaming cleanser, Indie Lee’s Lotion CoQ-10 and Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil.
This is such a simple recipe for the most delicious mice pies, packed full of Christmas flavours. Whilst the pastry calls for plain flour, this can be swapped for gluten free plain flour to make them ceoliac-friendly.
Optional, but best served with mulled wine, slithers of freshly sliced orange and cinnamon sticks.
A good gingerbread man is well worth the time it takes to fiddle about with fancy icing and its Nordic vibes. I love everything and anything Christmas, and occasionally, just occasionally I get to play around with festive-type props early on in the year, depending on what jobs I'm working on. These gingerbread cookies were created for an editorial piece I was commissioned to create for the December issue of a magazine, but it wasn't the first, nor was it the last time I spent hours playing around with royal icing and these deliciously winter-spiced biscuits....
If you’re on the hunt for a super sexy, Italian inspired scent for summer, Tom Ford’s Private Blends will knock your nose off.
Whilst Neroli Portofino is heavy and perfect for a hot summers evening, Sole Di Positano is the ultimate day time spritz with citrus notes and perfectly paired with a glass of rosé, and for those travelling light and in pairs, Costa Azzurra is the most incredible light and refreshing unisex scent that changes its notes with skin tone.
This has to be one of my favourite dishes to whip up on a hot day. Anything with seafood reminds me of trips to the Balearic's as a child and trying fresh fish for the first time. I'm going to keep this post short and sweet as it's not a dish to mess around with.
I use one of two ways to rustle this dish up, pretty much depending on how much patience I have to cook, and also what we have in the kitchen. The most authentic way is to cook this obviously from scratch and I'll share my go-to recipe below, but the alternative is buy one of the packets of modules marinière that you pretty much empty into a sauce pan and heat up, or ping in the microwave for a few minutes, and then ladle of the top of a bowl of pasta.
Dinner where only the rich and famous go….
Water, water everywhere provides some of the best seafood in Europe. Indulge in a seven course tasting menu, paired with fine wines at Belmond Hotel Cipriani’s resident restaurant, Oro. Located at the tip of the Giudecca Island, the restaurant is just a short spectacular boat ride from St. Marks Square. With it’s calm atmosphere and sense of seclusion, the service is attentive and the food is some of the worlds best. The wine menu is somewhat overwhelming and replicates a catalogue, but with a sommelier on hand to help choose your wines, you’ll be sipping away on fine wines to match your food in no time. With a cocktail giving a nod to some of George Clooney’s favourites, make time before dinner to sit by their saltwater pool and sip on fizz with fresh fruit purees and a Moscow Mule that leaves you wanting more.
Women's Prize for Fiction celebrates outstanding fiction written by women from all over the world. To celebrate the shortlist, Bailey's has teamed up with the Biscuiteers who have recreated the book jackets of each of the six finalists novels in a sweet biscuit form, which look too good to eat.
It’s a known fact that if I don’t get my coffee first thing in the morning, I’m a grump. Steve’s not so fussed and will drink it if it’s made, but definitely won’t jump out of bed to make me one. For the past few years, my go to has to be an Italian Blend, strong but not too bitter. If needs must, I’m all over a cup of Nescafe’s Alta Rica, if instant coffee is the only thing in the cupboard - it’s our emergency back up.
Here's another recipe I created for the most incredible foodie brand, BigFish Brand. They source and fillet beautiful salmon and trout form Scotland and Norway which is then delivered fresh to Grimsby. The brand boasts a wide range of flavours and products which you store in the freezer, ready for dinner.
The beauty with these delicious fillets of fish, is the fact that you can throw them in the microwave and they're ready in under 4 minutes, or you can bake and combine into your favourite recipe. This super simple Thai curry boasts a traditional recipe that just swaps out the chicken for salmon or trout!
I have no shame in telling you how much I love Charlotte Tilbury. Every product I've tried, I've loved and I'm sure every product I haven't tried, I'll love!
My first introduction to the brand was through my friend Dan, who at the time was working at Net-A-Porter. It had just come into stock - I think we're going back to around 2013 and he'd sent home Charlotte's K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Penelope Pink and a matching lip gloss, and this was only the beginning for my love of this brand...
The quest to find a recipe for the perfect gluten free sponge is an ongoing challenge for anyone living a gluten free diet or life with celiac disease. Adding as much moisture to the sponge as you can, with out letting it fall to pieces is the key to a great bake, and whilst this coffee and walnut cake recipe calls for all of the traditional ingredients needed for gluten free sponge, the addition of rapeseed oil ensures it's beautiful moist whilst holding it's form under the lashings of buttercream.
After arriving in my late 20's a couple of years back, my drive towards certain scents has changed, and the same can be said for my attention to skincare. I've always been a sucker for roses, they're the closest flower I can get to a peony all year round, but adding a little rose into your beauty regime is the perfect treat for your skin and even your senses!
I'll put my hands up and admit that I still don't put any moisturiser anywhere other than my face and hair, (supped up hair masks and coconut oil counts right?) unless I'm travelling somewhere at either end of the temperature scale. My work days are 16-hours-a-day and 7 days a week, so it's all of the essentials which make their way onto my beauty shelf. This post features just a few of my favourite beauty buys of the moment, that will help transform your skin ready for spring.
I'm not sure why, but it's taken me until my 30's and spending the best part of 4 years with my partner who spends his life in the professional kitchen to discover the ease cooking soups at home. As much as I love to cook (when time allows) I've always been a soup from a carton kind of girl.
I'd always though that an abundance of ingredients and a messy kitchen with gadgets galore were called for, but apparently not! Whilst we're lucky enough to have an industrial blender at home, which is mostly used for morning smoothies, you can apply this recipe to any high street blender, handheld or stationary.
Whilst this isn't the entire contents of my beauty bag come travelling, these are my 5 go to beauty products which come with me everywhere and help to cure a multitude of sins.
If travelling with hand luggage, save up miniatures and samples from previous beauty buys, and to keep your weight allowance down, and more personally out of laziness, purchase necessities such as shampoo, conditioner and body spray from the airport drugstore.
This super simple festive recipe calls for no more than 3 main ingredients and a few essentials. This is my favourite kind of recipe as it requires very little skill or equipment, which can only mean less washing up! Whilst I'm never going to swap my Christmas Day turkey dinner for anything but, this delicious healthy festive dish, is perfect for a lazy mid-week supper.
Something that I did learn from my peers, was the importance of looking after your skin, body and insides no matter how old you are. Whilst I'm not a massive gym-goer, I'm an advocate of living a well balanced life, and hitting the big 3-0 in a few months, this is definitely a mentality I'll to be taking forward.
It literally takes no energy other than a little research to get your skincare game into check. I have a few boxes to be ticked when it comes to what goes on my face, and ultimately it's down to texture and finish. My skin falls into the normal - oily category and moving into this time of the year it's definitely more oily/ shiny than normal, but can still feel a little dry, especially after a night of heavy makeup and powerful makeup removers before going to bed.
This month Glossy Box offers its subscribers 5 full sized beauty products to play with. Minus the blusher, but that's only because I'm more of a bronze & highlight girl, this has to be my favourite monthly subscription box to date.
For anyone looking to subscribe to a beauty box, my advice it to do some research prior to tapping in those card details and clicking the confirm button. Whilst I rave monthly about this pink box, it might not be for you and there's plenty of other options out there. The best way to get to the bottom of which box is for you, is to search on instagram using #GlossyBoxUK (add other box name to #) or to search for the brand on Facebook and see what the box brands subscribers are saying each month!
We stayed in the St Georges quarter, a stone throw away and bedroom window view from the famous Moulin Rouge. Pose outside for a quick snap, but the main street full of sex shops can be avoided in a hop skip and a step towards the Sacré-Cœur. With streets full of quaint french buildings and cobbled streets, you’ll find boutiques for everything, including those all expected Parisian vintage shops. The streets are full of authentic restaurants, and of course that all essential Irish Bar! Whether you’re the healthy Brit abroad, juice shops are on most corners, or you're looking for a weekend escape with your head in several glasses of french wine, this quarter of paris has streets full of those essential non-tourist jaunts for watching the world go by whilst sipping on your favourite tipple.