Monday, 28 July 2014

Burgers, Burgers, Burgers

Never before has the burger been in the spotlight quite like now. As street food trucks appear to entice tourists and those on their lunch breaks alike, restaurants promising indulgent burgers and sides are popping up across the country.

Once considered within the same vein as kebabs, burgers were the guilty pleasure bought in a drunken haze at 2am but now they ooze elaborate flavours and toppings ranging from caramelised onions to chillies. Like macarons and cupcakes, burgers are having their moment as a fast-food fad which doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

Moving away from their processed predecessors, the burgers themselves are made of British beef, often locally sourced alongside other ingredients such as cheese, bacon and even haggis.

Vegetarians need not worry though, many places are also catering to those without a penchant for meat and that’s part of the appeal. 

While it may be just another example of street food having its day, burger joints are encouraging anyone and everyone to ditch the knives and forks as they bite into a mountain of flavours. If you're after something to brighten up your Monday, head over to your nearest diner and indulge!

By Victoria Rodrigues O’Donnell
Image sources 1,2

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Clap Clap Sing

There's nothing better than receiving something sweet in the post and LA paper pros Clap Clap Design have left the whole team smitten! Their cute range of greeting cards, wrapping paper and notebooks are handmade and created using environmentally-friendly, recycled paper. They make the perfect gifts.... and will you feel a lot less guilty if you decide to keep a few for yourself!

Have a peek at the rest of their items here

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Meet... The Girl in the Bowler Hat

For the next instalment of our Meet the Blogger... series we grilled fashion journalism student, Amy  from The Girl in the Bowler Hat. Read on to find more about the girl behind the blog... 

Ok, first up who is 'Girl in the Bowler Hat' for those that don't already know?
My name is Amy, and I'm a 21 year old blogger currently living in the North East of England. My blog, The Girl in the Bowler Hat, is a bit of everything really, but I focus mainly on taking plenty of personal style posts in hidden gems I've found in my hometown.

How long have you been blogging, and what made you want start it in the first place? 
 I've been running my current blog for just over 18 months and I am loving it more than ever at the moment! This isn't actually my first blog, as I've had a few in the past, but none of those ever felt right. So, I racked my brains and The Girl in the Bowler Hat was born and I'm very proud of it. I began my blog after spending years reading them and thinking 'Oh hey, I could do that' so I decided to give it a whirl. It felt like a nice sideline while studying my degree in fashion journalism.

 What inspires your blog posts?
A lot of my inspiration comes from other blogs, as there is such a huge amount of talent and a lot of what I know I've learnt from fellow bloggers. You name it, it's been blogged before. I also gain a lot of inspiration from just day to day life, if I've had any exciting days, if I see someone in the street wearing an outfit I love, that sort of thing. Although I probably should, I rarely plan ahead with my blog posts - I tend to just go with what I want to post about at the time. Of course, I love the usuals too, with my fail-safe inspiration places being Pinterest and a good film marathon. 

 How would you describe your style? 
 I think my style changes quite a lot, and there's no fixed 'look' I tend to go for. My favourite era is the 60s, and I think I'll always have a love for a-line skirts and collared dresses. Think Alexa Chung meets Audrey Hepburn meets Emma Watson (and a little bit of Blair Waldorf thrown in there for good measure).

What three items can you not live without? 
 My Macbook, which pretty much contents my whole life. I'd also say magazines, as I'm a big of a magazine junkie (and currently own more than 150 - eek). Finally, my iPhone, not just because of Twitter, or Instagram( although I'm massively for social media) but to listen to music on. I'm always listening to music! 

 What do you get up to when you're not blogging?
Just the usual really, spending time with my friends, reading, watching an obscene amount of television. I also love photography, it's an area I'd love to branch into in the future.

Tell us something no one else knows about you...
I'm a little bit (a lot) obsessed with Gossip Girl, and also Criminal Minds… you know, because the two programmes are so similar. 

 What other bloggers are on your reading list? 
 Oh gosh, there's so many! My favourites have to be Wish Wish Wish and What Olivia Did - I've been reading both of those blogs for as long as I can remember. There's a whole host of NE bloggers I love too, such as Talking About M, The Lovecats Inc, and Thumbelina Lillie

 And lastly, as we've just released our travel issue, we want to know your favourite holiday destination. 
Well, I'm not the most travelled unfortunately! However, me and my family have been to the island of Menorca many times, and it's a beautiful place.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

How to host a Brazilian style World Cup Party

Seeing as England didn't get as far as any of us may have hoped in this year's tournament, if you're hosting a World Cup party it's probably a much better idea to celebrate the hosting country instead (especially as they're favourites to win!). After all, Brazil has amazing culture AND you can hang on to the decorations for your Olympics 2016 party!

If singing the Brazilian National Anthem is the unthinkable (you may have to start learning Portuguese on Duolingo first), there are countless Spotify playlists and compilations dedicated to all the sweet sounds coming from Brazil. With numerous artists having contributed to Brazil’s idiosyncratic music scene, it only takes a quick search for Gilberto Gil, Seu Jorge or João Gilberto to create an authentic Bossa Nova party.

 Once the music is sorted you can concentrate on how to cater the perfect Brazilian themed party. Forget all the silly gimmicks which brands are tempting you with as they adorn their products with the colours of the Brazilian flag. Instead, discover the delicious variety of snacks that traditionally feature at Brazilian get-togethers. Pastéis filled with cheese or meat are little pastries (think empanadas) which make ideal appetisers, or Coxinhas, deep fried chicken filled snacks which even Nigella has a recipe for, are a great alternative for savoury bites.

As for sweet treats, there are countless desserts that can be served, such as Brigadeiros and Pudim. Brigadeiros are small chocolate balls covered in chocolate sprinkles and Pudim is a Brazilian-style flan covered in caramel sauce.

Once you’ve had enough food, why not try some cocktails including Caiprinihas, Brazil’s national cocktail made with cachaça? Infamous for its strength, if you’d prefer to avoid a hangover the next day, a Caipiroska is made with vodka instead.  We love this cantaloupe and mint version...

So go on, make some Caiprinihas and be prepared to scream ‘Gooooooooooooooooal’ every time someone scores. 

By Victoria Rodrigues O’Donnell
Image sources 1,2,3,4

Monday, 23 June 2014

Apple Butter Hand Pies

These intensely buttery and flaky hand pies are like a posh man’s McDonalds apple pie. If you read the recipe ahead and bake them over two days though, they can be enjoyed by anyone. And they darn well should be, because nobody should be subjected to applesauce that tastes like wall glue.


Apple Butter 
14-16 Braeburn or Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored & sliced into chunks 
1 cup (275ml) apple juice 
2 tbsp brandy 
1 cinnamon stick 
1 tsp ground ginger 
½ tsp ground nutmeg 
¼ tsp ground cloves 
1 cup (220g) caster sugar 
2 tbsp lemon juice  

Pie Dough 
2 ½ cups (290g) plain flour 
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp sugar 
1 cup (230g) cold, cubed butter 
¼ / ½ cup (around 100ml) cup cold water plus extra for brushing  
½ cup (110g) sugar 
1 tsp cinnamon   

Notes: as the apples are cooked down, it doesn’t matter which apples you choose for this recipe, just go for the ones that you believe have the best flavour.


Day One  
Put the flour, sugar, salt and cubed butter in a food processor and pulse until breadcrumbs form. Before it forms a ball, slowly add the water – add a little extra if it feels dry, pulse until dough forms. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes, preferably overnight.    

Make the filling. Combine all ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir every so often. The apples will start to break down and will eventually reach a saucy consistency. Cook for 45 minutes and mash up unbroken pieces of apple. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 2 hours until the sauce is much darker, thicker and half the amount. Transfer to a jar and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate, will last there for 1 month or up to 6 months in the freezer.   

Day Two  
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out a ¼ inch thick. Take a 4/5 inch cookie cutter and cut out as many rounds as you can, you should have about 16. Place the rounds on a baking tray, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spoon 1 ½ teaspoons of apple butter in the centre of half the rounds, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch gap between the edges of the pastry. Brush water around the edges of rounds and place another round on top. Gently seal the dough with your fingers and create a cross in the centre using a knife. Repeat with the rest of the rounds. Place back on baking sheet, cover and and refrigerate for 30 minutes.   

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Brush pies with water and then sprinkle with cinnamon before baking. Bake for 22 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool or eat warm, lasts for 3 months in the freezer or 4 days at room temperature.

Recipe and photography bu Emine Hassan

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Vintage Glamour

With the new Nicole Kidman film Grace of Monaco premiering at the Cannes Film festival last month, it lead us to admire the amazing vintage glamour of Grace Kelly.

Kelly was a Hollywood movie star who married the Prince of Monaco, becoming Princess Grace of Monaco. She was famous for her pearls and signature Kelly bag which was named after her. She made this Hermès bag famous when seen carrying it around when pregnant. The infamous bag lives on and can be seen on the arms of celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and formerly Princess Diana. 

You can recreate her timeless look with this Emily and Fin Isobel dress

There is no doubt that Grace Kelly was a natural beauty. Her style only emphasised her beauty. This look will never date as Kelly represented what most women dream of being - glamorous, kind, elegant, beautiful and sophisticated. Women aspire to be her, a princess living in one of the most exclusive places in the world.

A timeless beauty with a timeless look.

By Karen Uttley