Home-picked seasonal apple and blackberry slices recipe

OMG how wholesome have I been? I could have been getting drunk last night but instead I got 10 hours sleep and then picked some apples and blackberries. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

There are about 100 apples growing on the tree in the garden at the moment – SHOW OFF!

IMG_1763.JPG

I am trying to buy more locally sourced, seasonal products, because I’m becoming increasingly aware of my impact on the world and even though I thought I was being good for the environment, often I’m actually making all the wrong decisions. I’m actively now trying to recycle, reuse plastic bags, eat seasonal and organic products and where possible from somewhere local (although that’s quite hard in London). I’m cutting back any bottled water I’m buying and I’m currently trying to find a good reusable cup that I can use in the coffee shops instead of using coffee cups (many of these aren’t recyclable).

FullSizeRender 2.jpgThese are delicious slices of goodness. They don’t look the best, but they’re so easy to rustle up with seasonal fruit and cupboard staples that you can’t really go wrong this time of year.

FullSizeRender.jpg

What you need for this recipe:

  • One apple cut into cubes
  • 150g blackberries
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 170g flour (self raising)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Peel of one lemon
  • 170g caster sugar

Mix up all the ingredients apart from the apples and blackberries in a mixing bowl using a spoon. Once combined, add the apple and blackberries and bake at 180 degrees centigrade for about 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked through. You can test whether it’s cooked through by sticking a small kebab stick into it and if it comes out gooey it needs more time.

The blackberries go gooey and delicious like jam and the apples are sweet and soft.

 

Wonder products for a wonderful wedding

On 16th November 2015, Nick proposed to me on a beach in Miami (ooooooh!) where we were visiting prior to another wedding in America we were invited to.

After months of planning, excitement, stress and spreadsheets, we got married on 10th June 2017 and it was just a wonderful day.

We had a good budget and so we got a lot of suppliers like a florist and a hairdresser and the venue acted as wedding organisers for the day, but I always knew I wanted to do my own makeup.

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 10.44.18.png I’ve always loved doing makeup ever since I can remember, and so there was no question that i’d do my own wedding makeup. It can be quite stressful thinking about someone else doing your makeup because they don’t necessarily know what suits your face – I have to look at my face every day so I’ve got pretty used to what needs the most attention!

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 10.45.52

I wanted a natural look, and I’ve always loved Nars’s world famous blusher colour; Orgasm (£23). So I decided to base my makeup around that colour for the wedding. And what a name to base the wedding on. The best kind I’ll be getting now I’m married (GUFFAW GUFFAW only joking).

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 15.09.53.png

I needed some pretty heavy duty setting spray if the makeup was going to last all day, and I normally use hairspray, but it’s a big day so I decided to invest in some proper stuff. I bought Urban Decay All Nighter (£23.50) and I swear by it now, it keeps my makeup on throughout the day and prevents smudging.

On my skin I wore the same foundation that I’ve sworn by for 10 years, the Bourgeois Healthy Mix Serum (£10.99). It is light on the skin and perfect for combination skin. It’s anti-fatigue so it instantly brightens the skin, and then I put a little Benefit Erase Paste (£16) under the eyes to cover up dem bags.

Now I’m not a massive fan of contouring, because I think if it’s overdone it can be a disaster. That said, a friend of mine treated me to the NYX Cosmetics Pro Palette (£18) for my birthday and so using a mix of the colours I did contour my cheek bones and put a dusting of highlighter over the cheek bones and eye brow and it made such a difference.

IMG_0814 2

I was then searching for an eyeshadow and lipstick that complimented my Nars blusher whilst looking natural. This was the hardest thing to do and I spent a few evenings after work traipsing around Oxford Circus looking for them.

I found the perfect matches, so if you want to do the same and go for the Nars look then I’d recommend the following: MAC eyeshadow in Expensive Pink (£13.50) and then Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Bitch Perfect (£24) and while I was buying the lipstick I discovered this Colour Chameleon Eye Pencil (£19) from Charlotte Tilbury, which you can buy based on your eye colour and it really makes your eye colour pop. You have to be careful because it can come out quite thick and become clumpy very quickly but if you go easy with it then it’s an absolute dream.

Finally, I used a Charlotte Tilbury brown eye pencil (£16) and the Benefit Roller Lash mascara (£17.43 from Look Fantastic – cheaper than elsewhere at the moment), but I also treated myself to individual lash extensions for the wedding and honeymoon, which were really itchy but pain is gain as they say.

Get The Look

 

 

Note: I’m working on some videos showing how I do my makeup but I’m still mastering how to edit them so watch this space.

 

Discovering dreamy Italian wines

I am well and truly ‘weddinged out’ at the moment. Having been to six wonderful weddings so far this year, I still having three more to go, all whilst planning my own wedding in June next year.

Oh who am I kidding? I secretly love weddings, especially when I get to go to the heart of Italy and drink wine from 9am until 5pm and eat practically an entire pig in the form of melt-in-the-mouth ham.

We were lucky enough to be invited to a small and completely stunning wedding in Umbria, an Instagrammable region of Italy north of Rome, where I smashed my way through countless plates of fresh pasta and glasses of sparkling wine (and the aforementioned pig, F-you clean eating brigade!)

As we were there anyway, we thought we’d make the most of the region’s amazing wineries, so we flew in early and went off on a classic Italian wine tour.

IMG_7064

Umbria boasts some of the world’s most delicious wines, but it’s largely been undiscovered because of its famous neighbour, Tuscany.  The region’s lesser-known wines include a deep red Sangrantino de Montefalco and white Grechetto (said with an unconvincing Italian twang).

I found them quite different to the usual New Zealand Sauvingon Blanc that I tend to drink in front of the television when it’s raining outside – they were delicious and unusual. What’s more, because they’re not so well known, they were a total bargain too.
IMG_7062

 

What did I actually learn while I was out there, I hear you ask? In my true style, I listened intently and then forgot everything almost immediately, hence why I’m writing this so I can remember some of the useful stuff I learnt while I was there.

1. You’ve got to get your shnozz right in there

You can’t get a proper shnifter unless you rest the rim of the glass above your upper lip and again on the bridge of your nose and…get your shnozz right in. Also, once you swirl the wine, the liquid releases more aromas, there’s a practical reason for the poncey swirling.

2. Wine tastes better when you eat delicious snacks 

Take a sip of the wine. Then eat this delicious cheese and then take another sip…it tastes subtler, smoother and altogether different to how it tasted before. Wine isn’t just for supping in front of Coronation Street on a Wednesday, it’s better to enjoy it with food.

3. It’s all subjective, it’s your experience

I’ve always nervously giggled my way through wine tastings, thinking I can just smell grapes and pretension while people are discussing the notes of peach melba and wood chippings they’re getting…but it turns out it’s all to do with your nose and your palate, and you can associate the wines with whatever you think it smells like. Yes! I can’t get it wrong.

4. Dessert wine isn’t completely rank

I have always hated dessert wine, thinking it’s far too sweet and pappy…but we tried eating some dark chocolate with high-cocoa percentage and then sipping on the dessert wine, and it was ludicrously tasty. At Christmas that stuff will be a hit with a chocolatey treat.

IMG_7058

5. Provenance isn’t everything

Some wines just have bloody good marketing campaigns behind them, and that is all that differentiates them from other seriously good wines from other regions. I think I’d open up to try different wines from regions I’ve never heard of before as a result of this trip, because you can discover some really delicious tipples that way.

IMG_6983You can buy these Umbrian wines in the UK, but I’m sceptical as to how they’d taste without the warm sun bouncing off a glittering swimming pool, the light sound of crickets in the background, and the added bonus of being served oaky pairing cheeses by a gracious Italian host.

We went tasting with Gusto Wine Tours who were excellent hosts, and were well informed about all things vino. Tours are a maximum of 160 Euro, with discounts for larger groups.