Recently I've been having a bit of a think about the term ambition. I briefly touched on it a while ago in one of my Sunday posts; a brief comment on how we view the term alongside success and how, really, I'm not sure they're directly in correlation with one another. That to be successful, and most importantly happy- you don't have to be top of your career ladder. I'm in a fortunate position to be surrounded by both hugely ambitious women, and also women who are not necessarily work driven, but thriving and successful in their chosen careers too- which I think has been totally integral in striking a balance and developing a healthy work/life relationship that suits me.

I've read a few pieces online recently talking about success- whether that's earning more, settling or striving for the next tier, promotion or prestige around the corner. The one that actually inspired this was shared by my friend Jazmine, and was originally shared on Stylist online and hit the nail on the head in so many ways.

Working online, there's an unspoken pressure about living the to the best of the best- to the absolute top of your game whilst being a total #girlboss in the meantime. It's great feeling inspired- whether that be to book a holiday or try a new dinner on a Monday night- but it's okay to not want to try a new recipe and then strive for a restaurant opening the week after. Living a good life isn't just about earning a high salary, ticking off far flung destinations and buying nice things every week. For some people it might be, but that doesn't apply for everyone- and I think it's so important to recognise that- and know whether you strive for those things or not, it shouldn't dictate your level, or perception, of success.

And of course, it's making sure that it's coming from a place that makes you happy. The piece touched on the fact that admitting you're not overtly ambitious is fine, as long as 'you are not in truth shying away from challenges because of a lack of confidence'- which I equally think is incredibly important too. In a sense, I do think I've always struggled with ambition because I've never seen myself as capable. I've always felt that there's an essence of blag in what I do, where people have often said 'Oh! you've landed on your feet!' Which has always made me question my actual ability- and left me with a constant fear, or, that people expect me to have a solid five year plan in place (I don't yet, but I'm working on it).

Naturally, I finish this after reading an awe inspiring piece about Emily Weiss- one of the few people who spark an unrivalled sense of ambition in me. Knowing she first approached venture capitalists without a product or business plan but simply an idea is truly something- and definitely shows that a bit of self belief, and setting your own ambition bar as high, or as low, as you feel comfortable- truly makes for the best outcome.

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A Talk About Work, Ambition and Defining Success



With a new routine comes new reasons to explore some favourite recipe books, old and new. With a recipe books lining a shelf in our pantry, armed and ready to supply inspiration for evenings filled with cooking for two- it's become one of my favourite simple pleasures sitting down on a Friday to do the weekly food stop- whilst fingering through pages of new bakes and dinners- mulling over mutual loves and things we'll try for the week ahead...

One of my favourite new books from that shelf has to be Laura Jackson and Alice Levine's, Round to Ours. Already being two of my favourite people- be it for their style or skills (be it supper clubs to podcasting), I've been so excited to take one of their recipes for a spin. Although the book is mainly menus for gorgeous gatherings and delightful dinner parties, there are dishes that can cater for afternoon treats and simple suppers- with the salted caramel brownies from their 'Movie Night' menu particularly piquing my interest. So, with dinner with friends in the diary, I decided to bake these and take them along as a surprise desert- and it's safe to say they went down a total storm! I thought I'd share the recipe here, and can guarantee if you like this, you'll love the rest of the book too.



You Will Need:
100g Dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
125g Unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
250g Granulated sugar
2 Large eggs
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tsp flaky sea salt
100g Plain flour
12 Squares of milk chocolate containing caramel pieces (I used Galaxy Caramel)

- Heat your oven to 170 degrees. Line a baking tin (28 x 20cm), with baking parchment, leaving extra up around the sides.

- Place the dark chocolate and butter in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water) and leave until just melted.

- Take off the heat and use a balloon whisk to whisk in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and half the salt. Gradually sift in the flour and then stir using the whisk.

- Pour the mixture into the tin, spreading it out so that it is even. Press a piece of caramel chocolate into the surface at regular intervals (so that when cut into 12 there is a piece at the centre of each), and sprinkle the surface with the remaining salt.

- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in an area with no caramel comes out without raw batter on it. The brownies should also be starting to come away from the edges, and gently cracking on top. Leave to cool- or eat them when they're straight out of the oven if you can't wait (and while the centres are still runny).


Recipe care of the wonderful Jackson & Levine, whose book is an absolute treasure.


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Simple Salted Caramel Brownies

(Dress: H&M (sadly not online, but similar here), Bag: C/O YSL via Net-A-Porter, Shoes: Castaner)

Normally when I shoot outfit photos things are a little bit more considered around here. I like to find quiet pockets of London, unknown corners and spots to tell a story- but with things being a little crazy lately- Joe and I had to grab a minute in between meetings in town, making for something altogether more candid (despite the sweeping buildings still making for something pretty scenic). With the house, wedding talk (!) and a site redesign coming oh so soon, it's been a little tricky having to be hyper organised to make sure things are as tickedy boo as you deserve them to be. At the moment my blog plan is a mix of lifestyle, beauty and outfits in between bad weather- but please let me know what you enjoy the most- as I want to make sure I'm putting the time and care where it needs to be most, if that makes sense?

But the dress! Enough scatter brain chat- this dress was something I picked up last week in H&M, and having not been into store for a while made for an exceptionally pleasant surprise, and required little/no thought as to weather there was definitely a gap in my wardrobe for it. Paired with my Castañer wedges and new favourite all-weather bag from YSL (Castañer designed the first wedge espadrille for Yves Saint Laurent in the late '60s)- it felt like a failsafe (and surprisingly appropriate) look for running around town- at least before the rain came anyway...



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The Spotted Midi


Ever since moving out, taking time in the evening after working in one spot all day to just relax and unwind has become a total treat for me. I've always been partial to a big ol' bubble bath, but more so since having my own has it almost become part of a ritual. It's half an hour to shut the door (to washing, dinner in the oven and adult responsibilities) pick out some fresh pyjamas, grab a copy of Red and totally indulge. So, today I thought I'd share some of the items that have been keeping me company during my downtime and some favourites that have pretty much become empty...

The Caddy Line Up

Who'd have thought I'd ever have a bath caddy?? Who am I? Being one of the first things I ordered when we had our moving day (priorities from a girl still without a sofa)- it's been pretty handy (and space saving, let's be honest) having these picks within arms length. My two favourite go-to bath fillers go to Fresh's Sake bath (so much so that it's now empty) and the Jo Malone Roses bath oil- both are suitably luxurious (just a capful of the oil smells delicious- with the Sake Bath also being great for reliving tension after a stressful day. I've also been loving Zoe's Bath Frosting from her Jelly and Gelato range, which is the cutest idea and something totally new to bath time. For skin care I love this Herbivore Coconut Rose body polish (style andsubstance) as well as the L'Occitane Pate Delice scrub and Refining Concentrate for a heavy duty moisturise post bath or shower. Finally, if I'm feeling a bit fancy (or, ahem, extra/hormonal) a mini Diptyque candle to fill the room for ultimate zen is always a hit, and Figuier is currently my scent of choice.




Shower Time

Let's be honest- sometimes there just isn't time for a serious soak- and that's when a put the world to rights shower is just the ticket. Although I'm not particularly fussy when it comes to shower gels- the trio that Joe and I currently love include Aesop's Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser (Joe's), the gorgeous vegan (and nearly totally natural) shower gels from YOPE- as well as this total treat from Pai, in the shape of their Gentle Genius body wash, which as well as being great for super sensitive skin comes with a konjac sponge (which has near enough revolutionised shower time for me).




On to hair! There are really only two main players in my shampoo and conditioner stakes at the moment, and although I've spoken about them endlessly (see here and here)- the Pantene Micellar shampoo and foaming conditioner really do suit my barnet to a t. Preventing grease and without weighing down (or overly softening) my hair, these two are pretty much my failsafe go-to's for when I know I'd really just like a good hair day the next day.



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End Of Day Beauty

(Jacket: & Other Stories, Dress: Reformation, Shoes: C/O Gucci via Net-A-Porter, Sunglasses: Monki, Bag: Radley (similar here)

I'm pretty sure it happened four years ago when their last album was out, but I'm certain that since Something To Tell You has been out Danielle, Este and Alana have been key players in most of my sartorial choices. Although I've just about accepted my hair will never look that great when it's that long (there's only so much thickening spray one girl can use)- there's definitely a recipe that a Reformation style tea dress, biker jacket and mannish shoes (in this case these heart-eyed Gucci loafers from my special place) have for a surefire winner.

On top of that, if like me you've been as obsessed with their album artwork as me (Laura Jane Coulson is nothing short of a genius), you'll have quickly invested in some sharp tailoring, washed denim and cat eye/'90s shades stat. Fortunately for me I've pretty much got myself two sisters I can reenact their videos with- so I guess I'm pretty much half way there, right? Next stop, record deal!



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Little Ref Dress

Well hasn't this summer been a total treat so far when it comes to good soundtrack? First of all, Baby Driver came out- so if you were feeling a little lost for a good movie soundtrack since Beauty and the Beast FEAR NOT FRIENDS! It's filled with old and new tunes and some total classics, and whether you've seen the film or not- I promise it's worth a listen. Also- ARCADE FIRE HAPPENED. AND HAIM. As well as an epic Shania Twain cover the trio dropped their second album which is nothing short of amazing- and totally justifies four years of hard work- good job, ladies! It's also a bit of a bumper playlist this month as I've been a little behind on uploading these- so hopefully this'll compensate for the wait too...

1. The Jam - Circus Instrumental
2. The Jam - Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
3. Arcade Fire - Everything Now
4. SZA, Travis Scott - Love Galore
5. The Virgins - Figure On The Ice
6. Albert Hammond Jnr. - St. Justice
7. Haim - Want You Back
8. Jain - Makeba
9. Metronomy - Night Owl
10. The Beatles - In My Life
11. Haim - Little Of Your Love
12. Shock Machine - Unlimited Love
13. Haim - Nothing's Wrong
14. Carla Thomas - B-A-B-Y
15. T.Rex - Debora
16. Queen, David Bowie - Under Pressure
17. Mr Jukes ft. Alexandria - Tears
18. Warpaint - Whiteout
19. Local Natives - Dark Days
20. Slow Club - Silver Morning
21. Julia Jacklin - Pool Party
22. Billy Sanders - Your Sister
23. Ariana Grande - Break Free
24. Kasabian - Bless This Acid House



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The Monthly Playlist: June/July


After our whistle stop visit to beautiful St Ives, we were back on a train to St Erth and pulling up to Penzance before I even had a chance to think about Willy Wallers ice cream again. But luckily for me, the delicious food selection in Penzance was not lacking, and after checking in to arguably one of the most beautiful hotel rooms I've ever stayed in at The Artist Residence, I knew that we were going to like it here (said in a high pitched Annie-style song, naturally).

Although we were only in Penzance for a little under two days, I was pretty chuffed with how much we managed to pack in, and how, with a car- Cornwall really is your oyster (no pun intended). Thankfully we met up with the gorgeous Olivia of Atlas Magazine to hang out with for an afternoon, meaning we could pop in a visit to nearby Mousehole too. I know I've only scratched the surface of the Cornish coastline, but felt very lucky to get started in the sunshine this summer.

Staying: The Artist Residence

Having previously visited both the Brighton and London Artist Residence, I felt incredibly lucky that our final cornish stay was at their Penzance hotel- and honestly? It was possibly one of the most gorgeous places I've stayed. Fortunate enough to be staying in the lookout- our top floor bedroom overlooked the town and sea, and with the weather being so dreamy, meant afternoons could be spent catching rays on the balcony whilst sipping drinks from downstairs with a magazine. We also had a little kitchen and living space- meaning it most definitely felt like a home away from home. On top of that, the restaurant, The Cornish Barn, also came highly recommended- and with their menu being vibrant, exciting but still fusing traditional English seaside dishes (as well as a good fry up for the morning after)- we felt totally spoilt from start to finish- and would recommend it highly, whether you're staying the night or simply want some damn delicious cocktails.

20 Chapel St, Penzance TR18 4AW

Eating: Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar

I think it's possibly only in the last year or so that Joe has properly started eating seafood, but it's safe to say we both agreed that Mackerel Sky was one of the best places we've visited for dinner- both in and outside of Cornwall. With no booking system, and a small taster plates style menu including everything from salt and pepper squid, beer battered monkfish and crab nachos- we could have quite easily ordered everything (the deserts here are equally as delightful) and means that you get a lorra bang for your buck (and minimal waiting time too). Sampling about 4 plates between the two of us, we left feeling suitably full and one hundred percent happy- now to open a London branch, plz.

The Bridge, New Road, Newlyn. TR18 5PZ

Jelberts:

We couldn't write about Mackerel Sky without including it's infamous neighbour, Jelberts. Admittedly, when we visited after dinner the place was closed (much to my frustration) but having heard rumours as it being the best ice cream in the U.K (if not the world, according to some) I thought it rude to not include it, and hope someone can sample it for me and let me know how truly delicious it is!

2 New Rd, Newlyn, Penzance TR18 5PZ

The Cornish Hen:

If you're looking for the perfect lunch spot, or delicious deli to pick up some treats for your train home (*raises hands*) then I highly recommend swinging by The Cornish Hen. With a counter top stacked with homemade cakes and shelves spilling with local produce (and some nifty Italian goods) they also pride themselves on some seriously mouth watering Cornish pasties and sausage rolls, perfect for a whistle stop or sit down with a hot cuppa.

27 Market Place, Penzance TR18 2JD

Seeing: Jubilee Pool

Oh my goodness, THIS PLACE. In the sunshine it's easy to think that Jubilee Pool and it's beautiful outlook is somewhere far further than the Cornish coast, but there's a certain quintessential charm about this art deco lido that is unmistakably British. In the sun, this spot feels like far more than just a freshwater swimming spot. With chairs lining the outskirts and a restaurant serving seriously tasty lunches and cakes (I had rosemary fries and a halloumi bap)- bathers and cossies are far from essential here (that's unless you're getting in the water of course)...

Battery Rd, Penzance TR18 4FF

Chapel Street:

It feels like a bit of a cop out listing a whole street in a guide, but with Chapel Street being dotted with so many unique gems it was hard to not list a whole wander on here. With Chapel Street Arcade boasting an Egyptian inspired house (yes, really) and a selection of gorgeous antique and vintage shops- it's worth having a nosey just to look at the nick nacks, rails of clothing and even chat to the stallholders. I can guarantee you'll find some beautiful authentic homewares here at pretty damn reasonable prices too.

Chapel Street, Penzance

Shopping: No. 56

Man oh man, I am a sucker for a homeware store. Nothing makes my heart flutter like some enamel, wicker and ceramics- and no. 56 (not surprisingly on Chapel Street) has it all. Founded in 2013 by Carole Elsworth and her love of natural materials and simple designs- this store really is a gem and will leave you feel incredibly inspired- whether you end up leaving with armfuls of goods, or not.

14 Chapel St, Penzance TR18 4AW

The Afternoon Out: Mousehole

Ten minutes along the coast is the fishing village of Mousehole (pronounced mowzel to you and I) which as well as being outstandingly picturesque, is the perfect spot for an afternoon wander along the harbour and savouring scones at local favourite, Rock Pool. If you have more time (and a car too) I also highly recommend heading along to the Minack Theatre for another truly special Cornish gem- definitely one more my list next time!


And one more thing!

Head to The Shore for dinner- or No 2 Fore Street in Mousehole, Make a booking at Ben's Cornish Kitchen for food, head to Chapel House for drinks and sample some delicious bread from Baker Tom's before you go!


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The Seaside Series: Penzance

MEET OLIVIA

MEET OLIVIA

Hello, you! I'm Olivia, or Liv- a 23 year old girl living in London, spending most of her time blog writing, photo taking, social media updating and occasionally cake baking.

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