Asltey Clarke sale picks

Christmas is all about sparkle, n'est pas? Astley Clarke has been having a post Christmas sale - now up to 60% off, but it ends today. What better way to keep that sparkle in your life after Christmas is over? Here are my sale picks:

Amazonite Sonatina pendant by Astley Clarke Colour - was £110, now £65
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Silver vine ring by Alex Monroe - was £120, now £95

Smoky quartz pendant by Robindira Unsworth - was £295, now £205

Circe cuff by Katie Rowland - was £495, now £250

Bunny paperclip necklace by Hillier - was £995, now £595

Button stud sapphire earrings by Astley Clarke Couture - was £4,950, now £1,750

Cuba Libra ring by Carla Amorim - was £6,650, now £4,995


Ugly Corn Chowder

When I cook, I usually make up the recipe as I go along, which is fun but then I can rarely make exactly the same dish again because I don't know the amounts I used the first time. So I decided to try to create an actual recipe, with amounts and everything, written down. It turned out pretty well, so I thought I'd post it here.

I made corn chowder, and it's vegan and gluten free. It's not much to look at, but it's pretty yummy. I like to call it my Ugly Corn Chowder.


  • ½ cup buckwheat
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 medium potatoes, chopped (I keep the skins on, but you can peel them if you prefer)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups curly kale, tightly packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 to 2 tsp chilli powder (depending no how spicy you like it)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 500 mls vegetable stock
  • 1 cup non-diary milk (or more, depending on the consistency you prefer your soup)
  • 1 red chilli for garnish, or pumpkin seeds, or fresh coriander (optional). My favourite is the pumpkin seeds. Delicious, so so good for you, and add a nice crunch.


Prepare buckwheat according to package instructions.

Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed pan. Fry onion and garlic until translucent. Add potato and cook for five minutes.  Add corn and curly kale and cook for another five minutes.  Add spices and give mixture a good stir. Add cooked buckwheat and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  Add non-diary milk and puree. Season to taste. Garnish with a couple slices of chilli or some pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil if you’re into that kind of thing. Serve and enjoy!


Girl-e obsessions

RuPaul's Drag Race
I love it when I get around to watching something and it's great and there are 5 seasons of it on Netflix. That's rainy winter nights sorted! RuPaul is great - funny and sweet and fierce and full of charisma. I've only watched the first season so far and I loved all the queens who were competing. It was lots of fun. Now, may the best woman win!

I love the idea of rejuvenating old favourites with some alterations - it's a great way of updating your wardrobe for less cash. I've got some plans in the works for a coat and a sweater, so I'll post once they're complete.

Actually, I've been obsessed with sequins since I was about 6 years old, but I finally bought a Markus Lupfer sweater, so I have a fabulous expression of that obsession. I'd had Markus Lupfer on my wish list for a few years, but I've not wanted/couldn't pay full price, so I waited for the sales. Unfortunately, I always held out for the sweaters to go down to half price, which never happened because they always sold out. This year I settled for 40% off. I have another sweater with a sequin image on it, but the difference! With the rich tones used, and the sheer number of colours, the little fawn on my Markus Lupfer sweater is like a work of art. Mine is now sold out, but you can still get sale sweaters at Matches, Flannels, ASOS, My-Wardrobe, Net-a-Porter, and bizarrely, Amazon.

My home
We moved into our current flat back in April (not our choice of timing! Our landlord went bankrupt and had to sell the flat) and with a two month old baby, limited funds, and trying to squeeze belongings from a relatively large flat into a relatively small one means we've had to make do with some major disorganisation. Basically, the place just doesn't look the way I want it to. I need to replace cushion covers, hang artwork, get new book cases, get rid of yet more stuff, and do a bit more baby proofing. Home blogs are always good for inspiration. Some of the ones I'm following now are:

Design Sponge
Bright Bazaar
A Beautiful Mess
Nicolette Mason - not really a blog about decor, but she does cover it at times, and her home is really inspiring.
What's Blogging My View - thought it hasn't been updated since August
This is Glamorous

That's not many, I know it's only scratching the surface. If you know of any other good ones - share!

My hair
I know how that sounds, but I hadn't gotten a hair cut in over a year. I finally got one just before Christmas and it transformed my hair. I actually like it for the first time in years. I have body and fullness. I recently moved so I changed salons (I used to go to James Dun House in the City Centre, but now that I'm back in the West End I needed to change). I now see Caroline at Cresswell and Co. She's great, and there's no pressure to buy product. In fact, she even told me I don't need to use conditioner. She listened to what I wanted and did a fantastic job. So, now that I like my hair, I decided to treat myself to some ridiculously expensive product. I bought Dry Texturizing Spray by Oribe. I had a voucher at Space NK as well, so it was £10 off.

So, now, I'm thinking about the colour. Since I have put it up pretty much every day until my recent hair cut, I hadn't noticed how dark it had gotten. I don't like the colour anymore, so I'm considering home colouring. I'm worried though, because I have fine hair, that it will damage it too much. What to do? I can't decide. So I have to mull. Hence, obsessed. Feel free to weigh in on this. Any of you who have fine hair that you've lightened, let me know how it went.


New Year's delusions (er, I mean resolutions)

Gratuitous baby pic
Happy New Year, readers. I hope you all had a great, fun, riotous time last night. My husband and I stayed at home, had a friend over, watched a movie, and played a board game. Oh, and drank champagne. I know it sounds very dull, but, with a 10 month old asleep in her nursery, there's not many options for New Year's Eve partying. But that's just an excuse, really. I've always felt New Year's Eve to be the most over rated holiday, especially since I moved to Scotland, where Hogmanay (as it's called) is like some sort of high holy day. It's major here. I did do the whole freezing-my-arse-off-in-George-Square-while-being-kissed-by-complete-strangers thing, but I have this intense anxiety about crowds, so that was a really bad idea!

Mainly, I enjoy the idea of fresh starts. Anything could happen this year - I could finally finish one of the many novels I've started. I could finally start trying to get one of the two novels I've written published. I could finally lose the rest of that weight that's been plaguing me (or finally get over it and just be happy as I am). I could finally save enough money for a down payment for a flat. I could finally pay off the rest of my debts. I could finally get a job that feels meaningful to me. The list goes on and on. But as I get older, and years go by more quickly, I start seeing my old resolutions as delusions. I start feeling a bit more realistic about what could actually happen in a year. I still come up with resolutions, but they are more concrete. They're SMART resolutions, if you will.

So this year's resolutions are:

Don't eat anything I wouldn't feed to my baby 
She has the best, healthiest diet and I would be much healthier if I ate like she did. She never eats the evil white four: white flour, dairy, salt and sugar. I've managed to cut out dairy, and hardly eat white flour (I don't believe in cutting out bread or pasta, but I eat the whole wheat varieties), and I've cut back on salt since I started giving Serena food that we eat, but sugar is the monkey on my back! Now excuse me while I go finish that box of Pop Tarts so I can start fresh! Does that make me sound like an addict???

Go back to yoga
I enjoy it, it's good for me, there are several places near me that offer classes. This one is just win win, really.

Write every day
It doesn't matter what, it just needs to be something. It keeps me sane.

Be mindful of my speech
This refers to what I say out loud and in my head. Negative self talk is terrible, of course. And I don't want to hear myself complain about anything any more. Also, if I'm really listening to what I say, I'd probably say less, and listen to others more.

Really see my daughter
This is a pre-emptive one. I realised, while I was visiting my Dad at Christmas, that families tend to stop seeing each other. By that I mean, we get an idea of each other in our heads and we're frozen in that mode forever. Parents and children and siblings - we're never able to change in each others' eyes. For example, I think that in my Dad's eyes, I will always be the same as I was when I was a depressed teenager living in his house during the summers between years at university. No matter what I do, how I change, how old I get, I will always be that girl. I don't want to do that to my daughter. I want to see her for how she is, every age. I want to let her change and grow and accept her at every stage.

What about you? Do you have resolutions? What are they? If you have them, good luck for the coming year, I hope you all achieve everything that you want to.


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