Friday, 17 April 2015

Fun & interior envy at The Flour Pot, Brighton


I heard somewhere that Brighton has the most pubs, restaurants and cafés per square mile than anywhere else in the UK. When new restaurants and cafés come to town, you'd expect owners to compete for business but I'm not sure Brighton business owners see other companies as competitors. There's an unspoken ethos between business owners in and around the North Laine that welcomes the new kids, and supports and encourages everyone to attract locals to the area. There's enough pie to go round for everyone and I love this shared ethos in business. 

The Flour Pot Bakery, although not quite a newbie to the North Laines, but very much new to me, took over an old antiques/furniture crafting store not long ago, at the top of Gloucester Road on Sydney Street. Following the Brighton Food Festival during the Easter bank holiday, Neil & I found ourselves parked nicely on one of their wooden benches with a cappuccino in hand, amazed at the look and atmosphere of the place. What was once a fairly dark and uneventful space, now sits one of Brighton's nicest coffee shops to chill and get inspired in. 

The interior decoration has this rustic yet traditional vibe which sort of distracted me in conversation. The copper lighting, striking black and white floor tiles and pale wooden seating look fantastic against the smoky grey exterior - and I still find myself wondering who is behind the interior plans that were in place; they have my dream job :)
I regrettably didn't go for cake whilst I was there, instead we tried one of their  scrumptious home baked sausage rolls which kept us ticking over, and I had my first cup of coffee of the year. Caffeinated, that is. Thank God there were no palpitations as I usually get. 

10/10 for this fun space. Sometimes when you're in need of interior inspiration, you don't need to look as far as your local coffee house. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

4 tips for freshening up your style

Yellow coat / Style ››

You might have read my post on lazy weekends not long ago. I discussed my want to change from the same ol' scruffy Spongebob squarepants pyjama bottoms, to something a little more grown up without compromising on pure comfort. Well my day to day style has taken a similar approach. 

I have never been overly interested in personal fashion, (everyone else's, I'm all for it). As long as it fits, is easy to wash, throw on and in a dark flattering colour, clothes ticked boxes for me. A large part of my disinterest comes down to preferring to spend my hard earned money on interior finds instead of looking good, but since turning 24 I've decided it's time to step out of my 'same old' comfort zone and embrace colour for a more 'grown up' look. 

Here are 4 ways I'm doing a style re-fresh:

Yellow coat / Style ››

1. Make seasonal changes working to a tight budget

I'm sure you're well aware of the 'capsule wardrobe' debate, so I won't bore you with definitions. Well, I'm all for it. I've emptied my wardrobe clear of all but approximately 50 or so items that I wear all the time. Every month, I'm allowing myself £50 and no more to purchase a few 'disposable' seasonal items or any necessities, such as colourful bits and pieces or accessories to jazz up outfits. Shopping in places like George at Asda make it so easy to achieve a particular look on a super tight budget. They have some fantastic Spring clothing that you need to see. It rivals Topshop for a quarter of the cost.

Yellow coat / Style ››

Yellow coat / Style ››


2. Buy one thing you'd never think you'd wear

It's all too easy to get stuck in a style rut. I've been in one for 24 years, only wearing dark, slimming colours and opting for the most basic clothes that don't need much thought to accessorise. I bought this bright yellow coat knowing full well I'd be scared to walk out of the house with it on, and it's one of the best things I have ever done. It's so unbelievably bright and fun, and so unlike anything I'd usually wear, that it's given me the confidence to experiment more with colour and cuts.

Yellow coat / Blogger Style ››

Yellow coat / Blogger Style ››

3. Copy, copy, copy!

Fifi styling the perfect outfit? I can dream on. As a rookie when it comes to personal style, and unsure of what goes with what, I've took to Pinterest to teach me the basics. I have a pinterest board called 'gladrags' where I pin my favourite looks, and once payday comes and I have my budget of £50 to buy some bits, I look at these pins to see how I can copy my favourite blogger's style. It's as easy as that. 

Yellow coat / Blogger Style ››

Yellow coat / Blogger Style ››

4. Invest in staples like stripes & jeans

Dependent on your style of course. Everyone has their own staple look. Whether it's short dresses & ankle boots, jeans & t-shirts, or blouses & high waisted skirts. For me, it's stripes & jeans. They're the two style items that make me happy and comfortable. Recognising this, I invest in long lasting, well cut jeans and lots of different stripy tops because I know I'll not stop wearing them for months and months. I love these high waisted jeans from George, they're super tight fitting and acid wash. And this bardot style stripy top is my new fave. 

Any other tips you can share for a more grown up look?

Outfit:

Yellow coat, £15, George
Striped top, £8, George
High waist jeans, £16, George
Bag, New Look
Wellies, Hunter
Necklace, £1.50 Primark 

 

Credits // Photography by Neil W Shaw, outfit c/o George Asda

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Easter baking | Vanilla & Coconut chick biscuit pops



The long Easter bank holiday is one of my favourite times of the year. The prefect opportunity for relaxing, baking, or hammering your to-do list. 

I've planned to do a complete redecoration of a big bedroom at my Mum's place for her, so my weekend will be pretty full on, sanding, painting, decorating and styling, but I thought I'd share a cute Easter bake if you're planning on a more relaxing spin. This one is fresh from my BBC Good Food Magazine subscription (which I'm loving!) and it's a great one to do with children.

I actually did this bake for Red Nose Day (you can see a chick in there sporting a shiny red nose!) in collaboration with Home Sense but was way too late in sharing it, so saved it for Easter. Big applause is in order for Home Sense a grand total of £4m for charity during RND - how awesome is that? Go team.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Here's the recipe if you fancy trying. First appeared in Good Food magazine




Makes 15-18 biscuits

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter
100g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
yellow food colouring
75g desiccated coconut
50g chocolate chips
25g orange fondant icing (or make your own, like I did)

Tools

15-18 lolly sticks (make sure they're oven proof!)

Recipe

1. Put half the butter and all the sugar in a bowl. Beat together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and half the vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. 

2. Tip the flour into the mixture and mix until it comes together ito form a dough. Gather up into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 mins. 

3. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.  Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Put the biscuit dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out until about 5mm thick. Cut out the biscuits using a 6cm round cutter. 

4. Transfer the biscuits to their prepared trays and insert the lolly sicks into the sides, just 1/4 of the way through. Bake for 6-7 mins or until golden brown then allow to cool completely before icing. 

5. Meanwhile, make some buttercream frosting. Place the remaining softened butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the icing sugar. 1 tbsp at a time until thoroughly incorporated and you have a smooth, creamy texture.  Add a little milk and the remaining vanilla extract with a few drops of food colouring to give a pale yellow colour. Chill for 5 mins. 

6. Put the desiccated coconut in a small bowl and add a few drops of the yellow food colouring. Mix well until pale yellow or keep white if desired. 

7. Spread the buttercream frosting over one side of the biscuit and sprinkle with the coconut. Add 2 chocolate chips to make the eyes and pinch some orange fondant icing to shape a beak. 



Et voila! Your chick biscuits are complete and ready for devouring. 

If you try making these, don't forget to send me a photo on twitter! I'm @fifimcgeee!