OUTFIT

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Howdy!

Goodness, it's been a while since I've done one of these. However, yesterday was a bit of a shopping day, and these things need to be commemorated, right kids?

Hat - Chaos; Jacket - Paul Smith (via Oxfam); Necklace - Cos; Boyfriend Tee - ASOS; Handbag - Vida Vida; Woolen Leggings - Joseph

Let's quickly acknowledge the fact that I'm wearing a ski hat. It's June in two days. This is really not ok. Having got that out of the way, we can now move on to the fact that I am pretty sure I am wearing the coolest jacket that ever was, is, or will be. Whoever donated this bad boy to Oxfam, I salute you big time! 

Rings (L-R): Antique; Katrina Phillips; Topshop; Chanel 

I've also discovered my new favourite Shellac shade - meet Lobster Roll. 

Boots - Topshop

These are another recent acquisition and possibly my favourite boots ever. They'll be making many more appearances, as I plan on wearing them until they fall off my feet. 

If you're around London tonight, or tomorrow, then you should seriously get thee down to the Motel Sample Sale! I popped in earlier, and emerged with lots of new threads and barely a dent in my wallet!


If you heed my advice, and find yourself in the area, go for sustenance at the Speakeasy Espresso Bar. Their Portuguese Custard Tarts and Flat Whites are a perfect combination, and it's full of interesting characters - today I got chatting to the owner of Pitt Cue, who ended up taking my outfit pictures for me... I think he did a rather splendid job!


He told me I should swing by for a bite sometime, which is now definitely top of my London to do list. Have you been? What's good to order?

Mona.

RASPBERRY & BASIL SORBET

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Hey Cool Cats,

Last weekend was very special, for two reasons; firstly, it was a Bank Holiday. This means that all my nearest and dearest downed tools for three whole days, which were solely dedicated to playing. Secondly, the sun came out. I don't know how much you know about us Brits, but when this happens, we basically like to run around in very little clothing, shrieking "At last! Vitamin D! Cure us of our SAD!" (well, pretty much).

The lovely Henry and I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to break out my new toy ice cream maker, and try a recipe for Raspberry and Basil Sorbet that a friend sent me. It sounds a little odd, but the basil flavour is really subtle, just adding a refreshing little twist to a traditional sorbet. I've just purchased a Magimix Le Glacier 1.5, but if you don't have a machine, this Busy in Brooklyn tutorial will help you whip up a perfect sorbet. 



You will need:

500g raspberries
40 large basil leaves
200g sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1tsp of vanilla extract


To start off, you'll need to make sugar syrup; put your sugar, vanilla extract, and half of your basil leaves into a bowl and add 200ml of boiling water, stirring until your sugar is dissolved. Leave to sit for ten minutes (to make it nice and basilly!) 


Wash your raspberries well and pop them in a blender with your lemon juice (you'll get more juice from a room temperature lemon).


Sieve your sugar syrup and add 300ml to your raspberries, and then blend until it forms a puree.


Sieve the puree, saving all of the liquid, but binning the pips - this takes a little bit of time, but is totally worth the effort. Transfer the liquid to your ice cream maker, and let it get to work.


While your mixture is churning, de-stem and vein your remaining basil leaves, and chop them up til they're teeny tiny and then add them to your sorbet.


Keep an eye on its progress, and when crystals start to form, turn the machine off, put the sorbet in a container, and pop it in the freezer. Keep it in there for at least twelve hours, but be sure to transfer it to the fridge for about fifteen minutes before serving, so that it reaches the perfect scoopable consistency. 


And there you have it. Perfect sorbet!

We found that this sorbet was the cherry on top of a pretty perfect Bank Holiday Sunday, which was awash with Pimms...


... Barbecue... 



... Begging puppies...


... And catching some rays.


It was, truth be told, the kind of Sunday where you look around and wonder why on Earth you would ever want to be anywhere else? But then you wake up two days later, look out of the window, and oh, look, your garden has flooded because it's raining so much. Classic. Luckily, you're never so optimistic that you put your wellies away for the Summer. 


So we take the perfect days where we can. And eat lots of sorbet and ice cream, because we can, without getting brain freeze, and they make those perfect days even more delightful...

... As do silly friends, and jugs of Pimms.


How did you spend the long weekend? Also, if you have any amazing ice cream or sorbet recipes, you know what to do. I want to stockpile my freezer for the next sunny day!

Mona.

THE MILLENNIUM HOTEL, MAYFAIR

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Hey Cool Cats,

On Monday I was lucky enough to be invited to a Bloggers Cocktail Class, hosted by Millennium and Copthorne Hotels at one of their swankiest spots, The Mayfair Hotel London, which is tucked away on Grosvenor Square. This sounded just like my idea of a good time, so I left Baloo with a friend (under strict instructions not to give him too much wine), grabbed my camera and headed out to go and play.


After some bubbles and nibbles (after which I'd basically already decided that I bloody love this hotel group*) and chatting to some lovely Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, and London bloggers, we were shown around the hotel, which, quite frankly, was bloomin' lovely. And yes, that is atrocious wordplay, because my favourite thing about it was the fresh flowers and plants that were to be found all over the show.


When we were shown around a suite, I momentarily considered refusing to leave, and claiming Squatter's Rights. It was such a beautiful space, as well as being absolutely massive. I've always loved the idea of living in a hotel, haven't you?

With Sheree from GLITZNGRIME
I was pretty well-behaved, and did not (A) jump on the amazingly huge bed or (B) instigate any pillow fights. In hindsight, these both seemed like missed opportunities but what can you do about it? 


The views were absolutely stunning, my shabby photography really doesn't do it justice. Grosvenor Square is beautifully calm and green considering it's hiding just behind Oxford Street! 


However, the view that really took my breath away was that from the roof; I'm not sure how well you can make it out (again, my apologies for my totally pants camera skills) but you can see so many major landmarks from there (ten points to Gryffindor if you can see The Shard!).


Anyway. On to the serious bit. They taught us how to make mojitos. But, you know, in a fancy way. Properly. I feel that this is some knowledge I should share, right?

Making mojitos with Lucie, Sheree and Sarah.

MOJITO: HERE'S HOW:

Put four pieces of lime into a tall glass and muddle them with a muddler (this is just fancy terminology for squeeze all the juice out). When it's muddled, add 1 and 1/2 barspoons of soft brown sugar and stir well. Next, pick a whole stalk of mint. Save the top - this will be your garnish - and pick off the other leaves. Put the leaves on the palm of your hand, and clap. Clapping is better than muddling as it doesn't release the tannins in the mint that would make your drink bitter (how knowledgable do I sound right now?). Add these to your drink, and then a double measure of dark rum. Stir well, then fill your glass with crushed ice, and top up with soda water. Pop in a straw, and then place the minty garnish next to the straw (apparently so that you can smell the mint while you're sipping. Smart, ey?).


And that's how you make a perfect mojito! So don't say I never teach you anything.


Thank you so much to Millennium and Capthorne, and to the girls at Greenlight, for having me at such a fun event. I adore any chance to play with other bloggers, and an evening in such a fancy hotel and bar was a real treat!

I think cocktail making might be a bit of a hidden talent of mine. Time to get experimental in the drinks cupboard. Watch this space!

Do you have any good drinks recipes to share?

Mona.

*Just kidding, my affections aren't so easily bought. Had they given me cake, however, it would have been a different story...

MONA DOES SINGING (KIND OF)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Depending on how long you've been following, you may or may not remember the band who embarrassed meYours & Mine. Well, the Universe threw me an opportunity a few months ago in the form of the boys asking me if I'd like to join them occasionally on stage to ooh, aah, yeah yeah yeah, and hit a tambourine. 

Which frankly just sounded like too much fun to be passed up!



Here's a little video from a gig we played at the Lock Tavern in Camden for Balcony TV before I went away. I discovered that I am very nervous about sound checks, and that red wine is a perfect tonic for stage fright. All in all, a great night was had by all!


I'm going to be doing some more singing, tambourining and awkward dancing over the next few months, and if you're around then I'd absolutely love you to come and have a wiggle with me!


Next Saturday, we're playing at Latest Music Bar in Brighton as part of the Alternative Escape... If you're a Brighton-kid, come and get involved! 

Also, I'm looking for "stage wear" so if you know of anything that's just too cute to pass up wearing whilst I play out my pop star fantasies, drop me a line!

Lots of love,

Mona

(Backing Singer Extraordinaire) 
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