Walk in the (Knole) park

Monday, 21 April 2014

Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots
(Hat: H&M, Top: Brandy Melville, Kimono: MINKPINK, Jeans: Whistles, Boots: C/O Swedish Hasbeens, Bracelet: Accessorize)

If there's one thing I often forget- it's how close I am to the beautiful Kent countryside. Living on the edge of London, it's easy to become consumed in the hustle and bustle of the city, when really the crisp fresh air and rolling green hills are only a stones throw, or train ride away. On this particular (and slightly chilly) morning, the beautiful Hanna and I paid a visit to the stunning Knole park- famous for its wild deer (we spotted one whilst on our travels and got a little bit excited) and beautiful vast scenery (there were certainly times it could've passed for the outskirts of an impressive Game of Thrones kingdom, ahem).

For the little adventure I opted for this new MINKPINK kimono and flowy (technical term guys) t-shirt- for a billowing (yet wee bit dishevelled) Kate Bush Wuthering Heights look (this version) as I struggled up the hills in some awesome (but equally inappropriate) footwear- you can take a girl out of the city...
Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots
and here's what I wore...


Photos by the wonderful Hanna Kristina Photography
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What Olivia Cooked: Easter Macarons & Nests

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Easter Macaron Recipe Chocolate Nests Easter Macaron Recipe Chocolate Nests There's no doubt that if you live in the UK (or anywhere for that matter), enjoy any shreddable cereal mixed with chocolate and celebrating Easter- you'd have spotted these easy-as-pie (easier, if I say so myself) nests floating about, well, just about anywhere. They're the easiest way of eating chocolate en masse without looking too guilty- and paired with these pretty straight forward 'chick' macarons they look pretty impressive- and super cute at that!

You will need:
- 4 Shredded Wheat
- 1 big bar of chocolate of your choice (melted)
- Mini eggs
- Cupcake cases
- 2 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 60g caster sugar
- 65g ground almonds
- 80g icing sugar
- 150g unsalted butter
- 300g icing sugar (for the macaron filling)
- Vanilla essence
- A few drops of yellow food colouring
- Coloured icing pens/gels for decorating...

...and breathe!

1. I started with the nests as they are so easy- and once they're all done they have some chilling time too! Simply break up your shredded wheat bars, pop them in a bowl and mix them in with the melted chocolate! Spoon this mixture into your cupcake cases to give them some shape and pop in the fridge for an hour or so- see, I told you it was easy!

2. For the macarons, pop your egg whites and salt into a bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks (so they flop over), before whisking in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the peaks become stiff, and stand up on their own.
Macaron Recipe Easter 3. Sieve in the almonds, 80g of icing sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a few drops of food colouring (until you get your desired colour) into the mix and gently fold everything together (but make sure you do this gently, as to not lose the air in the mixture)- until everything is combined!

4. Now for the oven part! I used this silicone mould from Lakeland to bake my macarons in, to keep the shape perfect- but you can also draw identical circles on some baking paper to use as a template! Either way, dollop your mixture onto your sheet/tray with a teaspoon and leave to stand for half an hour so the macarons form a 'skin'.
Macaron Recipe Easter 5. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and then pop the macarons in for 15-20 minutes, and leave until cooled. In the meantime, whisk your butter until soft, before gradually mixing in your icing sugar, flavouring and food colouring- until you have your desired sweetness and colour!

6. Once cool, sandwich the buttercream between two macarons, and get icing your treats into cute Easter themed animals ; )- take your nests out of the fridge, take them out of the cases and pop some mini eggs inside for your chick to take care off- Happy Easter!
Easter Macaron Recipe Chocolate Nests
If you give these a go yourself don't forget to use the hashtag #bakewithliv so I can see! Also, let me know if there's any recipes you'd like to see!


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Whistle-stop to Paris

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Paris
(Dress: Zara, Bag: Accessorize, Shoes: Charlotte Olympia)

Sitting on the Eurostar first thing on a Wednesday morning surrounded by lively Chelsea fans heading to the latest PSG game (it's safe to say I didn't quite fit in there- y'know being an Arsenal fan and all ; ), it was easy to forget that the city of romance, cheese and perfect pastries was less than a few hours away- and on this occasion I was pretty excited to pay a little visit.

Now, before this whistle-stop trip to Paris I wasn't overly familiar with flash sales site ventee-privee- the reason behind this little trip! The site is home to hundreds of discount online sales, and on this occasion infamous French perfume house, L'Artsian Parfumeur (sister brand to our much loved Penhaligon's) was planning their sale (live tomorrow), and invited myself and the gorgeous Reem along to learn a little about them...
Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Charlotte Olympia Shoes Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Charlotte Olympia Shoes After getting to know a wee bit more about the brands signature fragrances, the inspiration behind them from top perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour (from exotic trips to far out coasts and bustling markets) and a little about the process that goes in to each one- we were sat down and given the opportunity to try to create our own. In short- the breakdown of each fragrance is build up of hundreds of different scent notes and droplets- from sweet, to fruity, to fresh and woody- it's just finding the balance that helps create the things we really like. Crazy, huh?
L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris Hundreds of droplets later (and a little bit of messy handiwork)- I was finally left with a fragrance that I was pretty happy with! It's certainly not as floral and light as my normal go-to's (read: Daisy) and won't be hitting Boots anytime soon (I ain't no Britney) but is a little bit more 'grown-up' if you like- and certainly something I enjoyed getting to learn a little more about! Who knew there was so much to it?! Until next time Paris!
L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris Bertrand Duchaufour L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris To shop the sale in the morning head over here, there's some pretty good bargains to be had!

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Florals for Spring

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Accessorize Daisy Bag White Blossom
(Hat: American Apparel, Shirt: Whistles, Dress: C/O Jarlo, Bag: Accessorize, Shoes: Topshop)

It seems my posts have taken a turn for the Spring-like this week- with big floppy hats and pretty blooms and blossom pretty much being the stars of the show- but come on, who can blame me when everywhere looks so pretty? Wearing a hat that can only be described as my 'American Hustle one' (although I'm still feeling a little more Christian Bale than Amy Adams in it) and a pinafore which indefinitely matches the scenery around me (extreme coordination seems to be my forte)- I've definitely made the next-season wardrobe change-over- just waiting to whip out the denim shorts now (but first to cut down on the sponge and pizza)...!

On top of that, after paying a very exciting and proud visit to St James' Park this weekend to watch Papa P run the marathon (thank you so so much to those who donated, he raised a pretty blooming awesome amount and it couldn't be done without you) it truly felt like Spring had arrived, and even inspired me to potentially think about attempting it next year (I truly mean it this time)- the perfect way to spend a Spring Sunday- now to find where I left my running trainers...
Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Topshop Geek Loafers

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Spring in my step

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Spring Denim smock floppy straw hat outfit Spring Denim smock floppy straw hat outfit Spring Denim smock floppy straw hat outfit Spring pink flowers
(Hat: ASOS, Dress: ASOS, Shoes: Union Jane, Bag: Lulu Guinness)

When venturing into the hustle of Oxford Street during the weekend, it's easy to forget that the whole of central London isn't simply impatient shoppers, endless clothes returns and people queuing for burgers- and until recently, it had completely escaped me how close the beautiful Regents Park was to one of the busiest streets in the world. After visiting with Amber recently, I was determined to come back and pay a visit (if only for the grand white pillared townhouses lining the skirts)- and it turns out we timed it just as the Spring blooms had decided to make an appearance too.

Taking my new ASOS smock for a spin (apparently I talk of clothes I love as some people do posh cars) with this straw beachy hat (not so perfect for windy tube escalators) and fashionably orthopaedic shoes (I love them, ok)- it was pretty exciting to be able to dress regardless of temperature and simply enjoy the Great British Spring time- and after checking BBC Weather (again) it looks like I'll be able to keep up this dressing for the week ahead too, huzzah!
Spring Denim smock floppy straw hat outfit Spring pink flowers Spring Smock dress straw hat outfit Union Jane strappy flats Vivienne Westwood
and here's what I wore...


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What Olivia Cooked: Coconut Bread

Friday, 11 April 2014

Coconut Bread Recipe Bill Granger A couple of years ago, I used to work in retail along the beautiful Westbourne Grove. It was, and still is one of the prettiest parts of town, and walking past the houses on Pembridge Villas each morning certainly eased the pain of an early 'til late shift- especially during Christmas when all of the homes were lit up like dolls houses, twinkling from the outside. Either way- one of my later memories was the queue of families, yummy mummies and foodies each Sunday bustling around Granger & Co- restaurant of awesome Aussie cook Bill Granger, and somewhere I still sadly haven't visited. However, after buying his Every Day book and discovering his amazing coconut bread- I had to give it a try myself. It's perfect with fruit, honey and yoghurt for breakfast- and is a lovely alternative to some typical toast...

You will need:
- 2 eggs
- 300ml milk
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 375g plain flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- 220g caster sugar
- 150g shredded coconut
- 75g melter unsalted butter
Coconut Bread Recipe Bill Granger
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, and grease and line a loaf tin!

2. Whisk your eggs, milk and vanilla into a bowl until slightly frothy. In a separate bowl sift your flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
Coconut Bread Bill Granger
3. Add your sugar and coconut to to the dry mixture, and stir until combined. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and gradually pour in your egg mixture, stirring each bit as you go.

4. Add in your melted butter and stir in until just combined, try to not over mix!
Coconut Bread Recipe Bill Granger
5. Carefully pop into your preheated oven and bake for one hour (or a little more until nice and crisp)- check with a skewer before removing to check it's all done too!

6. Leave to cool on a wire wrack- and serve toasted with fresh berries and yoghurt for the tastiest breakfast ever, thanks Bill!
Coconut Bread Recipe Bill Granger
If you give these a go yourself don't forget to use the hashtag #bakewithliv so I can see! Also, let me know if there's any recipes you'd like to see!


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Gettin' my Bella on...

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Bella Freud for Barbour Ripped Jeans Kitty Flats Bella Freud for Barbour Ripped Jeans Kitty Flats Bella Freud for Barbour Ripped Jeans Kitty Flats Bella Freud for Barbour Ripped Jeans Kitty Flats Liberty London Florist
(Hat: ASOS, Jacket: Oh My Love, Jumper: C/O Bella Freud for Barbour, Jeans: ASOS, Shoes: Charlotte Olympia, Bag: Lulu Guinness, Lipstick: Bobbi Brown)

When it comes to dressing down, I'm the first to admit I'm not particularly artful at it. I can't do the hip 'n' happenin' slides and boyfriend jeans with a shirt that may have just come from your boyfriends floor, but, still looks questionably perfect on- with 'I woke up like diiis' hair. Instead, I can manage to still look a little too put together, and rarely forget that wearing lipstick isn't totally necessary for Sunday Brunch (lipstick chin marks ahoy)! However, since picking up these jeans at ASOS, I'm almost certain they haven't left my legs (except for a wash, y'know- now and again) and paired with this Bella Freud for Barbour jumper, I think it's love.

Speaking of Ms Freud, for a while now I've been a HUGE Bella fan. Undeniably some of her pieces at the moment (read: anything that sadly isn't one of those beautiful candles) are a little out of my budget, but after seeing that infamous Jane & Serge jumper, I've been completely hooked by her designs and awesome lookbooks- and am pretty set on making an investment purchase come the big 2-1 in June. Saying that, when I heard that she'd be doing another collection with Barbour I was exceptionally excited- and practically jumped on this adorbs puffin jumper when I saw it- I mean come on, Barbour + Bella + Cute animals; it's a sure fire recipe for success- right?

Bella Freud for Barbour Ripped Jeans Kitty Flats Bella Freud for Barbour Ripped Jeans Kitty Flats Ripped Jeans Charlotte Olympia Kitty Flats Liberty London Florist

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