Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hey Michi

After discovering Michi Girl's illustrations in one of her books lately I feel the need to share.
I'm particularly loving the bag lady illustration above which is inspiring me to rummage through my bag stash & hit the sketchbook with some glue & a pot on ink.

Michi: an Australian illustrator blogs on 'The Design Files' & has written 2 books; 'what on earth are you wearing' & 'like I give a frock' . (The former is also in the Urban Outfitters sale at the mo for a very reasonable tenner: hence my discovery of her work on spree there recently)

Check out her website to subscribe & see more

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Luella's Guide to English Style

I love this book, an amusing read on quintessentially English style, written by Luella Bartley. It made me laugh out loud and nod in agreement.

On the theme of Romance Luella comments...
' We Miss Englands are complex creatures, our inner traits just as inconsistent as the clothes we choose'.
When listing 'good signs in a man' she includes 'foppish hair, odd socks, knowledgeable on pop trivia, knows his country code, can put up a tent & good at Dad stuff'.' Included in what men like about British girls are 'she is quick witted, frank & disarmingly rude, and gives as good as she gets' as well as 'she has a wicked laugh' & 'can cook 3 recipes brilliantly'. It's not all romance talk though, there are enlightening explorations of quintessentially English garments from the tea dress, the tour T shirt, the duffel coat to status symbols of style (trial by dress), a shopping directory and much more knowledge & humour besides.   And the real bonus I discovered is that Luella's guide to English Style is only a bargainous £14 (was £20) in the Urban Outfitters Sale right now.
And yes, it will make your life better if you buy it, borrow it, or read it any which way you can. Even if only for a small 20 minute tea break slot of reading time I reckon you will be a little bit cheerier & enlightened.
(for some reason my photo won't post today so will update you with a piccy of Luell'as Guide at a later date...)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Pimm's O'Clock Cupcakes

Like most Great British girls I need little excuse to jump on the Pimm's O'clock bandwagon on a sunny day, especially if that bandwagon comes along with a sidecar serving of cupcakes...too much? Not in my world. These Pimm's O'clock cupcakes are super easy to make & a lovely accompaniment to a jug of Pimm's or pot of tea, whichever floats your boat.

To make, just follow your favourite cupcake recipe & pour in a hefty splash of Pimm's into the mix before dolloping into cake cases. Add a splash to buttercream icing to top it all off (too much & the icing will go grainy so steady hands needed here) then dress with a strawberry slice & a sprinkling of edible pink sparkle. They would also be lovely with a cucumber slice or mint leaf topping if you are going to eat them immediately. Makes about 12 cakes depending on case size. Don't overfill cases if you want to pipe your icing on top.

Just in case you need a cupcake recipe I use my Mum's cake mix; (old school measurements of course)
6 oz sugar
6 oz butter (room temp)
6 oz self raising flour
3 eggs
Cream the butter & sugar in a large bowl, add flour & eggs, beat together. At this point add a glug of Pimm's for this recipe, add to cases and pop in the oven at 180 degrees for about 15-20 mins.
Buttercream icing: 
A large dollop of room temp butter beaten together with sifted icing sugar to form a nice smooth icing, add Pimm's and beat further. Pipe onto of cool cakes or smother over cakes generously if piping's not your bag (sorry!). I never measure properly for icing so can't give accurate measurements. Anyway, I recommend making far too much so you can lick the rest out of the bowl afterwards. My good mate Mrs T assures me you can freeze butter icing if you make too much but as I've never had any left over, for reasons previously stated, I haven't tried this myself. If you run out of butter you can make a quick glace icing with icing sugar, water and a splash of Pimm's that will work just as well.  

Monday, 27 June 2011

Flights of fancy

My wandering eyes came across this lovely birdhouse print on a range of stationary during a foraging trip to Paperchase the other day. I am particularly loving the small notebooks in the range which I'm sure soon will be nestling in my ever growing collection of notebooks and sketchbooks awaiting a little scribble or a random jotting.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Shake it... like a polaroid picture

Last night I rediscovered the timeless recipe for a perfect Saturday night cocktail: grab a handful of best mates, throw in some eclectic tunes & a karaoke bar. Stir in some delicious dining, drinks, chatter & then shake to mix it up. Top the mix with some extravagant accessories (wigs, top hats, high heels, sunglasses all came out of the dressing up bag)  & remove all inhibitions. Consume with glee.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Pure pleasure seeker

Brighton: the perfect place to discover pleasures old & new. I often return here at Bank Holidays with friends to indulge in wandering around The Lanes window shopping, stopping for coffee & cake and paying our ritual visit to the carousel on the beach to remind ourselves of the joy nostalgic pleasures. Let me share with you some of the pleasurable highlights from my recent visit to the Pleasure trove that is Brighton...

This quirky little magic shop in Kemptown where I bought a magic wand (just because you can) has the best signage. It also sells mini sharpie pens in a range of colours to attache to your keyring. Now that's magic!

A stroll along the promenade is a must, come rain or shine. Indeed a drizzly day on a British beach gives you the perfect excuse to retreat to a cosy coffee shop for tea & cake. We were almost blown away by the wind on our recent visit so took the perfect excuse to shelter in The Mock Turtle and catch up with friends over pots of tea & vast amounts of cake. Highly recommend this little Brighton gem for atmosphere and a quintessential tea room vibe, although it's often packed to bursting so be prepared to share a table and make new friends, or chastise yourself for not ordering the cake that the girls did on the next table, cake envy can be highly dangerous in my book. You have been warned!   
A final photo-tribute must be paid to the waiter who put a heart in my wobbly coffee (Baileys latte in case you were wondering) at Hotel du Vin. Nothing like a hearted frothy latte to make you feel special after a long day of wandering & window shopping, even if he does do it for all the girls.