Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Simple Meals

In our house we regularly cook for one another and tonight my housemate Laura took the helm and decided to make her and I a lovely tasty dinner. She made ciabatta with Black olive tapenade and mozzarella and Pancettea salad. It was beyond amazing. So simple but really filling.

Firstly she chopped the ciabatta and drizzled it in olive oil, then put it in the oven at a high heat. She then thinly sliced the mozzarella, and shredded some lettuce into a bowl. She also put finely chopped pancettea onto a low heat to cook.

Once the ciabatta was lightly toasted she covered it in tapenade and placed a slice of mozzarella on top of each slice. These then where returned to the oven to melt. Then she drained the fat from the now cooked pancettea and tossed the pancettea with the lettuce. Finally drizzling some olive oil dressing lightly on the salad to flavour it.

Once the cheese was melted she served. Plates where cleared, this dish is so simple yet so full of flavour you would not believe. It would also make great canapés or a started.  This is why I love living with Laura she makes me tasty food.

Belinda Stepford

Monday, 27 February 2012

Freebie Product Review Number One

As promised I'm going to review all the things I got in my gloriously bright yellow Holly Fulton gift bag at London Fashion Weekend. I was not asked to do this and I am in no way sponsored to do this. I also ate the chocolate bar that came in it so that won't be being reviewed...  Anyway first sucker up is... Drum Roll Please.... 

Lavazza Quality Oro Coffee
I have a weakness for coffee, I know I shouldn't because I'm whitening my teeth (which is going amazingly by the way) and sometimes get heart palpitations but oh well.  The vanilla latte I had at London Fashion Weekend was Lavazza brand and it was gloriously creamy, so I was dubious to weather the at home version would stand up to the professional version. 

Firstly when I opened the packet the smell was heavenly, sort of nutty and sweet. The colour was really rich as well, I made mine in a French Press as that is the only coffee maker I currently own.  The sample I got was a medium roast, which was good for me as that tends to be my favourite.

As soon as the hot water hit the coffee the scent really insenified, this really is a fragrant brand. The scent was a lot sweeter than my usual coffee but in a good way. It was more gentle afternoon than brash wake you up scent. I stirred it with a wooden spoon then left it for two minutes before plunging the plunger.

Overall the coffee was really good, the flavour was rich but not over powering. It was a little sweet so I didn't need to add any extra sugar and it wasn't at all bitter. It was a very light enjoyable flavour, probably best suited for evenings or midday. It wasn't punchy enough for mornings. It wasn't as good as the store bought cup but without steamed milk I doubt it could be. Ultimately I would reccomend this coffee as it did taste really great, I just wouldn't go out of my way to buy it.

Belinda Stepford

Sunday, 26 February 2012

I went shopping today, I shouldn't really being a poor starving student and all... but this dress. This dress just spoke to me. I saw it days ago and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I just love it. So I bought it. Student  budget out the window, more than my weekly shop budget, but I figured if I don't buy it I will regret it. Its just so lovely and odd.

Its a red herring special again, I seriously adore red herring designs. They are so classic. It had little dachshunds and hearts all over, so it suites my life. How often do you see clothes with dachshunds on anyway? It did come with a really ugly tacky brown belt which is being relegated to the dressing up box. I'm going to buy a little red belt to go with it instead.

I desperately need a hair cut at the moment, its just so expensive where I live though and I'm so picky about my hair I don't want to go to a really cheap salon type place, I was meant to get it dyed and cut over christmas but there where literally no free appointments. I'm also bored of the blonde. I've been blonde for longer than I've ever kept a colour before so I fancy a change. I'm just not sure what. Maybe go back to a dark colour, closer to my winter shades, my natural hair is so changeable. I always ended up near blonde in summer it streaked that easily in the sun, so I suit most shades. I'm a little bit of a chameleon that way.

Belinda Stepford

Puppy Green Eyes

I'm so jealous of my Sister right now, she had to go to Sheffield to go to a Medics Ball with her med-student boyfriend, and managed to find train tickets that detoured home. She got to see the puppies. They are huge, I mean seriously huge now. She had a couple of hours sitting on the floor playing and cuddling then had to dash. 

I can not wait to go home next weekend, I really miss the little mushes. They will be eight weeks old on the 1st of March meaning they are officially old enough to leave home as soon as we get them vaccinated. Scary thoughts. I'm so glad I'm going home before any of them go, I also need to get some of my summer wardrobe back as the weather is hotting up here already.

Belinda Stepford

Saturday, 25 February 2012

London Fashion Weekend

My friend Emily won tickets to London Fashion Weekend sponsored by Vodafone and took me as her plus one. What a babe. We started the day with lectures then made a dash for the train and set off to London. I decided to rock the bunches look as inspired by r/2xc's which apparently braids are very on trend, so that was a discovery. 

We arrived in London early so took the time to stroll about and see the sites a bit before we went to Fashion weekend. I managed to find our bearings and get us to the river which is the easiest place to navigate from. The weather was amazing, surprisingly so for England this time of year, so we ambled about in the sunshine looking at attractive men in suits and just enjoying the city. Then we headed to The River Front cafe on south bank for lunch. Sitting in the window watching the world go by, doesn't really get much better than that does it. I had the most amazing ice cream for lunch with a nice glass of cider.

After our leisurely lunch we crossed the river and roamed about the financial side of the river, saw the houses of parliament and generally enjoyed just being in London for a while.  Emily wore a black jacket and flowery body hugging dress, I wore my charity shop find vintage Jaegar jacket and a mark and spencers dress. 

We then headed to Summerset House to go to Fashion Weekend, where we picked up our tickets and goodie bags (a blog going through and reviewing all the products to follow) The quad was light up and filled with fashionable people and music. It was great spectacle, I mean so people looked ridiculous one girl with a botoxed face and bright orange layered tulle maxi dress particularly took the cake showing exactly the difference between fashion and style. Some girls wobbled across the cobble stones in their heels like new born deer and some strode confidently about. 

We started by perusing the stalls, oh my gosh it is a different world! I mean the clothes where beautiful absolutely stunning and the fabrics felt delicate and soft but the cost of some of the things just hanging on racks was insane. I mean vest tops for sixty odd pounds goodness. The Jaegar stand made me weak at the knees, it defiantly stands as a symbol of aspiration to me. There where women there looking at dresses for over two hundred commenting on they have things from last year they haven't even worn yet and still buying more. I mean the wealth was just obscene. We trawled for hours there was so much to see. We went to a talk by the make up editor of Elle magazine where she covered the make up trends this season. Bright eye shadows and nail polishes, Underwater theme so shimmery highlights and pearlesent tones, Earthy and lots of bronzer (not too keen on this look) and naturally shiny so powder the t zone and moisturise the cheeks. 

We had some time to kill before the fashion show so we stopped for a coffee and a catch up about the days events. Emily really didn't feel at home in this world of money and extravagance, where as I felt more than at easy sidling around with these people. We both don't come from wealthy backgrounds but I guess the private school upbringing has lead me to feel at ease with money. I didn't feel the need to buy anything but Emily had to talk herself out of spending because she felt she should. I guess there is a problem with the fashion world that it is so money orientated. Style can be dirt cheap but fashion has a price tag, that is why I shall always follow the former.  We then queued up and took our seats for the cat walk. We had great seats, second row near the end of the catwalk and as it wasn't one of the main shows ( not complaining we where there free) the front row didn't fill up so we got a great view.

The first collection out was Holly Fulton worn with Christain Kouboutin shoes. The collection was based on fashionistas who spend all their money and end up spending summer in Margate, so a bit tongue in cheek with plenty of edgy beach inspired style thrown in. A very achievable look, the make up was minimal but some dramatic eye shadows and the hair was either braided or slightly styled loose hair. 

The next collection out was my absolute favourite, Prim Rose paired with New Look shoes and Vintage Handbags, totally my kind of look. It was very pastel and peter pan collars, very Grace Kelly well to do look about it. Even some pearls thrown in for good measure. 

As this line ended the runway lights shut off one by one following the model and it was really visually stunning.

Next came Antipodium, sort of sporty but silky.  A really fun wearable look with bold colours and prints mixed with creams and beige tones.  I actually rather liked this look, a lot of it was the kind of stuff I already wear. Very vintage inspired.

The next collection was not my style, it was bit to J-Lo sports style for my preference but they did put it together really well and the bold colours where absolutely stunning contrasting really well against the pale colours of the other collections. Game On with shoes by katmaconie and bags by Pauric Sweeny. They did do some lovely pieces but the mens wear was just awful, I always find the case at catwalks the womens wear is sort of wearable (most of what was shown was) but the mens wear never is.


The final show stopping collection was Jasper Conran, oh my gosh beautiful. Linens and beach wear, muted tones and brights mixed all together in a effortlessly chic way. This seasons look is truly beautiful.

And with that the show was over, well London Fashion Weekend continues but we had been there for hours and it was rather late so we decided to head for home. I really enjoyed myself and I am so glad Emily chose to take me with her. I also saw some positive changes in the fashion world, the models where thin but toned and healthy faced, well, all but one. A scrawny sick looking girl who looked like she was dragging herself down the catwalk in a drug haze. Why is this a positive you ask... The comments and tension in the room when she walked was palpable. Things are changing, that is no longer acceptable and it showed. Even the twiggy girls on the VIP row where passing comment on how she shouldn't be on the show. That is the start of the win for getting healthier models. 

Well as Emily and I headed for the train station we stopped and ate burgers, because its logical see skinny girls need a burger. Good Times. 

Belinda Stepford