Friday, 29 November 2013

Weekly Round Up

This week we’re still feeling festive, and there’s an overwhelming abundance to see, hear and sample. From art and crafts to vinyl and beer. Go be merry… 

VISIT the London Illustration Fair at Hoxton Arches, London, from today until Sunday (29th-30th November). A range of illustrators will be selling their work so go along to meet some talented people including Cassandra Yap (above), gather some inspiration and maybe even purchase some special Christmas presents.

LISTEN & DRINK at the only place to be this Saturday, 30th November. At Spitalfields, London, there will be an abundance of beer and records on offer. What a combination! The London Brewers Market includes a range of London’s breweries and, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, the renowned The Independent Label market, which will have over 80 independent labels present, is taking place. This is a unique opportunity to discover and support new independent artists and beers. Get down and try and purchase limited edition vinyl and craft beer for yourself, or as a fantastic Christmas present.

WATCH the gripping new UK film, In Fear. Lost on their way to an Irish music festival Tom (Iain de Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) encounter some very creepy happenings. Interesting set-ups, a sparse plot and good acting make this new offering from director Jeremy Lovering a much wanted indicator of hope for the UK film industry. 

LISTEN to Manchester female foursome Pins, Christmas song. Even the most festive tune hating amongst you will be mesmerised by this jingle. These northerners are definitely ones to watch in 2014 and you can download this track from UrbanOutfitters.

BUY some silly fun knitwear now the temperatures are set to drop. Bedroom Factory Knits offer a range of fun accessories, from dinosaur bobble hats to flamingo scarfs, that are bound to make the gloomiest gloomster smile, no matter how gloomy the weather. They will be at the Brighton Craftaganza this weekend so go along and say hi. The Craftaganza will be held on Sat 30th Nov / Sun 1st Dec and Sat 7th Dec / Sun 8th Dec

By Kerry Flint

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Chocolate and Raspberry Fondant

Chocolate fondants look so impressive but are secretly really easy to make! These make a lovely dessert to follow a winter supper and can be made a couple of hours ahead of baking.

Raspberry Sauce
100g raspberries, lightly crushed 
2tbsp water 
1tbsp caster sugar 

Chocolate Fondant
50g butter, plus extra for greasing 
50g dark chocolate 
50g caster sugar 
1 egg 
50g self-raising flour 
1tsp cocoa powder 
You will also need 2 ramekins or pudding moulds 

Start by making the raspberry sauce; Place the raspberries, sugar and water into a pan and gently heat, until the raspberries are soft and the mixture is syrupy. Remove from the heat and take 4 tablespoons of the sauce and pass through a sieve to remove any seeds. Leave to cool.

For the chocolate fondant, prepare the ramekins by brushing them with butter followed by a dusting of cocoa powder. Place the butter, chocolate and sugar into a microwaveable bowl and microwave on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until the chocolate has just melted. Give the mixture a really good stir until it’s completely smooth, then whisk in the egg and then add the flour. Stir through 2 tablespoons of the smooth raspberry sauce and give the whole mix a really good whisk until everything is fully combined.

Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, although they can be left for a good few hours before baking.

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C, remove the fondants from the fridge, take off the clingfilm and bake for 14 minutes exactly. The timing is really important here; over-baking with result in a fondant without a gooey middle and under-baking will leave you with a chocolatey mess!
Take the fondants out of the oven and leave for one minute to rest. Turn them out onto a plate, spoon some more raspberry sauce over the top, add a dusting of icing sugar and a couple of raspberries for decoration and serve immediately.

Recipe by Millie Norton

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Meet... Girl in the Lens

Our next instalment of Meet the Blogger comes from Natasha at Girl in the Lens, which she runs with her boyfriend alongside her full time job and being an author... phew! We caught up with the girl behind the blog, and found out how she manages to fit it all in!

Ok, first up who is 'Girl in The Lens' for those that don't already know? 
 I'm a 23 year-old, half-Chinese half-English girl from a town near London who studied Geography at uni but somehow ended up working in fashion and social media! 

How long have you been blogging, and what made you want start it in the first place?
I run Girl in the Lens with my boyfriend, Callum (I guess you could call him the Boy Behind the Lens!). We started it just over two years ago as a creative project between the two of us - me writing and styling, Callum doing all the photography and design - and it's since grown into something much larger and more wonderful than we ever anticipated! We still have the same ethos behind it though as we did when we first started - the blog is a space to explore our creativity and have fun with photography. That will never change. 

What inspires your blog posts? 
 We tend to shoot outside, as we love natural light and the changing colours of the season. Sometimes we keep to our local areas, and sometimes we find somewhere special to take a more creative shoot. We're actually in the process of redesigning the blog and will be focusing more on lifestyle posts in the future. Not that I'm bored of fashion! But Callum has so much more to offer as a photographer, and it'll push us to have more adventures and try new things to share with our readers. 

How would you describe your style? 
 Casual but polished, preppy, non-committed. It's still evolving day by day. 

You're also a YA author. How did that come about... and how do you fit it all in!
I never stop! I actually juggle three jobs (alongside blogging and being an author, I am a freelance social media consultant and writer), and it is always a little crazy trying to keep on top of everything. But you only live once, so I'd rather always be busy and make the most of the time I have! Being an author is what I've always wanted to do though. Ever since young, it was a dream of mine to have a novel published, and I was always writing. I got my publishing deal the traditional way - I wrote a novel, submitted it to agents, who then submitted it to publishers ... and then we were lucky enough to get a wonderful two-book deal! It's a dream, being able to see my words out there in the world. 

What do you get up to when you're not blogging? 
 Most of the time I'm writing (or thinking about writing), but I also love reading, having long baths, watching marathon runs of old shows I love like The OC, going for walks, nights in Callum, doing yoga, exercising, playing video games, travelling, seeing friends and family ... oh, and eating. Lots of eating. 

 What three items can you not live without? 
 A ring Callum gave me for my 23rd birthday with a line from my novel engraved on the inside, my Kindle (and all the books on it), and my new MacBook Air. 

Tell us something no one else knows about you... 
 The crazy stuff that goes in my brain. Stories are writing themselves in there all day, every day. I can't keep up! 

And lastly, as we're releasing our travel issue, we want to know your favourite holiday destination?
 Pangkor Laut in Malaysia. I grew up in Malaysia - it's one of my favourite places on earth. While it has a lot of gorgeous coastal resorts and islands, Pangkor Laut is special. My mum took me, my dad and Callum there a few years ago as a treat. We were only there a few days, but I could have stayed for weeks.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Weekly Round Up

Here are some suggestions for stuff to enjoy as we say goodbye to November and hello to December, the ultimate festive month of gluttony…

LISTEN to Blood Orange’s latest album Cupid Deluxe. It came out this week and Blood Orange aka Dev Hynes has certainly not disappointed with this lush offering that’s cooler and smoother than an ice rink. 

WATCH films at the London Feminist Film Festival. Set up in 2012 in response to the underrepresentation of women in the film industry, this festival will be showing some great films during its run from 24 and 30 November 2013. The program includes the international premier of Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights and a screening of the classic feminist film The Gold Diggers. 

PREPARE for the holiday season at a Christmas market. Yes it’s early, but why not embrace the opportunity to drink mulled wine before singing Mariah Carey badly at a Christmas tree. Go on, you know that you want to. There are lots of markets to choose from but a few of our personal favourites are Chester Victorian Christmas Market (beyond pretty) , Manchester Christmas Market (best mulled cider) and London Southbank Christmas Market (festive trip on the pretty Thames). If you’re really getting into the spirit you could even venture over to the Christmas-fest that’s Cologne Christmas Market and make everybody incredibly jealous. 

DRINK some fine ales and ciders at the Pig’s Ear Beer and Cider Festival, from December 3 – 7, at The Round Chapel in Clapton. Beers really taking centre stage at the moment with new breweries popping up all over London the festival will include Five Points, Crate and London Fields are among nine Hackney breweries in a huge line-up of beers and ciders to sample. 

EAT German style food at Wunderland East. Following its successful summer ‘Lucky Chip’ collaboration, this week Climpson's Arch launches it's three day bavarian themed bar with all the trimmings! 

READ Dorris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. This wonderful author died this week so what better excuse (not that you really need one) to discover or re-discover her amazing writing. The Golden Notebook accounts women’s lives after the war. It is often regarded as a ‘feminist masterpiece’ but overall is a majestically crafted piece of writing by a brilliantly talented and outspoken author.

By Kerry Flint 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Creamy Chicken One Pot Pasta

Using a few basic ingredients you’ve got kicking about in the cupboard, this can be made (and eaten!) in less than 20 minutes. A simply delicious pasta dish that makes the perfect midweek supper. 

2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 shallots, finely diced
500ml chicken stock
250ml double cream
300g pasta, we’ve used fusilli, but any you’ve got in the cupboard will work
2tsp Herbs de Provence
50g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to season

- Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about - 5 minutes – don’t worry about it being totally cooked through at this point as it will continue to cook as the dish simmers. Next add the shallots and cook for a further minute.
- Now add the stock, cream, pasta and Herbs de Provence and stir. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer. Leave for 15-20 minutes, stirring very occasionally, until the pasta is soft and the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese and serve. No-fuss and totally delicious!

By Millie Norton

Monday, 11 November 2013

When I Grow Up...

For the next instalment of our When I Grow Up series, we grilled Cleo from Cleo B about her individual style and how her passion for shoes helped her to create her own brand...

You studied at Cordwainers college, have you always want to be a shoe designer?
I always wanted to design fashion accessories and when I learnt I could study shoe design I thought it was the ultimate challenge! Shoes are the most powerful item in a woman’s wardrobe.

What was it like working with Nicholas Kirkwood?
I worked for Nicholas when he was in his early stages of development. It was a very exciting and inspiring place to be and I learnt a lot about shoe design as a commercial business. It was extremely valuable experience.

Do you have any favourite designers?
I admire a massive range of designers and brands for different reasons but a few favourites include Henry Holland, Lazy Oaf, Kate Spade and Tory Burch. (All very colourful!)

Where do you get your inspiration from?
So many places! Each collection takes inspiration from a different place and tells a different story. For example the Pixel collection (AW13) was inspired by the retro videogame, Tetris, whereas my SS14 collection pays homage to the ‘60s animation starring the Beatles, Yellow Submarine.

Can you describe your average day?
I get up, feed my dog Honey B, eat breakfast and aim to be in work as early as possible. I work on a variety of things each day, but try to focus on gathering inspirations, designing and dealing with my manufacturers as a priority. Sometimes I break during the day with a gym visit. We work in a building full of interesting, creative people, so there is always a great vibe and lots of people to bounce I ideas off.

Do you have a favourite piece?
I am in love with my multi-coloured Ironhide boots (part of my AW13 Pixel collection). They are all my favourite things in one shoe… I have barely taken them off since I got them!

Tell us something no one else knows about you?
I hate red, I never want to design a red shoe, no one has noticed that there is no red shoe yet!

Any advice for aspiring shoe designers?
 Make sure you have good work experience under your belt. Get as much advice as possible. If you are planning on starting your own shoe brand, it will be 10 times harder than you think it’s going to be, so make sure you have the right connections and business plan.

As a designer, what makes a good pair of shoes?
Comfort and fit is fundamental but in terms of design, unique details that make your shoes stand out, oh and of course, colour! 

Who would you like to be seen wearing your shoes?
I am most inspired by strong, independent women wearing my shoes. Influential role model types, whether famous or not.

What can we expect to see from Cleo B in the future?
I have recently launched a range of leather travel card holders and I am currently working on designing more leather accessories to accompany the main footwear collections. I am also expanding my shoe clip collection. The aim is to develop CLEO B as a fully-fledged lifestyle brand!