Thursday, 28 April 2011


As it’s the Royal Wedding tomorrow, and you most certainly cannot avoid the celebrations, I thought I’d get into the patriotic swing of things in the kitchen with some ‘Royal Wedding’ Cupcakes.

I found some tremendously tacky and marvelously majestic rice paper decorations online and they arrived yesterday – just in time! So today I set about making a batch of vanilla cupcakes topped with a swirl of butter icing, a perfect base for the fabulous decorations adorned with the faces of Wills and Kate.

I also crafted some sweet little crowns out of royal (aptly named) fondant icing. I’d found this shimmery edible gold powder for decorating cakes in my local kitchen shop and thought it fit for just such a job. So after some blitzing, whipping, piping and prettifying I have 24 perfectly patriotic and really rather royal cakes ready for tomorrow.

Vanilla cupcakes:

200g self-raising flour

200g sugar

200g butter

4 duck eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

Butter Icing:

430g icing sugar (sifted)

200g butter

Crown Decorations:

Block of Royal Fondant icing

Edible gold shimmer powder

Preheat the oven to 180C.

You can make these very quickly and easily in the food processor or just as well by hand.

First mix the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, it really is worth taking time to do this as it results in a light and fluffy cake.

Next crack in the 4 eggs one at a time, I use duck eggs for cakes as they make a delicious, golden sponge. Whilst combining the eggs, add 1-2 tablespoons of the flour to prevent curdling.

Next sift in the flour and combine everything together.

Spoon the mixture equally into 24 paper cupcake cases and put into the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the butter icing it is definitely easier to use either a hand whisk or the food processor as otherwise the kitchen gets engulfed by a fog of icing sugar.

Mix the icing sugar and butter together until smooth.

I like to pipe my icing onto the cakes but you can just as successfully spread it on with a knife.Wait until the cakes are cool before icing.

For the golden crowns, roll out a block of royal fondant icing and cut into small crown shapes (you can also buy crown-shaped biscuit cutters).

Press the crowns into the icing on top of each cake and sprinkle over edible gold powder (available from cooking shops and Waitrose).

If you’re feeling even more adventurous and in the regal spirit why not support William and Kate’s big day with this Union Jack Battenberg cake from the BBC Food website: Pure genius.

Georgina Davies x

Monday, 25 April 2011


I’ve just returned from cheering my uncle and brother on in the London Marathon, and I’d like to say a HUGE congratulations to both of them for completing the 26 miles on one of the hottest days of the year so far. I am sure that when they hit the metaphorical wall they were regretting the decision to take part they made on Boxing Day 2009 after one too many glasses of port.

The run did not look easy or pretty, but I now find myself with this niggling feeling... could I achieve such a feat? I mean I can barely run for a bus let alone put myself through 26 miles! But there is that sibling rivalry that’s just bubbling beneath the surface and I fear I may have to answer its call. I’m not saying I will but I’m definitely thinking about it – taking part in the London Marathon 2012. As I am now the Yes Woman, I feel that if someone were to ask me to accompany them I would naturally have to say...YES!

I am brimming with patriotic pride at the moment...whilst in the midst of the Royal Wedding, Lewis Hamilton wining the Grand Prix in China and now the London Marathon. I have invested in a Union Jack oyster card holder, a Union Jack pillow, Union Jack notelets, Union Jack bunting and let’s not forget the Union Jack dress circa 1997 Ginger Spice at the Brits. I for one am going all out for the wedding weekend. Champagne Breakfast (obviously), cucumber sandwiches, scones, corgis, tiaras, saying ‘orf’ instead of off, the list goes on.

So for all you anarchists/anti-monarchists out there you can put that in your pipes and smoke it!! OR you could just get in to the spirit of things. Indulge in buying a cake cutter in the shape of the crown jewels, have a cup of Tetleys in an official Kate and Wills mug – the list goes on…The UK needs a boost what with the recession, having that goal disallowed at the Football World Cup and losing the 2018 bid so badly, we need something to make us proud of being British again and I for one think that the Royal Wedding is gonna be one helluva reason to party!

A short update on my new life ethos. I am still saying yes to most offers that come my way (I say most because I was asked out for coffee by a balding business man on Tuesday morning whilst waiting on platform 2 for my train to work and I have to admit I said no). Anyway, I said yes to wait for it... GOING TO A KARAOKE BAR!!! Not something I would usually do but rules are rules. Anyway conclusion to the evening is...I loved it! I never knew I could belt out Bon Jovi so well. I’m not saying I’m going to quit my day job but at least I know that there is an alternative.

Cordelia Rosa

Saturday, 23 April 2011


After two weeks working in London where the only meal I cooked was a bowl of pasta, I’m back home in the calm of my own kitchen and have decided it is high time I regain my ‘cooking mojo’.

I browse the Internet for inspiration and flick through some cookbooks and finally decide that with Easter fast approaching, what better time to make my first batch of homemade hot-cross buns.

The prospect of hand baking a bread-like substance often fills people with dread and fears of a time consuming and ultimately failed recipe but you can’t win the prize if you don’t run the race – and what a delicious prize it is!

Always one to attempt a challenging recipe I embark on my Easterly mission in a floury fog and elbow deep in scattered currants. After some mixing and kneading and some rustic cross-piping, the oven opens, the air is enveloped with an appealing spicy citrus aroma, and out come 6 golden buns. Nothing is more deliciously indulgent than fresh hot cross buns, straight from the oven, served with lashings of butter.

Why not make a batch this Easter bank holiday:

310g strong white flour

½ tsp salt

2tsp ground mixed spice

20g melted butter

50g sugar

zest of 1 lemon

zest of 1 orange

1 egg, beaten

140ml warm milk

1tsp fast-action dried yeast

60g currants

For the cross and glaze:

1 tbsp golden syrup

2tbsp plain flour

1tsp sugar

6tbsp water

-Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt, mixed spice, sugar, lemon and orange zest and yeast

- Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, milk and egg and mix together

- When the mixture is coming together to form a dough get your hands in and transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for ten minutes until smooth and elastic

- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for an hour to prove

- After an hour the dough should have risen and you will have to knock it back (knocking the air out) and leave it in the bowl for a further 30 mins

- Split the dough into 6equal sections and roll into bun shapes and place on a greased baking tray

- For the cross, mix together the flour, sugar and water to form a paste (you may need to add more water to reach a paste-like consistency), put into a piping bag and pipe on crosses over each bun, the more rustic the better!

- Bake in a pre-heated 2400C oven for about 15mins or until a light golden brown

- Heat the golden syrup until it is runny and as soon as the buns are out of the oven brush them with the golden syrup to give a lusciously lacquered glaze

Georgina Davies

Friday, 22 April 2011


Janie Taylor for Chloé on

Chloe's dance inspired collection for Spring/Summer 2011 was one of the season’s highlights. persuaded New York City Ballet's principal dancer Janie Taylor to model the collection.

In this short film Taylor alongside Corps de Ballet member Justin Peck dances beautifully clad in Chloe's pieces to fully showcase the collection's graceful potential. The elegant movement of floating silk alongside the ballerina’s dancing shows off perfectly what Chloe's Spring has to offer whilst creating the prettiest fashion film created in a while.

Harriet Tisdall

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


My friends and family would probably say I have a strange obsession with tea; I’d call it healthy enthusiasm. I’m always on the lookout for new teas and paraphernalia: teacups, pots, tea cosies –anything to do with tea really – I am utterly besotted! Last summer I found many a gorgeous teacup in various bric-a-brac shops, markets and car boot sales.

Travelling always presents the best tea shopping opportunities. In Istanbul’s fragrant markets, vendors sell all types of teas, from sweet and sour hibiscus to aromatic rose hip, piled high in their stalls.

I was in Paris earlier this year and while wandering the beautiful Parisians streets one afternoon, I was absolutely delighted to stumble across the most gorgeous little teashop; ‘Kusmi Tea’.

The Aladdin’s cave of tea was stocked with everything from Earl Grey and green tea with orange and cinnamon, to tangy fruit tisanes and spicy chocolate tea.

Tealeaves were kept in huge labelled tins, scooped out and weighed for purchase. Stacked on shelves in an array of bright colours, were beautifully packaged smaller tins containing delicious flavours making an ideal little present for any mum or auntie.

After wandering around the shop and sipping several sample cups, I finally decided on a gift set called 'The Moments’ which included five different flavoured teas in adorable coloured tins complete with an infuser and a box of delicate hand-made Chinese green tea flavoured with orange, cinnamon, liquorice and sea-buckthorn muslin tea-bags, all packaged up in a colourful paper bag, adorned with prints of the tea labels within it: all in all, positively frame-worthy.

Since returning I have found the kusmi tea website and enjoy getting my tea fix with an online order. I now savour a delicious cup of tea daily, alternating between my vast collection of vintage teacups.


· Also available: ‘Ten poems about Tea’, at

Georgina Davies

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


In this recession blighted climate there has been a move away from fast fashion towards classic, individual pieces that will last. ASOS’ latest collection ‘ASOS Salon’ contains exactly this; well made, vintage inspired clothes which will slot easily into any wardrobe.

Sampling feminine style from across the decades, ASOS Salon offers a covetable collection of feminine evening pieces. The collection is formed of precisely those vintage items you are never able to find; the perfect sixties mini, a drop waisted twenties embellished shift, a tailored coral trapeze jacket and a fitted fifties prom dress.

The highlight of the thirty-piece collection is the mink Chiffon Midi Dress; with its fitted waist and abundance of pleats it’s exactly the kind of item you always scour for in a vintage stores but never find in your size.

A range of handbags with a distinctly retro touch is also due to launch within the next few months, meaning a girl need look no further for a vintage inspired look. With beautiful silhouettes in a variety of pastel hues with floral, beaded and scalloped embellishments, ASOS Salon contains romantic pieces with an edge that will brighten up any summer evening.

Harriet Tisdall

Sunday, 10 April 2011


I am writing to you now as an older and wiser person. Last week I turned 24... I had a discussion with some girlfriends about what age you should start to freak out about not being young anymore - we concluded 26, because you will then be on the wrong side of 25. Luckily for me I still have 726 days till I get to that stage and, to be honest, I don’t think that I’ll will ever get there as even now I still feel about 15 years old. Every day when I’m on the train on my way to work I think to myself, ‘what am I doing on this train with all these adults on their way to work?’

Turning 24 has not been all bad – in fact for the first time since leaving school I am not in my overdraft!! That is cause for celebration I feel. I have to say though that one of my biggest fears along with heights and flying is to go through life without taking every single opportunity that comes my way. That is why I have decided to become the Yes woman.

I am going to say yes to everything that I am offered – within reason obviously. I won’t be saying yes to any sex orgies, injecting of class A drugs, or of course to wearing socks with sandals – there are just some things you shouldn’t do. But on the whole I will be a real ‘grab the bull by the horns’ kinda gal. I have started by saying yes to going on a trip to Russia instead of a generic lie by the pool summer holiday. I figured now is the time to sample the country where vodka is cheaper than water and the police ask you for money in exchange for your passport... it’s gonna be a corker.

Anyway enough of my holier than thou new philosophy on life. I would like to give you a review on an exhibition that I went to on Sunday at the V&A because it was simply inspiring.

In the wake of the tsunami disaster in Japan, I have a new found respect for the Japanese. They have throughout history been portrayed as a not very emotional nation - blockbuster films such as ‘Pearl Harbour’ don’t help... but there is so much beyond the yellow fin tuna massacring, Hello Kitty and the weird martial arts cartoons featuring characters with massive round eyes. They have Yohji Yamamoto...

Yohji Yamamoto is a Japanese designer who has achieved everything. He decided to study fashion - after completed a law degree - and went on to design some of the most fashion forward thinking outfits of his time (he was born in 1943 so he ain’t no spring chicken!)

He was extremely successful in Japan with his masculine clothing for women, and took his collection to Paris where he has since been honoured with prestigious French medals and titles. He has a black belt in karate. He has done the costume design for different Takeshi and Wim Wender films. He has made 3 music albums (not something I would download on iTunes, all a bit too alternative for my liking) and he has written books. He is my new life guru.

I like his clothes because they don’t take fashion too seriously e.g one of his collections is called the Madness catwalk – colourful doc martins and all. His clothes have that crazy feel that you sometimes get with Vivienne Westwood - with the mix mash of patterns, asymmetric lines and yet extremely feminine quality. I have to say I’m not a fan of the Y-3 Adidas range but then again I’ve never been a sports wear lover.

I advise you all to go and see the exhibition. It’s on till 10 July.

    • If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub.

I am going to let you guys interpret that as you will.

Cordelia Rosa

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


Birthdays are generally acknowledged to be joyful occasions; they are annual celebrations where you can either indulge in making someone else feel special or enjoy being spoilt yourself. For some reason though, year after year, my family displays an inability to get it right.

You may wonder how any occasion involving presents could be so problematic but it is precisely this exchange – the giving/receiving synonymous with birthdays – that has in my family, become an act tempered with the dreaded inevitability of faking gratitude.

Away from the expectant gaze of my relatives, I enjoyed a quiet birthday away from home last week allowing me the liberty to fling an offensive diamante encrusted bracelet over my head, out of my sight, and into the bin without being wracked with guilt at the sight of my auntie’s disappointed expression.

I imagine this careless act of disposal may prompt the reader to think me a brat, spoilt and ungrateful. Reading this in isolation, I cannot blame you for reaching such conclusions but let me offer some background to understand the curious workings of my family.

While most people’s childhood memories consist of parks, playgrounds and paddle pools, mine take place standing in line at the Marks & Spencer’s returns kiosk. Anyone who knows my parents, knows them as compulsive returners. Mum would buy a pack of plain black knickers for £5.00, only to return them unopened the following week having decided she preferred them in white.

You see, this kind of behaviour is considered not just normal but clever and has become a part of our identity; returning is just how we roll. We’ve even been known to return items we love.

Returning the odd pack of knickers may not rouse suspicions of a lack of sanity but worryingly, this vein in our collective compulsion stretches much further than underwear.

To date, the big ticket items we have returned are:

2 x dogs

1 x car

1 x house

The dogs went on account of their erratic puppy behaviour. Within minutes of arrival, Max the Border Collie, excitedly knocked my toddler brother over; Ruby the Labrador showed admirable determination by chewing through a laptop cable.

The car was returned after my dad – the self-appointed mechanic – diagnosed a possible problem with the gearbox.

The house was exchanged. Our buyers – having sold their house – moved into rented accommodation, waiting for us to leave. We never did leave: the flooding risk of the flat land around the new house was too much for my dad to bear.

Our expectations may be unreachably high, and though this strange and unorthodox behaviour may lead people to suggest a much-needed family visit to the psychiatrist, a few things have withstood the test of returns: my parents are yet to return their children, or indeed, each other.

Here’s to 2011. Watch this space.

Rose Brownlow

Saturday, 2 April 2011


Bottletop is a charity that is not only involved with ethical fashion but also music and art. The bags featured below are made from recycled ring-pulls in Salvador, Brazil by 46 local women. All the proceeds contribute towards helping young people all over the world through education projects that empower them to take control of their lives.

Whether it be new ways of finding employment or improving poverty stricken areas, the boys at Bottletop, Oly and Cam, have really tapped into an amazing way to help people. Instead of focusing on the words ‘ethical’ and ‘green’ to push their sales, their ethos is more along the lines of selling the bags because they are cool, modern, unique and you just so happen to be doing something good if you buy one.

Recently, my business partner Vic and co-founder of WLK productions had the pleasure of working with the Bottletop boys on their recent fashion shoot in Somerset. We were involved in both art direction and styling as well as being asked to model the bags!

It helped that the location was magical - with a gypsy caravan and a beautiful pool/barn conversion, it was hard not to take a good photo. With help from Sacha Harrison, Tatty Vaughan and Wolf & Badger– the styling was an eclectic mix that tried to stay simple and current to compliment the bags.

So far the bags have been a success and are becoming more in demand – just spotted a big display at GTC in Holland park!

India Wadsworth