Friday, 18 April 2014

Radiant Orchid and Dazzling Blue

Beach style 2014Radiant Orchid Dazzling Blue

Not often is it that I find myself deliberately wearing the colours of the season but I found myself doing just that on a day trip to Wells-Next-The-Sea a few weeks ago. I know it's usually quite breezy along the coast so I knew tights would be essential but I didn't want to bulk up with a massive jumper so I went for a lighter knit and my trusty leather jacket. This cute little bag is such a lovely pink, bright and cheerful but not overly girly for my liking and seems to work particularly well with the dazzling blue jumper and made for a bold yet simple colour combination. This pleated polka dot skirt can be relied upon oh-so-often these days; it's long enough to be appropriate for every occasion, loose enough to eat a good meal and monochrome which is something of a rareity I my wardrobe. White tights! I have never worn these before and I'm not massively sure they suit me but for the outfit in question they were my favourite choice, worn of course with my Yull Chelsea boots which are always topping my list of practical footwear for every day.

Jumper, bag, necklace – charity shops, jacket – Ebay, boots – Yull, tights – Primark, sunglasses – QD

What to wear Spring 2014

Have a lovely weekend!

Sophie

Thursday, 17 April 2014

These cameras all in my grill

Tefal Optigrill

I've been thinking of how to create simple, healthy and quick budget friendly meals lately and instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I've been going back to basics. Our Tefal Optigrill has really come into it's own recently for grilling meat on the quick; we've used it for all the bacon and in fact I'm eating more bacon as it's far easier than getting the oven grill going, foiling up the tray, watching it..... turning my back just for a second and letting it burn.

My problem with meat has always been the timing – I can never figure out how long anything will need or being able to identify when it's cooked right. The Optigrill system of timing the cooking with the colour changing light is perfect for me! I waxed lyrical about the wonderful features before in my mini review of the Optigrill so I will try keeping this post brief.

So what have we used it for so far?

Steak! You will notice that the steak is served with celeriac mash and steamed vegetables with a dash of gravy. Don't get me wrong, steak and chips is my favourite but a few portions of vegetables is a far healthier choice and of course the steak is pretty lean as the fat that drips off is channelled away during cooking.

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Burgers (not pictured as I got carried away and ate them before my camera got a look in, sorry!). The really noticeable benefit was that the burgers stayed perfectly in one piece as they weren't balancing on a grill rack nor having to be flipped over multiple times. By far the best way to cook burgers is from frozen – fact. Chris was most impressed with the speedy cooking time and accuracy of the heating; he used our digital thermometer to double check they were done when the Optigrill said they were ready.

We sourced some local skin-on chicken breasts and liberally sprinkled on fajita spicing then popped them in the Optigrill. It turns out the spicing was really hot but the chicken skin was beyond delicious, this shall be reserved for a treat and next time we'll be using the skinned fillets as usual. The chicken stayed moist unlike every other time and way we've cooked it before so once again we'll be sticking with the Optigrill for cooking chicken. Obviously you cannot cook anything with bones on this grill as the timing sensor wont take bones into account so timings will be incorrect but I think that's just logical anyway.

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The Optigrill has been sat on the worktop since it arrived as we use it so often that it's not worth hiding it away in between uses. It's sleek design and compact size mean that it hasn't got in the way but equally would be easy to pop into a cupboard to free up more worktop space. We keep it right by the extractor fan as some meats do produce a fair bit of steam depending on water content (bacon is the worst) but near a window would be fine. The plates are a doddle to remove, clean and reattach (dishwasher friendly too).

I can imagine this would be ideal for small families, single people and especially the elderly as you can cook so much on the Optigrill at worktop height, completely avoiding bending over to the grill or bottom oven with a hot or heavy pan. We're loving ours and are getting plenty of use out of it; I want to toast a bruscetta on it and also get some fish grilled on it at some point too.

Sophie

Thanks again to Tefal for sending me the Optigrill! All opinions and content are 100% my own as always.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Bluebells at Wayland wood

walking through bluebellsdress in the woodsancient

There is something magical about a carpet of bluebells in woodland; the colour is so pretty and brings such a smile to my face. Somehow I've always managed to miss the brief bluebells of spring before but this year I wanted to make the most of these beautiful wild flowers.

leather jacket in the forestbluebells in the woodsbluebells in the woodsWayland woods

fallen tree with bluebells

Wayland Wood is a patch of ancient woodland just outside the small town of Watton, I've wandered round the woods a couple of times before. When I visited on Saturday the light was low, the breeze light and the ground firm. We hardly saw another soul about which made for a very peaceful hour, with just the wildlife for company.

kneeling in bluebellscarpet of bluebellswoodland wildflowersSpring minidress

Dress and jacket – ebay, boots – Yull, necklace – George at Asda, bangles – gifts

haze of bluebellswoodland spring blossomSophie in the Sticks

Being haircut day, I was given the traditional hair straightening which although is neat enough I feel really isn't my style any more. Give me some casual waves in my barnet any day please!

woodland spring wildflowersBluebells at Wayland woodwhite bluebell flower

Sophie

No flowers were harmed, I was super careful not to damage any.

Friday, 11 April 2014

The Norfolk Boutique preview

LAMB bag

On Wednesday I went along to the preview evening of the Norfolk Boutique over at Coltishall near Norwich. As the little billy no-mates that I am, I went on my own to have a jolly good peruse in store and report back to you lovely readers.

The boutique was beautifully furnished and laid out; it was so pretty with plenty of room to wander round to take a look at the collections. My eyes spied the amazing LAMB bags, which are still playing on my mind, with this one being my favourite. Maybe one day...

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The stairway (the store is at first floor level) - What I wore (I dressed in a hurry!) - My favourite piece, the Kara navy lace dress. Oh it was gorgeous!

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Some fifties style dresses, halter necks and flared skirts. The red one was fabulous! - Skinny jeans

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More of the beautiful store

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A rail of party style dresses; embroidery, sparkles and wow factors – This is a hell of a dress (it was really heavy too but such a standout piece – A flowing maxi perfect for summer

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Some very cute blouses with my favourite being red with polka dots – I adored the printed maxi dresses

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The colours of this scarf grabbed my attention – You can follow @BoutiqueNorfolk

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So what did I buy, well I bought arguably the least exciting thing in store but something I do need; a good quality black vest top which I've been meaning to buy for ages. Here's hoping that investing more wisely reaps rewards!

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I was given a goodie bag as a thank you for coming to the preview; a mini bottle of prosecco, a Lindt bunny, a pretty heart decoration and a bottle of local goat's milk hand and body lotion (review to come when I've used it). Looks like I didn't get lucky with the gift voucher, shucks!

The Norfolk Boutique store is opening to the public on 12th April where you can shop their designer clothes and accessories to your heart's content.  I know that I'll be dropping by to peruse all the stunning pieces whenever I'm nearby!

Sophie

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