23 April 2012

Sydney, I'm Coming!

Hey everyone,

Remember a few entries ago I mentioned a personal project that's going on in my life?
Now that plans are more finalised, I can let you into what's going on.

In Autumn, I am temporarily moving over 10,000 miles away to the other side of the world.

The title of this blog post may give some indication as to where I am headed, but just in case...

From late September 2012, I will be living in Sydney, Australia.

This is not a decision I have made lightly.
I originally planned travelling in late 2010 when I still couldn't find a job after graduating from university in the summer and discovered internship opportunities online.

I gave myself until Spring 2011 to find a job -  but when I got the job at the hostel, this obviously came first on my list of priorities.
(I did have an awesome boss from Brisbane however, which softened the blow!)

Working in a hostel was one of the most rewarding things I've done with my life - I'm naturally a nosy person, and every day I saw people from all walks of living going on adventures. 

Memorable guests included: a large group of German high schoolers who played Soulja Boy on repeat, a middle aged couple cycling across Europe for their anniversary, three girls who'd flown all the way from Texas to see Kate Nash at The Cluny, a nervous first-time inter-railer who asked for advice on how to make friends, an old Glaswegian man en route to London who described me as "like my son's second wife - pretty and chubby", a Dutch football team who left us lots of team flags to hang in the office, a group of "stags" dressed as superheroes who stopped to take photos with a little boy on holiday with his dad, as well as countless backpackers who would ask everything from what Newcastle is famous for, to which bars have the prettiest girls. 

When my job ended a few months ago, I've once again been questioning what I should do with my life - and the obvious answer is to have an adventure of my own.

I've been doing some hardcore research for the past month - and I've finally put down the deposit for flights, my visa and the programme.
I've decided to travel with Bunac, as it seems to have lots of perks for first-time travellers especially as you get grouped together on your flight from Heathrow, as well as the Hong Kong layover (hotel, tour etc.) and first week of hostel accommodation included in the price, as well as continued support from their Sydney and London offices. 

I officially leave in September.
The plan is to find work and accommodation in Sydney for a few months before moving along the east coast, which means overall I'll be gone from six months to a year.

So where does this leave the blog?
Well, although obviously I won't be packing my entire life into my scarily-small-for-me bag, I'm not the stereotypical spaghetti-straps-and-combat-pants traveller.
I'm taking my camera and laptop, so although my posts will get even more sporadic (that really seems to be my word of the moment doesn't it? I need to invest in a thesaurus...) I'd love to keep you all up to date with what I'm up to - and yes, this includes what I'm wearing!

Right, so that's you all caught up.
Have any of you guys been travelling, or suddenly moved sticks halfway across the world?

Oh, and if any readers are from Sydney, please comment or tweet me with recommendations on what I should see and do outside the usual tourist stuff?

Muchos love,

17 April 2012

"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines..."

"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
They left the house at half past nine
The smallest one was Madeline."

~ Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans.

Hey everyone,

I was bored last night, so tried putting my hair in rag curls. 

It's really easy to do - try YouTube for a quick tutorial video, but basically all you need to do is dampen your hair, put some mousse in to set, then curl your hair around rags (I cut up a pair of old tights) and leave in for a few hours, or overnight. Some tutorials even use socks for larger curls!

I'm hoping the curls make me look rather whimsical and European (I'm a bit of a Francophile) instead of "Why hasn't that girl put a brush through her hair today?!"

BELT: Dorothy Perkins.
BERET: eBay.
SHOES: eBay.
POINT OF FASHION: Je suis Fran├žais! (Although my "French" is remarkably similar to Joey's...)

When I was about sixteen, my "thing" was I wore a beret every day, and I still have a bit of an extensive collection. 
Black hair and red accessories is still one of my favourite combinations - especially with my glittery shoes I picked up on eBay for a fiver years ago!

Lipstick: Revlon 725

One of my favourite necklaces my best-friend Sam bought me when she was living in London.

Nails: Gold from Next with a gold sequinned top coat from Black Poppy.


Right, now the title of this blog has made me want to watch Madeline

It was definitely in my top ten favourites as a kid, and one of the films I watched on Sundays as I rushed my homework (usually as a double-bill with Paws - does anyone remember this film?!)

I love the internet.

Muchos love,

5 April 2012

Black Bean Brownies

Hey everyone,

Once again I apologise for the sporadic posting.

One of these reasons is I'm working towards a personal project, completely unrelated to blogging/fashion etc.
I won't say what I'm up to until everything is set in stone, but for now I will say that extensive planning is happening.
This includes a particular curbing of "frivolous spends" - for the first time in a long while, dresses aren't the first thing on my mind!

Don't worry though, I'm not going to completely drop off the face of the Earth - but please expect more scattered posting for the time being.

However, last night I tweeted that I made some healthy brownies for Italian Catholic Mother and my sister who are on a healthy eating kick.
Although not on a diet, they have been depriving themselves of chocolate, so I found myself googling healthy recipes for them - and I came across a recipe for brownies replacing flour and butter with beans.

I've heard of putting vegetables into sweet baking before - such as Zucchini Cake (that's 'Courgette Cake' to my fellow Brits...) and Harry Eastwood's infamous Beetroot Chocolate Fudge Cake so I was definitely curious to try it myself.

Last night a few people asked for the recipe which I didn't have to hand, so figured I'd post my version of this recipe here with some little tweaks I changed for myself:

Black Bean Brownies
(Recipe yields 16 small, or 12 large brownies)


  • 1 tin black beans, rinsed and drained. (I only had rosecoco beans handy, so used those and they were fine. Pinto beans will work very well too!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (I used Bourneville cocoa powder)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee (Don't worry if you don't like coffee - you don't taste this at all!)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I was out of chips, so put a few squares of 70% dark chocolate through my food processor)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking dish. 
  3. Combine the black beans, eggs, baking powder, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a processor. Blend until smooth (If you don't have a blender - just mash everything with a fork)
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. 
  5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture. 
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.

See? Easy peasy!
I love fudgy, sticky brownies, so these were perfect for my taste.

Even my sister, Nadia, who hasn't got a sweet tooth ate two of these last night, and just now when I went downstairs for a cup of tea, she was at the microwave warming up another one.
("I'm addicted!" She said.)

Please let me know if you try them!

So in other news, I thought I'd share some more pictures about what I've been up to this week:

OK, OK you've got me. I did treat myself to a new lipstick!
This is Touch of Magic by Barry M, which is more like a lip balm/tint - the colour of which depends on the alkali in your lips. It went a bright fuchsia on me one day, another day it went almost red. So cool!

I'm about five years late hopping on the hi-tops bandwagon, but could resist these cool pink ones. 
These are my first pair of trainers in about ten years - and just £30 from the Nike outlet shop at Dalton Park.
(Oh and this wasn't a "frivolous spend" - I genuinely needed a new pair of trainers, hehe!)

I was going through my cosmetics drawer giving it a tidy up, and thought I'd take a picture of all my false lashes. I think I have quiet enough for now, non?
(Links as to where I bought them from are in my last post)

So yeah, a bit of a random post - but honestly, my mind has just been elsewhere for the past week or so.

Is everyone who celebrates looking forward to a nice relaxing Easter weekend?
Unsurprisingly, it's one of Italian Catholic Mother's favourite times of the year (she's one of those people who sends Easter cards to the family) and she's in her element. 

I'm in my element as my three friends are home for break - Daniel is home for his birthday this weekend, so I get to see him for the first time this year as he's still working in France. 
Hattie is also landing for Easter weekend so let's hope the weather perks up so we can go for our usual wander.
And finally Sam is home next week from Mexico and is looking forward to a trip to a good old Hebburn pub. I think she must have had too much sun...

But anyhoo, even if you don't celebrate I hope you still use the opportunity to eat chocolate. 
Lots and lots of chocolate.

Muchos love,