Thursday, 23 December 2010


Merry Christmas lovely readers. I'm sorry my posts have been a little sparse since starting my new lofty (okay, harrowing) journalistic gig.
I'm still falling in love with clothes I can't afford, pining for priceless antiques and determined to be a doyenne of domesticity, but I just haven't always found the time to share all that with you.
I'm also beavering away at our glorious wedding plans. In the times I might have been blogging, I'm now ink stamping cocktail napkins and lining invitation envelopes with 1960s printed paper. I can't believe I haven't shared the heavenly Swedish mid-century floor lamp I gave my credit card a whipping for a few weeks ago - or posted pics of the decadent chocolate cake, smothered in ganache, which my lovely chap made last weekend for a pal's birthday.

Along with all my other new year's resolutions (eat less, exercise more, only buy things I adore, control my inner bitch blah blah blah), I vow to share more of my Jackie and Marilyn-inspired musings. Until then I have a frosty voyage down to the Kent coast, a charming carol service at our wedding-church-to-be, a very special Christmas dinner with my mum (the first for many many years) some seaside walks, some pressies and hopefully some lie-ins.

Wishing you every festive happiness - giant, beautifully wrapped gifts, colossal plates of magnificent food and most of all divine people to share it all with.


The last few minutes are ticking by before I can leave my desk and whizz away home to panic wrap presents, slurp port and sigh with relief that Christmas is finally HERE. But enroute I will be stopping to buy a jar of luxury mince meat to make my contribution to Christmas lunch - Nigel Slater's mincemeat ice cream. A domestic goddess I may profess to be, but this year the turkey will be my mama's domain. I'm on pudding duty, which means a Fortnum & Mason Christmas pudding and this light but luxe dessert, which is equal parts rich, spicy, sweet and cool. I'll be whipping it up tonight and transporting it tomorrow morning - unless I eat it all the moment it's made, that is. The wedding diet starts in January!

Friday, 17 December 2010


...but in my heart it's always sunny and I'm always dressed in heels and a full skirted dress which makes my waist look miniscule and bosom magnificent. Oh and while I'm at it, I'm pretty much always gliding through some Palm Spring style scenario with supermodel hair.
So although I'm about to stuff myself into my faithful Marc Jacobs cashmere coat, tug on a woolly hat and brave the bitterness of Kensington, all the time I'll be imagining I'm in this Louis Vuitton 2011 Cruise collection campaign. Sigh.

Thursday, 16 December 2010


I love a charming gimmick and these teapot pendant lights from Anthropologie have me really tickled. They give a gorgeous glow when they light up and because they're simply white china, they stand out without being too twee. Actually, they'd look fabulous in some modern tea parlour dotted over lots of little tables. I'm craving a cuppa just looking at them!

Thursday, 9 December 2010


My passion for sweet, salt and snazzy packaging continues with this new chocolate range from Peyton & Byrne. I was already a fan of this small bakery and cafe chain (their white subway tiles are lined with pepperminet green plaster and the candy coloured bakery boxes are a profusion of prettiness), but then I saw this array of chocolates in inspired flavours like elderflower, marmalade and of course, Cornish sea salt. Now I'm a fully signed up member of the Peyton & Byrne club. Just awaiting my membership card...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Normally this is about the time I start visualising my homemade Christmas cards. From mini snow scenes to piles of miniature wrapped gifts, my creative efforts have been time consuming but a fairly delightful way to spend an evening or two for a crafty girl like me. Although if I'm honest, they always start off being fun - glass of port, festive tunes ringing out - but after a couple of hours, when I have perfected three or four cards and am faced with another 27 to make (I always figure I'll make for 30 of my nearest and dearest), I become, how can I put it, a mite disenchanted.

Anyway ths year I have had a brainwave. Ditch the DIY crafts (I'm already up to my eyes with ink stamps and scalloped scissors for the impending wedding), and instead, share the Christmas spirit through the kitchen. I was completely inspired by this simple but stylish recipe from Dan Lepard in last week's Guardian, for edible gifts. I plan to make the Stem Ginger Macaroons and package them in cellophane bags, with Merry Christmas gift tags.

Hopefully I can make three batches in one night... I'll let you know how it goes.

Dan Lepard's Stem Ginger Macaroons

Says Dan: The flaked almonds give a crunch to the crust of these macaroons, which is very pleasing, because after it you bite through the soft and slightly peppery heart packed with pieces of ginger. They keep very well, so make a big batch and bag or box them for sweet, elegant gifts. These quantities make about 16-18 macaroons.

200g ground almonds

100g caster sugar

2 medium egg whites

150g chopped stem or glacé ginger, minus the syrup

Flaked almonds

Icing sugar

Mix the ground almonds, sugar, egg whites and ginger until evenly combined.

Roll into balls the size of a smallish unshelled walnut (about 30g), then press on to a mound of flaked almonds so a layer sticks to the outside. This is slightly tricky, but roll them firmly and slowly, and you should manage it.

Place the macaroons on a tray lined with nonstick paper, then heat the oven to 170C (150C fan-assisted)/335F/gas mark 3 and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown, turning the tray halfway through the bake time to make sure the heat gets to the macaroons evenly.

Remove from the oven, sieve icing sugar over the top while they're still hot and leave to cool.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Isn't this magnificent? It's by artist Pei-San Na and is made of a staggering 2,500 matches... and took 24 hours to make. Worth every minute I reckon. Just don't light it.

Monday, 6 December 2010


We have just been sent a box of John Galliano's rose and ginger macarons, designed especially for Lauderée. Oh my God. This is the sort of sugary delicacy that makes me weep with joy. Sublime doesn't even describe them. The box is an elegant dash of feminine whimsy, but the treats within are the best bit. A mere hint of rose in the crisp macaron and a firey gingery warmth in the creme filling. The perfect combination of delicate and fierce. I feel like they were made for girls like me. What a way to bring joy to a Monday afternoon.

Friday, 3 December 2010


I love this fashion story from the Observer. Mad Men may have ended this week on British TV (oh Don, why did you have to be like every other man? I hoped for so much more from you!), but our obsession with Betty and Joan style is going nowhere fast. And that's just fine with me.