Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chloe Bakes: Lemony cupcakes

I've been busy baking a special cake today (which I'll be able to share with you next weekend!). I had a little cake mixture leftover so decided to bake two cupcakes for Ciaran and I as a little treat. I used a classic Victoria sponge cake recipe for the base and added plenty of lemon zest. Once the cupcakes came out of the oven I brushed them with freshly squeezed lemon juice while they were still hot. I glazed them with a simple lemon and sugar syrup and decorated with edible violet petals. I think the edible petals look so pretty and was surprised by how much flavour they had!


Aren't these plates pretty? They're a very pale green milk glass and were made by a French company called Arcopal and are pretty readily available on Ebay.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Friday!...

For Ciaran's Birthday earlier this month I bought him Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats by T. S. Elliot. I love these poems – there’s a poem for every cat! Toby is definitely a Rum Tum Tugger. The first poem in the book talks about the importance of the naming of cats and it made me think about how we chose Toby’s name. Our breeder sent us a photo of a little grey ball of fluff, a bit like a dandelion clock with big amber eyes. We made a long list of names ranging from the cutesy to the slightly surreal. As soon as we stumbled across Toby it clicked – I like it because it’s cute but can also be serious (‘Tobias!’). It’s a real boys name and seems to suit his ballsy personality perfectly.

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

- T. S. Elliot

We have a range of nick names for Toby which include Toby Cat, Monster Mash, Busta Rhymes and sometimes I greet him with ‘Arigato Mr. Cato’. He doesn’t have a name that’s particular and peculiar though – We’ll have to think of one for him!

I couldn't resist posting these super cute baby photos of Toby, apologies if you've seen them here before!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rouge Noir

My current favourite nail polish is this 1990's classic 'Rouge Noir' by Chanel. After two coats its almost black but the garnet undertones keep it feeling warm and a little more sophisticated than the pitch black shades favoured by my teenage self. This is the perfect Autumn shade for me and I'll be keeping my fingers and toes well lacquered until there's frost on the ground and Christmas adverts on the telly. Then it will be time to break out the bright red!

What's your favorite Autumn shade? Any nail polish recommendations?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Details from the weekend...

My friends Kate & Martin have the best style when it comes to interiors. Their house in Wiltshire is a treasure trove of beautiful bits and pieces - every object is unique and full of character. They're still in the process of decorating but the house is looking fantastic already. Kate's tips for finding beautiful objects for the home? Charity shops, antiques shops, car boot sales and ebay. So many of the beautiful bits and pieces that make their home so special come from charity shops and only cost a few pounds. Once they're taken out of this context and put in their home they look like precious antiques! I'm glad I bought my camera along and had the chance to capture some of the details...

Bath time! We woke on Saturday morning to a bright, clear sky.
Time to get the fire going.
Don't fresh flowers make such an impact? These are locally grown Dahlias.
Bright red tomatoes in a lettuce leaf bowl.
A beautiful pink glass jug for the flowers.
A slice of wholemeal toast to start the day.
And...bucks fizz!
Shady street.
I loved the illustration on the front cover of this book!
My two favourite girls!
Despite the sunshine it was cold enough to rock a (fake) fur coat.
A spot of out of town antiques rummaging in the village of Frome, Somerset.
I know what Ciaran would have had for lunch...
'I should have known'
We stopped for a lovely lunch at The Garden Cafe.

And saw a sweet little robin!
Delicious tapas!
Home to the fire, and a mushroom and ale pie!
I love this green velvet arm chair.
The fire cat.
My favourite, Devonshire cider!
Beautiful rum cask cider bought back from Kate & Martin's holiday.
Black Russians!
Kate has this amazing book which matches cocktails to old black & white hollywood movies. We watched 'Anna Christie' - Greta Garbo's first talking film and drank a delicious ginger cocktail which I've forgotten the name of! It had whisky, ginger beer and something else...Kate can you help me out?
I covet this 1920's mirror.
Colourful flowers in the bathroom are such a nice touch!
 I hope you enjoyed these little snapshots of my weekend. I picked up a few new bits and pieces of my own while I was away - I'll hopefully get a chance to share them later in the week!

Monday, September 24, 2012

At the weekend...

I warmed my toes by the fire! After spending a lovely weekend in the countryside I'm now lusting after a wood burning stove of my own. They're so convenient as you don't seem to have to sweep them out and re-lay them from scratch like an open fire. We woke up early in the morning and got the fire going straight away! By the time the coffee was ready the flames were already dancing about cheerfully and the smell of woodsmoke made us hungry.

These cosy socks are made by a company called Hirsch and are available to buy online here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Friday!

Image via Pinterest.

The weekend is finally here and I’m getting ready to bust out of town tonight and drive down to Wiltshire. I’ll spend the weekend with good friends mixing up retro cocktails, watching Katherine Hepburn films, drinking red wine by fire, getting up at the crack of dawn to visit a car boot sale, walking about in the countryside and generally having a delightful time! I’m especially looking forward to getting out in the open air while the weather is still so crisp and fresh.

Have a lovely weekend wherever you are!

Psssst – I'm so pleased that Downton Abbey has returned to my life! Every Sunday night from now until Christmas will see me snuggled up on the sofa in my Pyjamas in front of the telly. I love Lady Mary and Edith's costumes this year as things are starting to shift into the 1920's. I'm also excited that Shirley MacLaine (of legendary Sweet Charity fame) is starring in this series! Do you love Downton Abbey to?

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I don't tend to talk about my work here but I'm breaking all the rules today to mention an exciting project I've been lucky enough to be involved with. Tomorrow is World Peace Day and to mark the occasion PUMA Peace have commissioned 17 artists to make short films on the subject of peace. From tomorrow, anyone, anywhere in the world will be able to access these films and curate their own screening.

A still from Isaac Juliens 2012 film Ten Thousand Waves . For image source click here.

The project was produced by Cath Le Couteur, co-founder of Shooting People, an awesome network of independent film makers (their website is really inspiring and you can check it out here). The idea that anywhere in the world from Alaska to Zimbabwe people can request a DVD, Blu Ray or download a high definition or standard definition QuickTime of any of the films and host a screening blows my mind. There's been so much interest in the project this year - I've heard that every child at school in Brooklyn will be taken to a specially curated screening to watch the films followed by a discussion. Meanwhile on the other side of the globe, a man in Cameroon had to request permission to screen the films from his local authority three weeks ago and was advised that if the films provoke any unrest he could be sent to jail.

I was lucky enough to attend a screening of ten of these films at Channel 4 last night and was blown away by the creativity and diversity of the work! Though I feel like I need to make it clear that my involvement is purely administrative, not creative and more concerned with the post production and deliverables side of things, it's still a great little project to have been a small part of.

This years Films4Peace artists are:

Janet Biggs
Ergin Cavusoglu
Gregory Crewdson and Costanza Theodoli-Braschi
Yang Fudong
Isaac Julien
Peterson Kamwhati
Nandipha Mntambo
Michael Nyman
Levi van Veluw
Hank Willis Thomas and Terence Nance 

If you're interested in gaining access to the films you can do so via the Films4Peace website here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A wee visit to the Emerald Isle...

Hi there! I'm back after a lovely few days in Ireland. We flew into Dublin and spent a couple of days exploring this amazing, historic, busy and bustling city before hopping on a bus to Ciaran's hometown of Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. Here rugged mountains and rolling hills provided the backdrop to many a bracing walk and I took the opportunity to breath as much fresh air as possible before heading back to London town. I'm looking forward to sharing some more photos later in the week but in the meantime, here's a whistle-stop Instagram roundup of our holiday!

Here we are with Ciaran's younger brother Declan and his lovely wife Hannah. Hannah is an awesome photographer and you can take a wee peek at her photographs here.

My Goodness My Guinness! We had a fair few scoops of the black stuff - I can only manage a half pint at a time though!

Beautiful Hydrangeas blooming in Ciaran's Ma & Pa's garden despite the windy Autumn weather!

The Stags Head is a cosy pub in Dublin - dating back to 1790's, James Joyce was a frequent visitor.

We were completely overwhelmed by a surprise family party featuring one of the biggest cakes I've seen! It was a real treat not to do the baking on this occasion and I'll remember it forever.

The countryside surrounding Downpatrick is breathtaking and you don't have to travel far in any direction to find dramatic landscapes. We went for a walk along Strangford Loch where the woods meet the water and even found a little crab nestled amongst the rocks!

Stormy weather over the Mourne Mountains.

I ate some of the freshest oysters I've ever encountered at Mourne Seafood Dundrum - a fantastic little seafood restaurant serving fresh to death, locally caught fish and shellfish. The menu changes every day depending on what the fishermen bring home. Look out for £15 lobster Wednesdays.