Farewell for now…

To my dear followers, 

I’ve have decided to do a bit of blog re-vamping recently and have come to the decision to create a new blog. Its very new and it’s decor may take some time to get just right, but I really wanted a change of scene and a fresh start. So please visit it here for more content, reviews and exclusive stories. 

Jess x

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Tomato Soup

You will need: 

350g Waitrose ready diced butternut squash and sweet potato

3 medium tomatoes

A handful of cherry tomatoes

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

500ml of Vegetable stock

1 sprig of rosemary

Olive oil

Parmesan twirls for garnish

And…

Oven roasting tin

Cutting board and knife

Large saucepan

Soup blender

Makes 2-3 portions 

This warm, autumnal recipe is based around Vogue’s foodie contributors Hemsley & Hemsley’s Roasted Butternut Squash soup recipe. But I’ve jazzed it up a little to suit my needs as a pescetarian and someone who is incapable of cutting up ALL types squash. I’ve also made the recipe significantly smaller in size than the original so it suits those who are similar to me and just want an alternative lunch a couple of times in a week. However you can easily double up the ingredients and present it as a lovely starter or light dinner for family and friends.

What I love about this fuss-free recipe is there is hardly any preparation involved and almost impossible to get wrong. I’ve chosen to use Waitrose Ready Diced Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato pack as the vegetable prep is all done for you. However if you prefer your squash untouched then follow the recipe but put the squash into the oven whole. This means that the skin will be easy to remove and the flesh soft to cut through. Lets get cracking!

Step 1: Set your oven to 220C. Roughly chop up your tomatoes and onion into large quarters and place in a roasting tin along with the ready diced squash. Crush the garlic and add to the vegetables with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Give the tin a shake and pop into the oven for 30-40mins.

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Step 2: Once your veg is done take out of the oven and rest for 5 minuets. Add a few sprigs of rosemary to your large saucepan with some oil and gently fry whilst your veg is resting. Then add the vegetables to the saucepan and cover with 300ml of stock. Turn up the heat and let the pan simmer with a lid on for 15-20mins.

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Step 3: Now that the liquid is rich with the roasted vegetable’s juices its ready to blend. Take the pan off the heat, check your seasoning and gently blend to your preference. If you prefer a thinner soup texture then you can add the rest of the stock if needed. However if you like your soup thick and chunky leave it as it is and blend until you reach the consistency you like.

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Step 4. Using a ladle fill up your bowl with soup and drizzle with oil. Add parmesan twirls and some rosemary leaves in the centre of your soup and dust with black pepper.

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Step 5: Find a relaxing place to sit down and indulge in your warm and scrummy lunch. Enjoy!Image

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‘It’ by Alexa Chung

British TV presenter and all round ‘it’ girl Alexa Chung has been very busy this year with her new job as music host of America’s Fuse News, and pretty much living it large in New York. But she’s still had time to write a how to-guide on how to be as cool and stylish as the girl herself. 

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Appropriately titled ‘IT’, Alexa’s book lets us into her life on how to be the ultimate ‘it’ girl, what inspires her and tips on how to get her iconic cat flick eyeliner just right.  

We get to know Alexa’s charming self through awkward anecdotes of fashion week front row stresses and advice for those who are lucky to be in similar situations. To sum up; always bring along a camera device, keep your legs crossed at all times, don’t be too terrified if you’re sat next to Anna Wintour (apparently she’s quite nice) and if rain has ruined your outfit keep smiling through the chaos. 

But its not all about frow politics and ‘it’ girl etiquette with Alexa. She also shares personal thoughts of dealing with heartbreak (should we presume with Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner?). It sounds like it was a hard ride for the British star to overcome her sadness which led her to Googling ‘how long does heartbreak last?’. Unfortunately she didn’t share with us what Google’s answer was however she does provide us with some good old motherly advice.

“ ‘The best way to get over one man is to get under another.’ I don’t think she intended for me to go on a massive bone rampage but I certainly upheld my end of that bargain several times, so for that gem of information, mother, I thank you from the bottom of my broken heart.” 

“ ‘Nobody goes through life without having their heart broken and one day you’ll wake up and it will be okay.’ ”

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And for Alexa, it seems everything is more than okay. She continues to be hugely significant to British style, even after eight years in the spotlight and now we can all have a little taster of what life is like to be just like her. 

 

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MODEICA

Back in February I started a new website called MODEICA. I created it to display innovative forms of moving image and film led by up to date fashion trends and street style. Since its launch, it was one out of ten shortlisted businesses in the UK for the Barclay’s New Business Idea Award, something I am immensely proud of.

One of my favourite things from the website is my video from London Fashion Week where I was able to interview Kate Nash, Haizhen Wang, leutton postle and many more fashionistas! So here it is, enjoy!

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Oh Dear Silvia

I was massively hopeful for this book because I love Dawn French. Although I found parts of the book warming, the majority I felt was pretty bland and obvious. 

The story is about a woman called Silvia and she is in a coma yet no one knows why. Each chapter is written from the perspective of the people in the hospital room with Silvia, from the nurses to her family. Throughout the book we can start to piece together her story which works really nicely as a layout although it takes a while to get there. However I found that the final story of Silvia’s life wasn’t hugely interesting or believable. 

By the end of the book a few events of Silvia’s life had been explained through dragged out chapters but none of them had a lot of oomf! I really just wanted to finish the book to find out whether Silvia gets out of the coma or not. This I won’t reveal as a few of my family and friends have read the book and liked it quite a lot. 

There were parts of the book that I did like, such as the ending and the format, so I wouldn’t slate it completely but it wouldn’t be a personal top recommendation. Dawn, I love you but maybe only on the TV. 

 

Best prices and deals: 

Amazon UK: £3.80

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Oh-Dear-Silvia-Dawn-French/dp/014104635X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

WHSmith: £5.75

http://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/oh-dear-silvia/product/9780141046358

Book Depository: £6.68

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Oh-Dear-Silvia-Dawn-French/9780141046358

 

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The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

This summer I’ve got back into reading novels (to my mum’s delight!) and I wanted to share some of my opinions on the best and worst books that are now sat on my shelf, a little book review if you like.

Some of these you HAVE to read. I’ve been waving this particular one in the face of my family since I finished the last page and recommending it to whoever will listen to me. 

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. 

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Alan Karlsson is a moody, stubborn old man who has never wasted time on planning ahead in life. He has reached the grand age of one-hundred-years-old and he couldn’t really give a damn. Instead, on the day of his birthday Alan decides to escape his care home exiting via his bedroom window. Whilst waiting for a bus, Alan’s asked to look after another passenger’s suitcase. Without a moment’s thought Alan steals the suitcase which is full of criminal money, and jumps on the next arriving bus, its destination unimportant to him. 

The story unfolds as Alan gathers up an assorted crew to help hide away from the criminal owners of the suitcase who are now chasing him across Sweden. Throughout the madness we are flashed back to key moments of Alan’s life and his involvement in influential world events. Ironically Alan hates politics yet always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time consequencing in him befriending many world leaders, and dictators, and impacting on huge political decisions of the 20th century. 

Alan is hugely likable and witty but he couldn’t care less what people think about him. Which of course then makes him even more likable! His laid back yet splendid attitude on life and death is uplifting. This book breaks the motto ‘live every day as if its your last’ because if you think about death so much, no matter what age you are, you’ll stop getting on with living your life.

This story will move you, make you laugh and quote lines from it for weeks on end, if not forever.  

 

Best prices and deals:

WHSmith £6.47

http://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/the-hundred-year-old-man-who-climbed-out-of-the-window-and-disappeared/product/9781843913726

Amazon UK £5.21

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0786891459

 
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David Bowie Is…

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I feel that its better late than never to review the unmissable sell-out exhibition, David Bowie Is at the V&A. Although the exhibition was open to the public since the 23rd March, tickets snapped up quickly, so last week was my only opportunity to squeeze in an evening preview before its closure on Sunday. After waiting not so patiently for four months, Bowie’s archive of music and visuals did not disappoint.

The title of the exhibition David Bowie Is leaves visitors to make up their own assumption of who or what David Bowie is, a task which seems impossible when absorbing the entire gallery of sound and vision. On approach to the exhibit’s entrance, all visitors are given a personal headset providing music, radio and TV audios to support the 300+ visuals of personal Bowie items and artifacts, photographs and videos.

Little Wonder official music video, David Bowie 1997

The exhibition begins with an introduction into Bowie’s teenage years of growing up in Bromley. However this quickly develops into his growth as an artist and how David Robert Jones became David Bowie we know of now.

Identity is a key theme which runs through the exhibit, and of course, Bowie’s life itself. The rooms are each decorated with costume-clothed mannequins which resemble Bowie’s skinny, awkward body. The vast collection of costumes famously worn by Bowie on stage lets visitors see the changes in his identity over short periods of time. However a question reads ‘David Bowie: Plagiarism or revolution?’ which makes visitors wonder whether Bowie was innovative with his fashion identity or did he in fact copy others? Examples were provided through images of Klaus Nomi wearing his exaggerated tuxedo compared to Bowie’s Saturday Night Live performance attire. Again, the exhibition leaves it up to the visitor to decide on the answer, could it just be a form of inspiration? Don’t we all do use elements from the past and call it ‘new’?

Bowie 1Klaus Nomi (left) and David Bowie (right) performing on Saturday Night Live 1979.

One of the many attractions of the space which stuck out to me was The Verbalizer. Bowie created a program which broke up sentences he inputted, shuffled them up and formed a new sentence. This explains a lot when listening to his lyrics! Bowie described his new program as a ‘kaleidoscope of words and nouns’ however he also used pen and paper to achieve the same technique. Presented in glass boxes were individual pieces of paper which Bowie had written words and phrases on which he then alined at random to create bazaar yet wonderful lyrics.

Throughout the exhibition we are reminded that David Bowie was not just a performer as we know him best, but an artist. This is shown through his variety of characters he took on over the years, but also his experimentation with communication through film. The Mask (a mime) was a promotional film which supported Bowie’s single Love You Till Tuesday. It was one of the most powerful films that stood out to me during the exhibition due to Bowie’s intriguing mime and the underlying story.

The Mask (a mime), by David Bowie 1969

The film was placed within a presentation of Bowie’s character’s costumes including Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust. The Mask acted as irony on his much loved characters and the dangers of fame. When the mask becomes part of his face at the end of the film, it is an expression of unintentionally transforming into his characters.

David Bowie as an actor was also celebrated in the exhibition. I was extremely excited to see the props from my favourite childhood film, Labyrinth (1986) including The Goblin King’s cane and the famous crystal ball. Also shown was a clip from The Elephant Man play where Bowie played the leading role. His performance is compelling and very moving.

The Elephant Man, performed by David Bowie 1980

The final room acted as an arena to a Bowie concert. High walls were projected with live performances and light shows. Behind each projection, visitors were teased with glimpses of the outfits on mannequins, positioned in a window grid wall. Seating was available to take in the final surroundings and enjoy some Bowie classics. As I began my walk through the exit, music from visitor’s headsets continued to echo down the corridor to add to a perfect ending.

Heros, performed by David Bowie at Live Aid 1985

It was recommended that visitors should take two hours to walk round the exhibition. However in my opinion if you wanted to see everything, it would take about five. I’ve only included a small selection of my favourite displays from the exhibit, however there was so much more to indulge into. A truly spectacular exhibition.

Disappointed you missed it? Catch David Bowie Is Happening Now, a film which acts as a finale to the popular exhibition. The exhibition curators take viewers on a personal tour of the exhibition with features on contributors and additional information on the production of the displays. Perfect for those who missed the exhibition or who just can’t get enough!

 
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