Friday, 27 July 2012

Team GB

Unless you've been living in a cocoon over the past couple of months you'll know that tonight is the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. I'm not particularly excited about them being hosted in London. I don't have tickets and stand by the view that you see more watching on TV. Obviously you miss some of the atmosphere but the actual sports are captured in such amazing detail and the achievements are always fascinating, made more so by knowing athletes backgrounds by way of commentary.

I cannot wait, however, for the events themselves. They will be addictive, enticing and striking I'm sure. Worldwide brand, American Apparel, have just launched these tees especially for the games and their advertising campaign is a serious of incredible Olympic memories, captured in photographs. They really are stunning.

So, the sports will be amazing. London will be packed (I'm avoiding as much as I can over the next 16 days!) and many people are going to be left with great memories, watching, competing and being involved in the atmosphere. The fashion is sure to also be incredible in the capital and I'm looking forward to seeing the reports, multi-cultural outfits, trends and ideas.

Enriqueta Basilio, Mexico 1968

Nadia Comaneci

Wilma Glodean Rudolph

'...You can get lost, or you can get discovered...' - Dizzy Rascal speaking about the Olympic Games, 27th July 2012

Let the games begin <3

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pimms Ice Lollies

This week is set to just get hotter - yay! We might finally get a smmer; we can at least hope!

These yummy grown up lollies are perfect for sunny days and garden parties and incredibly easy to make.

Ingredients for 8 lollies:

20 strawberries, hulled and halved
150ml Pimms (or more if you're feeling thirsty!)
300ml lemonade left to go flat
Handful of fresh mint leaves

Lolly moulds

Push 5 strawberry halves, cut side facing out into the lolly moulds. Mix together the pimms and FLAT lemonade (to avoid expansion when freezing) and pour over the strawberries. Add a couple of mint leaves to each mould and insert a wooden lolly stick - the strawberries will hold the stick in place. Pop in the freezer over night, run under the tap to release when you're ready for refreshment! You could of course vary the fruit and add raspberries, pieces of orange and lemon to ensure a truly 'Pimms' experience.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Freshly Squeezed

There's nothing better, or better for you than freshly squeezed juice. It uses up old fruit and is fantastic for breakfast, especially on hot summer days. The only downside really is having to wash up the juicer afterwards and that's not even that bad!

For breakfast yesterday we made freshly squeezed apple, raspberry and blueberry juice. It was a really yummy combination but any fruit works well; apple, carrot and ginger; orange, passion fruit and pineapple; banana, orange and apple; apple and beetroot - they're all great!

(for 2 people)

4 apples
A handful of raspberries
A handful of blueberries

And it really is as simple as popping them all through the juicer. Serve in nice glasses over ice for ultimate refreshment!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Fig & Olive

I've spent the best part of the last week in London, catching up with friends, going to events, hanging out with my sisters and working at a festival - blog post to come!

On Friday, I went for lunch with a girlfriend from Uni to Fig and Olive on Upper Street in Islington. Conveniently located in the heart of Islington, the restaurant is a light and airy space, decorated in a beautifully modern style. A choice of armchairs and tables and a choice of breakfast, lunch or supper, the restaurant is definitely worth a try for locals and visitors alike. Our route to the restaurant wasn't a direct one. Helen has been looking for a headboard for her bed in the new Uni house for a while now and we saw one outside a gorgeous town house by Highbury Fields so we took a detour via her house with the wrought iron headboad that for some reason was no wanted by its owners. One man's gold is another's rubbish as they say!! We earnt our lunch at least!

Fig & Olive pride themselves on fresh ingredients and I chose an Asparagus and Spinach Risotto which was delicious. Helen went for a Mezze platter which included pitta bread, humous, halloumi and ratatouille. Dishes that were light enough for lunch but filled a hole.

What's really enticing about the restaurant though is the display on cakes and salads in the window, visible from the street to draw in customers! Chocolate tortes, cakes and gateaux of all shapes and sizes; cheesecake; tarts; pastries adorn the display space and its incredibly hard to choose between them! We shared a chocolate and cream cake which was yummy and didn't last long enough to take a photo of!!

It was lovely to catch up with Helen and great to try somewhere new in London, especially in Islington where I spend most of my time when I'm visiting my sister who's based there.

Visit Fig & Olive's website for more details and to look at sample menus:

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Pancakes are one of my absolute favourite things. At uni we have pancake and wine nights where everyone eats their body weight and the wine is always dreadful but they hold some of the funnest memories for me.

Perfect for breakfast or dessert, I've been making them a lot recently whenever we've had people to stay - they have the added bonus of being cheap and appealing to both sweet and savoury tastes by means of fillings...

My favourite recipe is in The River Cottage Family Cookbook but pancakes are one of those things that once you've made them a few times you can just feel when the batter is right and add more or less ingredients as required. This recipe is a great starting point though and will make about 15 pancakes, or in my case much thinner crepes.

Plain flour, 250g
A pinch of salt
Free range eggs, 2
Milk, about 500ml, and then a little more (or 1/2 water, 1/2 milk if you'd prefer)
Sunflower oil for frying

Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl of jug, crack in the eggs and start to mix, using either a hand whisk or electric mixer. Slowly add in the milk and continue to mix until there are no lumps of flour - ensure the mixture is the right consistency: not quite as thick as single cream is ideal.

Heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick frying pan and use a piece of kitchen roll to wipe the oil round the pan to ensure that it is all covered. Once hot, add some batter, tilt the pan to cover the base and once the pancake can be lifted at the edges using a spatula, (or moves when the pan is shaken) flip to cook on both sides.

Slide the pancake on to a warm plate and experiment with fillings!

I went for Nutella, dark chocolate buttons and dessicated coconut. It was amazing!

A squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sugar works really well as does jam and a little clotted cream or honey or maple syrup. Pancakes can of course be savoury but lets be honest, where's the fun in that!

Monday, 16 July 2012

West Mersea Oyster Bar

Yesterday, I had the most perfect Sunday.

One of my best friends from school has been living in Sweden for a year and I hadn't seen him for 6 months. I got a lovely surprise when I found out that he was back in Suffolk on Saturday and spent the day pottering with him.

A long walk long walk across the fields in Dedham followed by olives and Aspall cider at my favourite country side pub, The Sun Inn and we ended up spontaneously heading to the West Mersea Oyster Bar for an early supper. 

West Mersea Oyster Bar started in 2006 with Michael Dawson as an expansion to his oyster business. It soon became huge success. On April 1st 2010, Chris Avila & Sel Yuzen took over with an improved menu & much more. Located on the sea front on West Mersea Island, the Oyster Bar serves only fish, as the name suggests but it is the freshest most delicious fish and it is always such a treat to go there!

The venue is literally a shed, with strip lights and wooden tables and benches. The chefs cook in the same room as the customers eat in, standing behind a wooden bar and the best wine is the House, very cheap and very drinkable.

Despite it being a very muddy day, I had been prepared and worn wellies for the walk (at which point it was still gorgeously sunny!) so we started off sitting outside. This is the view...

I wore a silk and lace shirt, leggings, vintage scarf, my favourite cashmere socks that I miss wearing when its actual summer and wellies - country casual!

We have mirrors in the garden so thought I may as well utilise them - the plants aren't going to after all!!

The 'shed'... built on the site of original oyster purification tanks and very much in keeping with the natural landscape.

The interior after a recent re-vamp...

Whenever we visit the restaurant we always order the same: Oysters followed by Lobster. Overt luxury and totally delicious.

Taken from and totally fascinating:

A rock oyster produces about 100 million babies a year and native about 1 million

An oyster is bisexual - female one year, male the next

Oysters have been around for 200 million years, unchanged

Oysters have two beating hearts

Native oysters can live up to 30 years

Oysters have been cultivated in the creeks of Mersea since Roman times

The mains... Lobster in garlic butter with fat chips and dressed salad - I wish I'd order a whole Lobster rather than a half!

If you're ever in Essex The West Mersea Oyster Bar is so worth a visit. You can get take out in summer and sit on the beach, or at the tables overlooking the water and mud flats outside the restaurant. Or you can take in the very local atmosphere of this increasingly popular secret by booking a table inside.

Contact the restaurant for menus, bookings and more information:

   01206 381600

   West Mersea Oyster Bar
Coast Road
West Mersea

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Friday Night Supper

To celebrate keeping child, cats and house alive and standing for two weeks of house-sitting, Catherine and I went out for Supper on Friday eve. We went to Milsoms, a local favourite in Dedham, Essex.

Created within the surroundings of a grand Victorian country house, milsoms is a
stylish bar/brasserie with fifteen stylish bedrooms. Food at milsoms is created
by Chef Director Stas Anastasiades, his influences are taken from around the
world but his menus always use lots of local and seasonal produce; his
successful style and creativity were rewarded with an AA Rosette within 3 weeks
of opening. Seating in the restaurant is on 2 levels with a fabulous
terrace overlooking the extensive, manicured gardens. A huge canopy and outdoor heaters make outdoor dining a reality for much of the year.

We started with Pimms, followed by Squid with a dipping sauce to follow.

Catherine had sausages and mash for her main - a Milsoms speciality.

I went for the Gourmet Veggie Burger. Halloumi, aubergine on a burger bun with Tzatziki and Fat Chips, and veggies as a side. - Milsoms give an extra side with all mains i.e. if you eat there you have no excuse but to become obese which is never a bad thing when the food is so yum!

We were ridiculous and also had dessert (we were celebrating after all!). Snickers cheese cake with honeycomb ice cream and my god it was good!

Although we couldn't quite finish it, unsurprisingly!!

The restaurant...
And the interior, very chilled atmosphere with the bar as the central focus and orders being placed at the pass, not taken by waitresses, adding to the informal atmosphere. I've been going to Milsoms since I was about 5 and still love it for all occasions, as do most of the locals!

I'm now back home from house-sitting and a couple of weeks of crazy-ness and its been really nice to have some chill out time - I always forget how much I miss home until I'm back!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

FOCUS from Ari Kruger

Truly one of the most beautiful pieces of cinematography I have ever come across. I found this last year and I am still mesmerised everytime I watch it. It has both style and substance, which is such a refreshing thing to see as well of course as stunning composition. Written and directed by Ari Kruger who you can check out on Twitter here: .

Sometimes, things just aren’t quite what they seem….


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Museum of Young Art, Prague

After visiting the Museum of Young Art in Prague a few weeks ago, I was planning on writing a review; the environment in which the works are displayed is one of the most striking, unusual and often haunting that I have ever experienced and the works are thought provoking and often controversial, as seems to be the trend with young artists, most notably the YBAs (Young British Artists) in the 1990s.

However, having pondered on the exhibition since leaving Prague and then conducted some of my own research, I came across an article published in the Prague Post upon the opening of the exhibition in June of last year. The article perfectly sums up everything that I wish to say about the exhibition, at this stage at least, and so I have opted to simply share it as a reference point, perhaps for my own future wiriting and research.

The one exhibit that is not mentioned that I feel I must however document, is that of Trans Rat Fashion (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau.

When the work is seen in the decrepid state of the old Palace (explained below), it really is thought provoking and I will leave these images with you for contemplation…

Four giant guns hang mid-air in a courtyard, aiming at each other. Nearby, a green Semtex pig flies over an ancient staircase. Why? Because a new art museum with a focus on young artists has breathed life into the empty Colloredo-Mansfeld palace.

The location of the Artbanka Museum of Young Art (AMoYA) couldn’t be better: just a few meters from Charles Bridge off Karlova street. Every day, thousands of people, mainly tourists, walk by. However, it is not only the location that makes this museum unique, but also the fact that it is focused primarily on young Czech and Slovak artists.

“Such a project was very much missing here, especially if you take into consideration the opinion of the wider public. Although there are some experts and theoreticians focused on young artists, the wider public has very little knowledge of it,” said museum manager Irena Satkeová. “People are more interested in big names and old art, and young art remains somehow forgotten. I believe our museum demonstrates what a pity it is to leave it aside. It is high-quality art, at least at the same level as the foreign art we admire.”

Entering the museum space, one thing is absolutely clear: This is not a typical art museum with large, silent rooms and strict custodians and security cameras monitoring your every move. The Colloredo-Mansfeld palace has an appropriate history for such a venture, including the first art exhibition of Krasoumná jednota (Fine Arts-skill Club), which was founded in 1835 by the Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts. One of the purposes for that foundation was to support local young artists.

AMoYA thus inherited both the palace and the idea from an earlier era. The idea has lost nothing of its spark since its original 19th century conception, but one cannot say the same about the palace. During the communist era, the building was converted into flats, and beginning in 1953, the Academy of Sciences kept its archives there. During these years, many insensitive modifications were made to the building, leaving one to wonder how anyone could have been allowed to ruin such majestic architecture.

“We managed to prepare the palace for opening in just four weeks,” Satkeová said. “First, we wanted to make sure we could open the exhibition while the main tourist season was still ongoing, and the [quick preparation] was also the result of our enthusiasm. But we didn’t do a complete renovation; we did some basic renovations like painting and cleaning. We purposely left some of the space as it was because we wanted to show the absurd modifications made in the past, and also for a very prosaic reason: money.”

The exhibition is an impressive and lively mixture with many notable pieces, including a giant statue called Jesus Christ, Superstar(t) by Kamera Skura hanging in an ugly staircase hall in the position of a crucified man, only without the cross. Instead, the tights-wearing Jesus is actually turning on gymnast’s rings.

Provocation is one of the main means by which many young artists attract attention, but it would be a mistake to see nothing more in such work. This art is trying to critically name the maladies of our society and thus is offering an unusual look at our day-to-day reality.

AMoYA presents not just students of art or young artists but also their teachers and influential professors. One can even find the work of internationally established artists like Jiří Černický, whose green “Pegasus Semtex” from 1997 floats above a baroque staircase in the building. On display are also works by Milan Knížák, Jiří David and Lukáš Rittstein, to name but a few.

“Partly, we are trying to garner more attention [by including] these famous artists, but these are also university professors we cooperate with. We mainly present their disciples or followers, so we are trying to show the connection between those who are already established and famous and those who follow them,” Satkeová said.

AMoYA may have been opened in record time, but the idea of supporting young artists has been developing for quite a while. A few months before the museum opened its doors, the same team of collaborators established Artbanka, a business venture intended to support young artists by amassing a collection of work from young artists that private companies and public offices can rent.
According to Satkeová, the Artbanka team cooperates with a number of art universities and heads of ateliers to find young talent. There are, no doubt, many young artists who need support, and Artbanka offers a collection that may attract a lot of attention.

“Artists are most innovative and creative when they are searching for their own language,” Satkeová said. “The time when an artist leaves school and forms his own point of view is very important, and this is the time we focus on.”

All images (below) copyright: Ali Moss-Thomas, 2012

The main interior staircase on the right of the building, shown from the top floor.

The interior of one of the main rooms in which exhibts are currently on display.

The exterior of the building with ‘guns’ on display.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Face Magazine, July 1990

The 3rd Summer of Love

“The Daisy Age”

Presenting some of the most iconic images of the fashion world, the July 1990 edition of The Face magazine was a launch platform for both the career of photographer Corrine Day and that of model Kate Moss. Phil Bicker, the editor of the teenage magazine commissioned a shoot of fifteen year old Moss and the images were published both as the cover photo and as a feature within. A black and white image series was produced on Camber Sands, a traditional seaside resort with an ‘ordinary’ young model and items included were unusual: they weren’t desirables or highly contrived - ‘Vogue’ - as was the expectation of fashion photography in the decade.

For Day, the shoot launched her career. She portrayed an attitude and lifestyle; an antithesis to traditional fashion photography and it captured attention. Moss became an iconic name, going on to work regularly for Vogue and building an enduring career that has already spanned three decades. Kate Moss is central to the narrative of Day’s career and reputation, and she became a selling point for The Face, going on to be the focus of later issues. The photos worked to show the models personality, ‘who Kate was[1]’ and teenagers could connect with this: she was shown as an ‘ordinary girl’ and was thus relatable.

The magazine was influential in showcasing trends to its audience –fashion, music, politics, a new art direction and celebrity status were focused upon – and it has become known as the decades “style bible”[2]. The images of Moss are representative of British youth culture: ‘The pictures were fresh, fun, carefree of pretension, completely honest and totally now. It was 21 years ago, but they still look totally ‘now’, now[3]’. The magazine, and the model, of the July 1990 issue were a point of interest for traditional British teenagers; the magazine was reputable and the features it showcased were seen to be a part of popular culture and thus bought into by readers. The Face could set trends, as was the case with the model-photographer team in ‘The 3rd Summer of Love’ shoot.

In 2011 The Face was added to the permanent collection of the Design Museum, London and it also featured in a Postmodernism exhibition at the V&A. While in print, the magazine cost less than £1 to purchase and yet it is now considered a museum piece illustrating the lifespan of a commodity. Although this issue was on sale only about twenty years ago, already archive copies retail at upwards of £20 a copy on auction websites, with more popular issues being incredibly hard to obtain. The 3rd Summer of Love, “The Daisy Age”, edition has become a collectable: for those concerned with the careers of Day, Moss or simply nostalgia of teenage years.

[1] Corrine Day, Diary. Directed and produced by Mark Szaszy. (BBC documentary, 2002)
[2]Birth of The Face: magazine that launched a generation of stylists and style sections (May 1st 2010)
[3]Craig McLean, ‘How Corinne Day made Kate Moss into the face of The Face’, The Telegraph Online (1st September 2011)
All images copyright: Sasha Wilkins, ‘Kate Moss by Corinne Day in The Face 1990’ Liberty London Girl (January 2nd 2010)