The pursuit of...A new season wardrobe update



September is just around the corner and as always, I have that back to school feeling!  
I love this time of year....Autumn/Winter is my favourite fashion season, which means it's also time for a much needed wardrobe update....any excuse!
There is a bit of a mish-mash of seasons at the moment in the high street with most shops still trying to shift their summer wear.  Online shopping I've found is the best way to see the new collections without having to trawl through all the stuff you don't want or need!


Here is my wishlist below:




Michael Kors 'JetSet' Tote Bag
Have I mentioned already that I love stripes?!?!!  I have a weakness for black and white (or navy and white) stripes and when I first saw this bag in House of Fraser a couple of months back, I fell in love with it immediately!
This tote bag is perfect for any season in fact and I love the contrast of the tan coloured handle against the monochrome.
A good size too (I can't be doing with small bags - where do you put all your stuff??) with a nice sturdy base.  This is my must have buy.




'Next' Berry Patent Lace-ups
There is something about this deep burgundy/wine colour that I absolutely adore at this time of year.  
It's a colour that just screams Autumn/Winter and I so love it on these brogue style shoes from Next.
I'm not one for wearing flats really, I love a bit of height, but I have seen a few really stylish loafers and brogues for this season that have caught my eye so I may have to purchase one at least!




Leigh Jeans - TopShop
My weekend staple - denim jeans.  
So easy and hassle-free.  They can be dressed up or down, worn with heels or flats and in my opinion, TopShop are still coming up trumps with the best fit, style and variety on the high street.
Boyfriend and distressed jeans have come around again and this time they are of a lighter wash. I don't own any in this style as most of the jeans that I have are of a darker wash, so I will be investing in these two above from the Leigh range.



'Next' Pale Blue Brogues
Still in love with pastels, I love these duck egg blue brogues from Next again.  
Next have really impressed me as they have a great fall collection.  I'm not one who normally finds anything in their shops, so I'm really surprised that I have included two of their items in my wishlist.
These would look really cool with the distressed boyfriend jeans, simple white vest and a blazer - weekend chic!



Burberry Heritage Trench
Hello?......I have been lusting after a Burberry trench for years!!
Every spring and every autumn it sits in the back of my mind calling me....seducing me!  
I was very close to buying one about 6/7 years ago now at the Burberry factory in Hackney where it was heavily reduced but still quite pricey. I think one day I will just have to treat myself...it's an investment!!!




Michael Kors 'Skylar' Watch
There have been so many versions of this Michael Kors watch but I really like this one with the green dial.
I find the bottle green colour against the gold looks very classic and timeless and won't date as easily.  I also like the roman numeral hour markers - very elegant.  This one might be a birthday present to myself!






This look above of my favourite winter colour, the deep burgundy red, is from last years Burberry's Autumn/Winter collection - this whole look is right up my street! I love it.

What's your wishlist for the new season?



Prices:
Michael Kors 'JetSet' Tote - £260 (Selfridges)
Next Berry Patent Lace-Up Point Shoe - £32
TopShop 'Leigh' Jeans - £40
Next Pale Blue Brogue Lace-Up Shoes - £60
Burberry Heritage Trench (Long)- £1195.00
Michael Kors Ladies Skylar Watch - £233.10 (House of Watches)




Love, Ivy George x









The pursuit of...Home Baking (Part IIII)


It's that time of the month where my store cupboards are running bare and while payday is just around the corner, yesterday I thought I would take stock and have a good look and see at what I could make from scratch from what I already had.
This is a new phenomenon for me. I am a repeat offender of wasting food, quite often buying more fruit and vegetables than I need and then letting it go mouldy because I haven't planned any meals using them.
I very rarely get through a whole loaf of bread before it starts to grow 'fur' as I don't like keeping my bread in the fridge and I've lost count of the amount of yogurts etc that I've wasted.

So, it's time to get sensible and stop wasting money! Convenience foods have really got a lot to answer to for all this waste, and although I am not much of an offender of ready-meals (I don't own a microwave - the best decision I ever made...and it's easier than you think to live without one!) I very rarely cook everything from scratch - lets face it, who really has the time?!

Well, yesterday I made one of the easiest, no-fuss breads you can make - Soda Bread.  It's a myth that cooking from scratch has to take lots of time and planning and this traditional bread is a prime example - no yeast, no proving, no kneading - yay!
Below, I have the recipe that I used by River Cottage:

My quick and tasty Soda bread

So, what will you need...to be honest, the only thing I had to go out and get was buttermilk, some recipes use soured cream or live, whole fat yogurt -  if you're being really thrifty, actual soured milk also does the trick! 
Also, it's your preference whether you use white or brown flour, I used white, but I think next time I will use brown for an even more wholesome and traditional taste.

Ingredients:

  • 500g Plain white flour (or brown) plus a little extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Table salt
  • 400ml Buttermilk


Just 4 ingredients!
Method:

  • Preheat oven to 200C and place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
  • Place flour into a large bowl, then add 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda and mix together.



  • Stir in the teaspoon of salt and then use the back of a spoon to make a well in the centre of the flour.




  • Measure out the 400ml of buttermilk and slowly pour into the flour mixing as you go.







  • If the mixture still feels dry when it's all been mixed in, add in some milk a tablespoon at a time.  The dough should be slightly sticky.



  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and then shape into a round.  The less you handle the dough the better as it could become tough.


  • Transfer it onto a sheet of parchment paper, then firmly press the floured handle of a wooden spoon into the surface of the dough to get that distinctive soda bread cross!





  • Slide the dough on its parchment paper onto the preheated tray and then put it into the oven to cook for about 40 minutes.



  • When cooked, the soda bread should be a dark golden brown colour and will sound hollow when tapped on the base.



Break open and eat warm with some butter or jam - delicious!

This bread was so yummy and I can't get over how easy it was to make. The whole house smelled of that delicious 'baking bread' smell, which is so cosy on a cold evening!
I wrapped it up tightly in a tea towel after to store and it was still soft this morning for breakfast and absolutely gorgeous with a hot cup of tea.

I was on a roll yesterday as I also made a homemade vegetable lasagne to go with my bread  - I will share that recipe with you on here on another post..


Nothing better than the smell of butter on warm bread!

If you make this bread, I would love to see your pictures! Please share them with me on Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag: #BakingWithIvyGeorge 


For home baking parts I,II and III , click these links:  Ginger Loaf Cake, Fruit Scones, Chocolate Cake


Love, Ivy George x 


The pursuit of...Lilac hair



I've got a thing about my hair at the moment....If i'm not thinking about cutting it into a short crop, i'm thinking about colouring it - and I love this pastel lilac shade seen on Nicole Ritchie! (above and below).

Purple hair has always been seen as a bit of a grungey/rock-chick look, especially in it's darker hue, but there has recently been a new wave of people getting a more softer pastel version which in my opinion looks very modern and chic.

Nicole Ritchie (above and below) sporting her new lilac hair

It's a look that is definitely not for the shy at heart and perhaps a shade that will not suit everybody.
The good thing about it is that you don't have to go to the salon to achieve the look (which could involve lots of not-so-kind bleaching and stripping of the hair to get the desired colour) as you can get the colour from a spray or even, specially designed for hair, chalk/crayons.  There are lots of these pastel hair dye products on the market at the moment.

Kelly Osborne was one of the first to debut pale lilac hair
The shade you go for will be dependent on your skin tone.  The paler you are, the lighter the hue of purple you can go and for darker skin tones, slightly more warmer lilacs will be more flattering as per Rihanna (below).



To keep the look modern and stylish (and from looking like your grandmothers 'purple rinse'!) the styling of the hair is important too.  Up-dos, long flowing waves, or short, sharp bob's all look fabulous in this shade...and pairing it with a pastel coloured outfit too looks très chic!

Below I've found some of my favourite looks of the shade from around the web including model of the moment Cara Delevingne to share with you:









What do you think...yay or nay?  I love it!....I wonder what my next hair obsession will be!!

Love, Ivy George x


The pursuit of...Audrey


When it's a wet and rainy day there is nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa with a nice cuppa (or glass of wine!) and watching some old black and white movies.
I remember years ago, that on Bank Holidays they always used to put lots of old movies and musicals on the television - now sadly, it seems to largely just be normal programming, with very few specials on at all.
So, that's when the trusted boxsets come in handy and for me, it's all about Audrey!

I have always loved that golden age of Hollywood and because my parents did too, my childhood was all about watching movies with Judy Garland, Natalie Wood, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn etc.


One Christmas, I received the 'Audrey - Couture Muse Collection' boxset and it contains all of Miss Hepburn's greatest films:
  • Breakfast At Tiffany's
  • Funny Face
  • Paris When It Sizzles
  • My Fair Lady
  • Roman Holiday
  • Sabrina
My favourite, although it is hard to choose, is Roman Holiday, closely followed by Sabrina and of course Breakfast At Tiffany's.
This is a great boxset (below) if you want a good collection of her movies all in one place.






I hope you are having a fab bank holiday wherever you are.  This is our last one in the UK until Christmas - can you believe it's only around the corner now!

I'll leave you with some fun trivia about the beautiful Miss Hepburn....

Five fun facts about Audrey Hepburn:




  • Her only Academy Award for Best Actress was for her first film in a starring role - Roman Holiday (She was only elevated to share equal billing with co-star Gregory Peck after his request, as he realised that she had star quality and would be a big star after the movie).
  • The character Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany's was originally written for Marilyn Monroe.
  • The real name of 'Cat' in Breakfast At Tiffany's was Rhubarb.
  • The designer who created the 'Hepburn look' and Audrey Hepburn's favourite designer was Hubert de Givenchy.
  • The last movie that Audrey Hepburn made was called 'Always' in 1989.

Love, Ivy George x

The pursuit of...Notting Hill Carnival


It's the August bank holiday weekend and that can only mean one thing in London....Notting Hill Carnival!!
It is the 3 day annual event that has taken place since 1966 and it is described as one of the biggest street festivals in the world.
Coming from a Trinidadian and Jamaican background, Carnival has always been a big part of my culture growing up.
I remember going when I was little with my parents and watching all the bright and colourful costumes, dancing to the music from the fabulous floats playing calypso/soca music, the steel bands, and the yummy smells of Caribbean cooking; Jerk chicken, roti, curry goat etc...

My sister (left) and I at the Notting Hill Carnival last year

Spread over the last weekend and Bank Holiday Monday in August, Notting Hill Carnival starts on the Saturday with 'Panorama' - a free, open air steel pan band competition which is like a warm up to the actual carnival itself.
It's a national competition and a number of steel pan band artists from across the country will go up against each other in the effort to be crowned number one.  
This is a great event to see and the sound of live steel pans drumming away familiar songs aswell as traditional calypso music is one not to miss!


Thousands of people walk or dance the streets of West London during Notting Hill Carnival - even our iconic London red buses get in on the act!

The Sunday before the bank holiday parade is known as 'Childrens/Family day'.  Although this is still a very busy day due to it's popularity, you normally find a little less crowds.  It is a good day for getting up close to all of the processions and parades.



The flamboyant and colourful costumes of the carnival queens are the picture postcards of carnival!

The main day is the Bank Holiday Monday itself where Carnival really comes to life!
It is colourful, vibrant, buzzing and the atmosphere is electric!
West London becomes a melting pot of different cultures and music and although primarily it still has very large West Indian roots and heritage, you will see lots of different floats or static sound systems with African, indie, house or techno music.

For me, the authenticity of NHC lies with the traditional calypso music and I always follow a float and have a good old 'jump up!'.
I just love it and its the one time that it seems like Londoners and tourists alike, put their guards down, talk to (and dance with!) each other and just have a great time in each others company.







So, this Bank hol' weekend, put on your glad rags, find some comfy, flat shoes (you'll be doing lots of walking!) and go and enjoy one of London's last summer events before the Autumn is upon us.

As with any large festival, stay safe, be street smart and make sure you have a bottle of water with you - all that dancing can be thirsty work!

For more details on the Notting Hill Carnival, click here.

Love, Ivy George x




The pursuit of...Magic


It's the summer holidays if you didn't know already! 
As we get older, these long six weeks of summer no longer have the same appeal, as unfortunately, for most of us, normal life resumes.....unless you have kids that is! Although I do not have any children yet, I know from my sister how hard it can be to keep the little ones entertained during these long summer days and often, keeping them amused involves lots of £££!

So yesterday, as I had my gorgeous nephew for the day (above), we set out for a day of fun and activities with a difference.  One that didn't involve any dreaded long car journeys and also was completely free - bonus!




Living in Essex, I am very lucky to be surrounded by lots of open countryside. It's great for kids to explore, gets their imagination going and helps them to learn about nature. 
As it is the season for blackberries, we decided to partake in a spot of foraging!  My nephew loved this and we had a competition between ourselves to see who could get the most!....he won of course! ;-)





We then found a 'Secret Garden' (below) and as we walked through the enchanted gates (even I started believing the story!) my nephew was searching for the dragon that guards the castle...(!)





....looking for the 'trolls' that live under the bridge protecting 'Princess Fiona' in the castle (church)!



Some historical old towns have lots of scenic gardens that make beautiful backdrops for great days out for kids.
This one, just 5 minutes walk from my doorstep, was perfect and is great for picnics too.  
Don't be put off visiting gardens as opposed to parks because they don't have the traditional kids play areas of swings/slides etc. My nephew loved every minute of this day out and really believed he was in a secret garden trying to find Princess Fiona (from Shrek!).  





So yes, magic can be found any and everywhere...not just in the expensive theme parks or attractions....all you need is a little imagination!

Love, Ivy George x 






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