15 April, 2014

O U T F I T | Bournemouth Beach

Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters (available here)
Tie-Dye Shirt: Market Stall
Crop Top: Urban Outfitters
Skirt: Vintage
Necklace: Primark
Belt: Charity Shop

Yesterday marked one whole year since I met my boyfriend so as the sun was shining to celebrate we jumped on a short train journey to our nearest seaside of Bournemouth. It only takes around thirty minutes from Southampton, which means it's within arm's reach all throughout the summer. I was actually expecting it to be rather windy and a little bit chilly once we got to Bournemouth as I feel as if us British people set our expectations too high once the sun finally shows itself. Many a time when the sun comes out at the start of the year have I jumped on a train to the beach only to find myself shivering underneath a jumper whilst sat huddled on the sand. Luckily this time the weather was perfect! We spent the day strolling the beach, eating fish and chips (or battered sausage in my case because I hate fish!), rinsing all of our money in the Pier arcade and bathing in the rare sunshine. Somehow we defied all the rules and managed to win not one, but two cuddly toys from the claw machines!

I wore a rather summery ensemble with this lace bralet teamed with a mirrored, embellished vintage skirt I picked up months ago and had completely forgotten about. The tie-dye, longline shirt was also a winter purchase that I've been eagerly awaiting the ideal weather to wear! I just wish I could spend every Monday in the company of the sun, the sea and the sand.


13 April, 2014

O U T F I T | Stepping into Spring with TKMaxx

Dress*: c/o TKMaxx
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters
Necklace: eBay
Sandals: Primark

I was recently contacted by high street treasure haven TKMaxx to pick a dress from their current online range in order to help me prepare my spring summer wardrobe. I've shopped at TKMaxx for as long as I can remember as we have one local near to my home in Essex and an even bigger one here within walking distance in Southampton. Now, it's got to be said you have to have a lot of patience if you want to shop in store at TKMaxx, as they only have a selected few of each item they sell. It's pretty similar to vintage shopping but all the stock is brand spanking new high street or designer items at a fraction of the RRP. Now I'm a born rummager so I absolutely love their stores, but if that's not for you they also have an online website where everything is arranged in order and is stress-free!

I chose this black, textured embellished, shift dress by Tracy Reese for my spring capsule wardrobe. Although initially it may be seen as a rather festive party dress I was determined to make it more suited to summer. The unusual contrast textures and sixties stile shift shape drew me to it instantly. The past few days have been wonderfully sunny on the south coast so I slipped it on and paired it with my recent bargain white sandals from Primark and my current favourite sunglasses from Urban Outfitters. When it comes to styling this dress it seemed best to keep it simple as there's so many textures, patterns and embellishments going on in the dress alone. This dress is definitely an all-year round dress that'll remain a firm staple in my wardrobe for years to come!


12 April, 2014

R E C I P E | Ribeye Steak, Homemade Chips & Peppercorn Sauce with Maldon Salt

Now when it comes to food, I'm it's number one fan. When it comes to cooking it however, I'm a little lazy. If it wasn't for my other half I would have probably starved to death at some point over the past year. Either that or gone into a sugar coma of having one too many chocolate bar dinners. So, when I was approached by Maldon Salt to come up with two of my favourite flavours for spring I thought I would pass the bar over to the man usually behind the camera. When considering my favourite flavours for Maldon Salt's #flavourofspring competition there was no doubt in our mind that the top taste that we never tire of is a perfectly cooked steak with a creamy peppercorn sauce. It's a rather classic dish, but remains a firm favourite year after year.

What you will need (to serve 2):
  • 2 x Rib-eye Steaks
  • 4-5 medium sized Maris Piper potatoes
  • Maldon Smoked Salt
  • Maldon Peppercorns
  • Bunch of asparagus
  • Butter
  • 1/2 a beef stock cube
  • 1 small shallot
  • Pot of single cream
  • Maldon Salt Flakes (to top)
  • Olive or Vegetable Oil

1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees, fill an oven dish with about 1 inch or so of oil and pop in the oven to heat up whilst you prepare the food.
2. Season the steaks with a pinch of smoked salt either side and place them into separate freezer or sandwich bags, making sure you remove as much excess air as possible from the bag and secure at the top. Then place each of the bags into a bowl of warm water. This ensures the steaks are brought down to room temperature, which will make the end result more succulent. Leave to one side for steaks to warm.
3. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunky, traditional steak-sized chips. They can be as chunky as you like but the thicker they are you may have to extend the cooking times to make sure they are thoroughly cooked through.
4. Parboil the potatoes for 10 minutes. Keep checking them as you don't want them overboiling and turning into mash!

5. Once they are softened enough, drain the potatoes in a colander and shake them around to fluff them up. Whilst shaking them add 1 tablespoon of flour (optional) over them, which gives them a crispiness in the end result.
6. Add the potatoes to the hot oil in the oven, which should have heated up nicely by now. Toss the potatoes around so they're entirely covered in the oil. The oil should start to sizzle when the potatoes are placed in, so take extra care here. Pop back in the oven for between 20-25 minutes but keep an eye on them.

7. After around 15 minutes or so of the potatoes in the oven it's time for steak! Remove the steaks from the water and freezer bags and then pat them dry with kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Then after pre-heating some oil in a pan and making sure it's really hot, throw in the steaks. Cooking times are dependent on how you like your steak cooked. We prefer medium rare, which is approximately 90-110 seconds on each side of the steak on a high heat. Make sure you keep flipping the steak every 20 seconds or so whilst it fries.

8. Try to resist cutting into the steak to see if it's cooked. This will make sure the juices are sealed inside the steak for taste when you eat it. Once the steaks are cooked to your preference, remove them from the pan and wrap them in foil leaving them to rest for 5-10 minutes.
9. Remember to check on the chips, because they should be done by now. If so, turn off the heat of the oven but leave them in there to stay warm whilst you prepare the peppercorn sauce.
10. After taking the pan off of the heat, add a small amount of boiling water to the pan you used to cook the steaks in, keeping the excess juices in there. Only pour enough water just to cover the bottom of the pan. Add two tablespoons of butter, around 300ml of single cream, 1/2 cube of beef stock, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of crushed peppercorns and a splash of Worcester sauce (optional - we went without!) to the pan and stir together. Simmer the sauce until desired thickness - this should only take a few minutes.
11. Whilst the sauce is simmering either steam or boil the asparagus for a few minutes on the hob and drain.
12. Begin to dish up, but when unwrapping your steaks from the foil add the excess juices that have gathered into your sauce. If you prefer you can build chunky chip towers like we did!
13. EAT.

Keep your eyes peeled for the second and sweeter installment of our #flavourofspring using Maldon Salt coming soon! Afterall, dessert is always the best bit, right?