Friday, 29 March 2013

Excuse me while I kiss the sky

Finally I'm home but the last week was a busy one! I've been busy at uni working with Brighton Fashion week - check it out here - putting together content for their newspaper that will be given out at all of the shows and in the lead-up to the event. Exciting but time consuming!

On Friday evening I decided at the last minute that I should pop to London to see my sister and niece. I'm so glad it did! A big fire as it started to gently snow, pumpkin gnocchi with pesto, toasted seeds and spinach, an ice cold beer and some big baby cuddles!

I woke up early on Saturday morning and popped to Oxford Street to meet some friends. Cami is moving to Paris for third year and somehow had never been to Liberty so we decided she simply couldn't leave without visiting! I stopped off in Topshop on my way to meet them and was pleasantly surprised by the SS13 collection. I'm not the biggest Topshop fan - expensive for what it is and not that original - but there were some really cute pieces that might be on my list of considerations for my summer wardrobe now the student loan is in! This dress... very simple and classic but really nice fabric.

And I think this shirt would be so lovely with high waisted denim shorts...

This dress is from one of the basement designers, I can imagine it looking stunning when tanned at a summery garden party, glass of pimms in hand... ahhh I wish...

And while I would never spend £25 on a 'vintage' scarf when I can get them for £1 at Portabello I was more than a little bit taken with this pheasant number...

A fab addition to the flagship store is the photo booth on the ground floor, cheesy but fun with a group of friends!

And Lola's cupcakes never fail to impress. This was breakfast!

I met the girls and as we wandered across to Liberty I came across & Other Stories. I'd heard so much about the shop but completely forgot where it was located and was SO glad I got the chance to pop in! Founded by the H&M brand, & Other Stories is for the more sophisticated customer, with spaced out rails, incredible fabrics and gorgeous pieces, all at reasonable prices. I didn't get the chance to try anything on but will definitely be heading back next time I'm in London as there was lots that caught my eye.

These shoes...

...and gorgeous tea dress especially!

After Liberty we headed straight to one of my favorite Islington hangouts for a girly lunch. Ottolenghi serves the best salads and cake and is located on Upper Street, in between Highbury & Islington and Angel tubes. The food is fab, service is always impeccable and everything tastes incredible. If you haven't been, go. Simple as that!

Lunch was the amazing salad plates, we didn't even go for mains and cake and fabulous company made the lunch fairly perfect! Now I'm looking forward to the trips to visit Cami next semester!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Ottolenghi Carrot & Walnut Cake

I'm home in Suffolk for a few days over Easter and the first thing I did upon arriving home was cook - cake and super green soup; an amazing combo! <3 

This is the most incredible carrot cake. It's the thing to choose whenever you visit Ottolenghi and is also a really easy recipe to follow. I ended up cooking it for nearer to 2 hours than 1 (I don't think the oven liked me very much that day!) but it was so worth the wait. Its very rustic and not the prettiest of cakes but wow does it taste good! - And don't do what I did and forget you don't have any carrots half way through the baking process and have to pop to the shop at 4pm in your pjs; ahh countryside living!!  

Serves 6-8

For the cake
  • 160g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 200g sunflower oil
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 135g carrot, roughly grated
  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • a pinch of salt

  • Icing
  • 175g cream cheese,
  • at room temperature
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 35g icing sugar
  • 25g honey
  • 30g walnuts, chopped
  • and lightly toasted

1 Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3. Grease a 20cm springform
cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.

2 Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
Lightly whisk the whole egg with the egg yolk.

3 Put the sunflower oil and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric
mixer fitted with the beater attachment and beat for about a minute
on a medium speed. On a low speed, slowly add the beaten egg.
Mix in the walnuts, coconut and carrot and then the sifted dry
ingredients. Don’t over mix.

4 Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Wash and dry the mixer bowl,

making sure it is totally clean, then put the egg whites and salt in
it and whisk on a high speed until firm peaks form. Gently fold the
egg whites into the carrot mixture in 3 additions, being careful not
to over mix. Streaks of white in the mixture are okay.

5 Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately

1 hour; it could take longer. A skewer inserted in the centre should
come out dry. If the cake starts getting dark before the centre is
cooked through, cover it with foil. Let the cake cool completely and
then remove from the tin.

6 To make the icing, beat the cream cheese in a mixer until light and

smooth. Remove from the mixer. Beat the butter, icing sugar and
honey in the mixer until light and airy. Fold together the cheese and
butter mixes. Spread waves of icing on top of the cake and sprinkle
with the nuts.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Life, lately #1

The last couple of weeks have been busy, busy, busy. My blogging has been awful so though I'd just give you a slight insight as to why I have been MIA! I'm off to Rome this weekend but promise to get back on the blogging case once I'm home - I'm sure there will be stories. 60, 20 and 21 year olds in Italy, for a week. How can there not be?! Anyway, more on that to come. The last couple of weeks have involved a trip home, presents from India from my biggest sister who's living out there (and if you're reading this who I miss very much!!), some baby time, lots of food, a 21st, a navy ball- and that was just for starters! 

My gorgeous pressies- make up bag, silk scarf, pj shorts and fairy lights with an Indian plug (always a challenge!!) 

My gorgeous mummy and her grand-daughter. The best baby ever!

Ona, chilling out.

Jumble Sale at home.The best things. Clothes from as little as 20p! I left with a Vera Moda jumper dress for £1. Last time it was riding boots for 20p and a Liberty silk scarf for 50p - and the woman was worried about over charging me!! Ah the beauty of the countryside and old lady wardrobe clearouts!!

We made a feast and this was dessert. Chocolate mousse with a magic ingredient of... Avocado?!!? Delish though!

Mummy and I cooked a banquet. From fish curry to sag aloo and spicy broccoli. I wish I could go home everyday for the fridge and amazing food alone!

M&S easter egg - somebody, please?! He's too cute!

My housemate's 21st. More cake, and cava, and wine, of course! We had a Tiki themed night out - the costumes were amazing, especially the boys strangely enough!!

'Trends' photoshoot for Brighton Fashion Week...

And a ball... where the boys were definitely better at posing than the girls!

A fabulous couple of weeks!

Thursday, 7 March 2013


Coming soon.

This is the only information that has been available over the last couple of weeks when you click on the Triptease Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages and there seemed to be nothing at all when you do a Google search.

So what is it that's being created, behind the mystical and oh so teasing name, Triptease.

Launched yesterday, it was definetely worth waiting to find out!

The home page of the website - providing categories to allow the user to 'have a browse' rather than searching for a particular location or venue

I'm sure I'm not the only one that finds trawling through awfully written, and for the most part unhelpful Trip Adviser or Hotel Finder reviews dull - in fact I know I'm not - and that's where Triptease steps in.

A glamorous alternative to the traditional hotel, restaurant or experience review site, the website allows people to post their own reviews but is focused on high quality images. The majority of hotels are high end and catered to the higher budget but restaurants cover a whole range of budgets and there are also reviews on countries and cities as a whole - a great first read if you fancy a spontaneous trip and don't know where! All of the reviews are extremely well written by 'normal' people and fear not the site certainly doesn't appear pretentious in it's content.

With each member of the Triptease community having their own 'Pinterest-like' board of reviews, the site is easy to navigate, and you can comment on and favourite other people's reviews. Working in the form of a social networking community but for reviews ensures the site appears personal and you can even find out a little about each reviewer by checking out profiles.

40 Winks - a boutique hotel in East London and an example of one of my reviews

I've been contributing to the site prior to its launch and reviews have focused on hotels and restaurants from Dedham in Suffolk to Udaipur in India. Its great being able to upload your own images or use those from the web and it is this feature that really sets the site apart from other review websites. The site will be launching over the next couple of weeks and it is definitely worth checking out. Follow @Triptease on Twitter to be kept up to date with the launch. You can also check out my profile by clicking the link (or searching Ali-Moss-Thomas once the website launches. I'm looking forward to it!

My Triptease board

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear.” - Freya Stark