Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Marni for H&M (very, very, very excited!!!)

Consuela Castiglioni with H&M's
Margareta van den Bosch
via Vogue.co.uk

I am writing this post in never-before speed! I'm so excited! I just found out that Marni, the Italian firm founded by Consuelo Castiglioni has collaborated with our forever loved H&M for a Spring/Summer 2012 collection! The collection will hit the stores (260 worldwide) as well as the online website for H&M on the 8th of March.

It is expected that Marni's signature pattern - polka dots - will be a huge hit (OBVIOUSLY!). Moreover, the collection will include both a women's and men's lines as well as accessories (think big, bold and chunky). Inside information reveals that the women's line will include (among others) full pleated skirts, dresses, cropped trousers and jacquard knits, using fabrics ranging from silk to cotton.

  Just to get you a bit excited as well:

Are you fans of Marni as well? What do you think? :)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Christmas is coming to a department store near you!

One of the best things when doing my Christmas shopping is the Christmas windows of the shops - the VERY extravagant windows that is, which never fail to lift my spirits and make me feel all Christmassy. I was in London a couple of weeks ago and I was amazed by the stunning windows of the larger department stores which of course have impressive Christmas decorations every year, but this time they blew my mind. Unfortunately I haven't managed to take proper photographs due to the large number of people passing by and not  letting me take a proper photograph! Yet, I was glad to find them online. Enjoy the eye candy :)

Harvey Nichols' frosty winter wonderland:

Harrods who joined forces with Swarovski for a concept resembling The Chronicles of Narnia:

Selfridges' windows which are based on a Christmas Carols concept and actually play music (!):

all images were taken via marieclaire.co.uk

Feeling Christmassy already? :)

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Healthy Carrot and Coriander Soup

This nutritious recipe is ideal for those cold, rainy nights when you want something easy and simple, with few basic ingredients, so you can curl up with a good book without having to worry about dinner. My version serves one for a main course but you can obviously adapt it to serve more. Enjoy :)

-1 tsp of olive oil
-2 large carrots, roughly chopped
-a small bunch of coriander,
-a small onion, roughly chopped
-a stalk of celery, roughly chopped (optional)
-salt, pepper
-cream/yoghurt/blue cheese to serve (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a pan with a lid and throw in the carrots and the onion. Stir until onions are transclucent and carrots are somewhat softened. Add the celery if you are using.
2. Chop the coriander stalks (keeping the leaves) and throw them in the pan with the carrots and the onions. Season well.
3. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Cover with the lid and let simmer until carrots are fairly soft.
4. With a hand blender - if you don't have one just use a food processor - blend the soup as smooth or as chunky as you like.
5. Chop the coriander leaves and stir them in the soup.
6. Serve with a dollop of cream to make it more creamy, with yoghurt for a nice contrast between the warm soup and the cold yoghurt, or with some crumbled blue cheese for an extra kick.

I served mine with a bit of crumbled Stilton:

If you try this at home, do let me know how it turns out :)

Friday, 25 November 2011

Fur me up!

Winter is fast approaching (so is Christmas hooray!), and I simply had to do a post on my favourite fur coats out there! Feel free to add any of your own :)

Karl Donoghue


Michael Kors

River Island
Miss Sixty

Black Friday - yes! it's here!

The UK has borrowed from the US all kinds of traditions throughout history (see Halloween), and this time, it has given us one more reason to love the US - Black Friday (no nothing scary about it - apart from the crowds involved) hits the UK!

To any readers not familiar with the concept of the Black Friday, it is the day after Thanksgiving, when shops have HUGE discounts to kick-start Christmas shopping - I don't think I need to expand on the length of the queues outside...

Nevertheless, many retailers will be have discounts, with electronics giants Amazon, Dell and Apple (I know a particular reader will be happy to read this) among them. Widely loved Selfridges will offer a 20% discount with discount vouchers in-store until Sunday, while online retailers such as River Island will be offering free delivery throughout the weekend.

 Happy Christmas shopping ladies :)

Monday, 21 November 2011

BLT reinvented - by M

After a week away in London, I make my come back with my own version of BLT sandwich. I know people don't usually consider sandwiches to be real food, but I disagree; they are an art in their own right (of course I don't mean those disgusting things people serve at times with month-old baps and tasteless cheese). BLT is one of my favourites, and after quite a bit of experimenting, I give you the fruits of my labour:

M's ultimate BLT:

-2 slices of bread or 1 baguette/panini
-1 teaspoon of mayonnaise (home-made is always better, but store-bought will do as well)
-1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (I use without grains, but feel free to use whichever you like)
-1 clove of garlic, minced or grated (crushing or grating garlic tends to give more flavour than just chopping it)
-2 rashers of bacon or pancetta
-a bit of iceberg lettuce (I prefer iceberg for the crunch, but really you can use any lettuce you like)
-1 small tomato, sliced
-1 few slices of pickled jalapenos (optional)

1. Get a pan on the stove and leave for about a minute to get hot (no oil, no butter, no anything in)
2. Warm up your grill and put the bread in to toast for a few minutes.
3. Trim a bit of the fat from the bacon or the pancetta if there's too much, but do leave a bit so you can fry it afterwards in its own fat.
3. When the pan is hot, dry fry the bacon/pancetta. If you are not using a baguette or a panini you may want to cut the rashers in half first so they don't stick out when you assemble the sandwich at the end.
4. Keep frying the bacon/pancetta until it reaches the desired level of crispiness, and leave to drain on kitchen paper.
5. Without throwing away the bacon fat in the pan, fry the garlic without burning it (it will take just a few seconds). As soon as it gives off its aroma, get the garlic out of the pan because it will keep frying even if the pan is off the stove.
6. Mix the mustard with the mayonnaise and spread across the bread. Sprinkle with the garlic (it won't have such a strong taste since it's fried), top with the bacon/pancetta, then the lettuce and then the tomato slices. If you're using, top with a few jalapenos as well.
7. Serve as soon as possible. Bon appetit!

Unfortunately I didn't manage to photograph it, but do let me know of your thoughts if you try it at home. :)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Adele - Someone like you

A video I found of Adele (one of my favourite artists at the moment) performing 'Someone Like You' in her home, and talking about how she felt when she wrote it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (I have been listening to it just for the last two hours)! :)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Why be happy when you could be normal? - Jeannette Winterson

This is not a review for the book, as I haven't read it yet, but I simply HAD to share, because I'm so excited! I was intrigued by Winterson's Powerbook, and her last book seems even more promising. The Times published a review last week (it goes without saying it was a glowing one!), and the Sunday Times have posted a short video of Ms Winterson talking about the book and her life (the book is more or less her memoirs), which unfortunately cannot post here since it is members-only, and I can't find it on Youtube.

Rich in autobiographical details, the book is about Winterson, being young and feeling unloved, living with her  very conservative, violent, and depressed mother (in the video she describes how she expected to be murdered by her mother who kept a revolver and bullets in her dust drawer) who prayed to God to let her (adopted) daughter die and locked her out of the house for the night. Of course, you will not be surprised to know that she also threw her out of the house when, at 16, Winterson fell in love with another girl.

With brave and honest descriptions of her difficult upbringing, particularly concerning her sexuality, Winterson still manages to keep a humorous tone, making it a must-read tragic-comic tale.


Christian Louboutin - 20 Ans

Christian Louboutin needs no introduction: a designer extraordinaire, worshiped by millions of women around the globe, just over a week after his widely-quoted argument that his shoes can make their female wearer climax, publishes his first book: artistic, intricate, unique. Just like his designs. The famous red-soled stars of the book (including the fruits of his collaboration with David Lynch - simply put 'fetishism on feet') are photographed by Philippe Garcia and film-maker David Lynch with the contributions of  Diane Von Furstenberg and Dita Von Teese among others, which unquestionably bring out the shoes' most stylish, sexy, and glamorous side.

The book is in six chapters. The first chapter is dedicated to Louboutin's life and his rise to today's icon: his first steps as a designer for Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent to the opening of his very first boutique in 1992, also revealing unseen-before photographs from his personal archives.

'Fetish' by Louboutin
and Lynch - picture
taken from glamour.com
Chapter two showcases his more luxurious and extravagant boutiques and displays from around the world, while chapter three, entitled '20 years of design', features his designs throughout the years through dramatic and theatrical still-life photography.

Chapter four allows the reader a sneak-peak into Louboutin's private homes in Paris, and Luxor in Egypt as well as his workshops and studios. Moreover, chapter five is dedicated to his collaboration with David Lynch; a limited-edition line of jaw-dropping shoes, accompanied with limited-edition photographs by Lynch, named -no surprises here- 'Fetish'. Last but not least, the book concludes with a bang, as chapter six is a 'catalogue raisonne' of Louboutin's 120 shoe designs.

Written by Christian Louboutin, foreword by John Malkovich, contribution by Eric Reinhardt and photographed by Philippe Garcia and David Lynch, this is a guaranteed success.

A behind-the-scenes video when making the extraordinary photography used in the book:

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Foundation Post

One of the most fundamental make up tools, foundation is the base of your make up, the canvas to your masterpiece if you will. Through the years I've tried on different foundations both liquid and powder ones. Liquid blends better and gives a more natural result (particularly if you blend it with your fingers rather than a brush or a sponge), while powder ones are perfect for those with oily skin and/or acne, as it is more matte (particularly if you get the matte version obviously) and allows the skin to breathe (which evidently translates to fewer new pimples).

First one up is MAC's Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation which you can get for £19.50 from MAC. 

Pros: It blends well, I liked the fact that it is both face powder and foundation so I don't have to load up my face with tons of unnecessary products and it comes with its own powder puff and compact mirror. Given that it contains Silica and talc, it manages to give a matte finish, and my skin wouldn't start to shine unnaturally after a while.

Cons: At times I found that I looked a bit too powdery -almost cakey- and I would only recommend it for medium coverage given that you use consealer as well.

Overall, not bad but a bit of a let down concerning the quality of other MAC products. 7/10

Next,  is the foundation I got from Mastic Spa. Mastic Spa is a range of natural cosmetics which have as their basic ingredient the elixir of Mastic, found only in the southern region of the Greek island of Chios. I think I got it for something like 20-25 Euros but they often had sales on anyway. Unfortunately I have no idea where you can get them these days: I haven't seen them at all in the UK, and in Nicosia their only shop closed down last year. Nevertheless, their foundation was probably one of the best I've used. 

Pros: Blends very well, gives a natural glow to the skin and is relatively lightweight for a liquid foundation. Out of the three, it gives the most natural finish. Moreover, it is more budget-friendly than the others, and having natural ingredients is always a plus. I think I must have bought it three times; until the shop closed down.

Cons: As with most liquid foundations, it is not recommended for oily skins. However, for those with acne, this foundation is one of the most skin-friendly and won't irritate the skin due to its natural ingredients. Nevertheless, as I've already mentioned, they are nowhere to be found in the market.

Overall, 9/10 because I've never used a foundation with such a good finish (natural but still glowing).

Last but not least, my current foundation: bareMinerals SPF15 Matte Foundation, which you can get for £25 from Selfridges or House of Fraser or online of course (although I would recommend that you go to the store and try it on first before buying).

Pros: Like the MAC one, it is in a powder form which is ideal for those of us who don't want to use too many products, since I don't need to use another face powder over it.What is more, if I have a pimple which is not too obvious, instead of using consealer, I just get a flat foundation brush and press slightly over the pimple, making the powder work as a consealer as well - so one less product used on your skin! Moreover, it gives a natural finish and doesn't block your pores. Plus, it has an SPF which makes it great for day use as well.

Cons: It is a loose powder rather than compact one like MAC's, so if you're not careful it can get quite messy. Moreover, to apply it you'll need a kabuki brush (also sold by bareMinerals, but I got mine from MAC), because sponges obviously don't work with powder foundations and a powder puff just won't do with a loose powder such as this one.

Overall, a reliable foundation, ideal for those with sensitive skin or those who don't like the feeling of heavy make up. 8/10


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