Apple Strudel

The season for wholesome, warming desserts is upon us.  A Saturday night with not much to do, I looked at the apples I’m the fruit bowl…GIANT apples actually (how on Earth?!) and thought, “what can I do with you?”.  Stumped for a few ideas, I thought mini apple tarts, but that seemed longwinded. I wanted to make something quick and easy.  I had filo pastry and apples…so Strudel it was.

For this recipe you will need:

8 sheets of Filo pastry (or if you are able, make your own)
2 large apples (or one GIANT one as per my fruit bowl)
A handful of sultanas
50 ml Sherry (optional)
100g caster sugar
100g butter, melted
1 heaped teaspoon of nutmeg

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Firstly, add the Sherry and sultanas together in a bowl.  Put to one side.  Give the alcohol a little time to soak in.  You can do this in advance and keep them in a jar to use over the festive period *future post alert*.

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Peel and chop the apples and place in a bowl.  Add in the sugar and nutmeg and mix well.

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Preheat your over to 190°C and lay out your Filo pastry.  Cover your baking tray in greaseproof paper.

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Melt the butter and place a sheet of Filo on to it.  Brush the sheet of Filo with the melted butter.  A good trick is put the next layer of Filo on top of the first, then butter it, as it can be quite fiddly. Continue until all the sheets are done.

Add your sultanas to the apples and sugar.  Give it a quick stir.  You will notice a fair bit of syrup in the base of the bowl.  This is from the sugar breaking down the apples.

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Spoon the mix into the middle of the pastry in a line.  Roll over one side of the pastry hold tight. Fold over the other side.  Tuck in the open edges.  At this point you can flip your Strudel for presentation purposes.

Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until the pastry has browned and the inside has stewed. 

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This is a light and crispy way to have an indulgent treat. :)

Beauty: Bronzed Eyes

With the Christmas season getting into full  swing, we all want to add a little sparkle into our days. 

I will always be the first in line for daytime sequins and an overhaul of glamour, but with the numerous work events and Holiday themed activities going on, I often find myself running out of different looks to try out. 

In terms of make up- I often stick to plain eyes (I really don’t have the time every day to do a full face of makeup), but come December, I make a little extra effort.  The easiest and might I add, quickest way to jazz up my look is with some cleverly applied bronzed shadow.

Pencil shadows for me- give the effect without all the effort.

I use No 7’s Mirrorball Collection Eyeshadow Pencil in MINK across the eyelid, close the lashline.  Using a smudging tool or your finger, sweep the shadow upward across the lid.

Then use a bronze toned eyeshadow- I like MAC’s eyeshadow in BRONZE RUST and using a small eyeshadow brush, I day the colour all over the lid then blend.  I then take a lighter shade- a gold or shimmery white to add some sparkle.  Take the eyeshadow brush under the lashline and sweep this gold under your lashes.  Then do the same on the top inner corner of your lids. 

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Add a few coats of mascara, not forgetting to groom your brows and add in a touch of highlighter under the brow bone and you are ready to go!

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Autumn Colours

Under fashionable influence of seasonal striations,

Jasper skies of September tease warm sighs, plucking emerald silks

loose of leaved reaches that summer’s gold had purchased…

Now burnished titian spills lay heavily across bisque shoulders

of chilled autumn, as ocher runways alongside country lanes line

with gawking paparazzi, all purpling in their panicked push,

to capture bold front page coverage of Falls’ crisp presentation!

-M. K. HUGHES

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Beanie: Primark | Jumper, Tuxedo Blazer and Boots: H&M | Jeans: Topshop | Bag: American Apparel

Take Back the Night

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Jumper: Primark | Skirt: Zara | Boots: H&M | Bag: Forever 21 (Outside the Heron Tower, London Liverpool Street)

Post dinner, a little dishevelled after a days work and feeling drained I urged my friend to take some photos for the blog. 

I have noticed that not many (if any) bloggers take photos at night, so I jumped at the chance to give it a go.  It’s harder than it seems- trying to find light and angles to get a good shot, it makes you see and appreciate what our photographers have to put up with….Thanks guys! 

For dinner I opted for a fluffy, cropped jumper and a nude, leather pencil skirt.  I did have mules to wear but with it being cold out, my H&M boots made another appearance.

There’s something so beautiful about London at night; the lights the views and people are all great.  As much as I love to travel, London will always be my home.  The city has my heart.

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Approaching Winter

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Jacket: Topshop | Jumper: A Wear at ASOS | Skirt: eBay | Shoes: Just Fab | Bag: Vintage

You can probably tell that it’s windy out.  Windy and damp.  Does that stop me popping on a little tulle….of course not! I am not a winter person.  I find myself not caring about looking chic and caring more and more about the umpteen layers of clothing’s that I need to put on just to make it to work in one piece.  But this year I am adopting a new approach.  So I guess it’s a matter of start as you mean to go on!

Gem Tones

This past weekend has been nice and chilled.  In the run up to Christmas when everything becomes quite hectic, some chilled time is always welcome.  Due to the laid back feeling of the day, Saturday I couldn’t help but put on something long and floaty.  To be totally honest, I was prepared to leave the house and experience a serious wind in the air, but to my surprise it was mild and a really lovely afternoon.  Gem Tones are everywhere at the moment.  Deep greens and burgundies,  navy tones and ochre.  I love it.  A perfect accompaniment for these colours is grey.  It neutralises these vibrant colours and makes them more wearable.  What better than mixing a gem toned, Moroccan inspired print with a deep green leather jacket and grey accessories?

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Hat: ASOS | Leather Jacket: Zara | Skirt: Primark | Boots: H&M | Bag: Forever 21

I Love Lipstick

As you can probably tell from the title…This post is about lip stick.  Our pouts are precious things.  They should be just as well dressed as the rest of us.   With more shades in more odd names than you can think of, it all gets a bit much to choose from. 

Today I am going to show you a few of my absolute favourite shades.  I am a bit of a MAC lipstick addict because I find that they are quite long lasting.  I like to mix in Illamasqua and Sisley glosses for good measure though (it stops me feeling like I should run my own MAC counter haha).

The Berry:

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Mac Cosmetics: Rebel

The Red:

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Mac Cosmetics: Russian Red and Viva Glam 1

The Orange:

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Mac Cosmetics: Monange and In a Heartbeat

The Pink:

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Mac Cosmetics: Vegas Volt, Girl about Town and Pink Nouveau

The Nude:

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Illamasqua: Naked

The Gloss:

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SISLEY: Red and Pink and Illamasqua: Neon

The Need for Speed

Dating in the modern world is so clinical.  We can find out everything we want to know about someone though social media or running a quick Google search, then we think that we know everything.  There was a really interesting advert on for a popular, low cost hotel chain in the UK that stated how the persona we portray to others versus our real characters are 2 very different things.  For example, a Facebook status update could say “OMG just finished an amazing workout at the gym #feeltheburn”…but when translated it becomes, “I went to the gym because I felt guilty for wolfing down 2 packets of cookies today at work”.  Do you get my drift?!

Online dating is quite similar.  You trawl through these sites and create profiles- similar to that of your Twitter or Facebook and have to “sell” yourself in 3-4 lines.  My issue with online dating is that it lacks the the human essence that getting to meet people does.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that in a lot of western societies, getting to meet people outside of your full time work, friends or family can be both difficult and tiresome.  As someone who is still quite newly single, I feel as if I have to join the world of dating in the same way you would test a bath to see if it’s too hot…a little at a time.
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I was invited to a Speed Dating event hosted by Original Dating.  Set in a stunning venue in the downstairs bar of a trendy London restaurant, with funky interior and private booths, this event was ready to help people break down a few dating barriers!  Now, a few days on, I think it is a wonderful concept and although I was sceptical at first, I got to meet some interesting people (and 1 very, very drunk and intense man). 
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Speed dating put me in a situation that I don’t think I have ever been in before.  I am a chatty, outgoing person who felt a quite lost for words at first.  After all, you are in a booth- very close to someone you dont know, trying to strike up a conversation.  4 minutes later, a whistle blows and the men have to get up and move on to the next woman.
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As the night went on, it became easier to speak to people, with the top 3 topics of conversation being 1) Prior Speed Dating experience; 2) the weather; 3) Jobs.  One really funny guy (I’ll call him Steve) explained that this was his second attempt and told me a story about a lady at the last event.  She asked him what he thought about owls because she was “obsessed” with them. Steve explained that he could have responded in 2 ways- disbelieve and sarcasm or fain a somewhat genuine interest.  He chose the latter…  Well done Steve!

Original Dating really made the whole experience really easy.  During the event every person has their own unique number which you write down along with their name.  The number  is linked to a nifty app- Mixeo.  This app is great because not only can you get into the event and create your profile similar to that of Tinder; you are able to submit your ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘friend’ selections after the event.  If you get ‘yes’ or ‘friend’ matches with the other speed daters then you are able to make contact them using the app too (saves you giving out your number!)

I do think that the essence of human contact is lost on Internet dating and speed dating gives you short bursts with lots of different people.  It breaks down barriers with people that you wouldn’t haven’t normally met and I really find that commendable!

All in all, I enjoyed the night and would like to thank Original Dating for having me. 

Bianca xx

Bad Light

With it being so much colder out now, I feel guilty asking people to have to step outside to take my photo.  of course, if like my last post, I happen to be outside then its great to utilise the time when you can! Not so bad if it’s just bright but chilly, but when it rains in England, believe me it ain’t tropical!

Taking pictures in doors is so much harder- especially when you aren’t using a super cool, state of the art camera.  between that and finding somewhere where you aren’t stopping the flow of people, a quick snapshot of your #ootd becomes a lot harder.  It’s all in the life of a blogger!

What do you all think of this mix of leopard print? One traditional and one contemporary? Leopard print in any form just makes me happy.

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Coat: River Island | Jumper: Primark | Shirt: Zara | Leather skirt and Boots: H&M | Bag: DKNY

Fire Drill

Wednesday…1.30pm… I step away from my desk to take lunch.  I stand in the kitchen, warming my lunch, bag on arm and phone in hand, headphones on; checking what I have missed on Instagram over the past 4 hours.  A mere 60 seconds into warming my leftover risotto and what do you know?! FIRE ALARM!

I feel at this point I should state that it was not me who set off the alarm, by warming my food!  As I shuffled to get out of the building…not forgetting my half warmed lunch and a spoon (if the building is going to burn down, I may as well take my lunch with me right?!), I get outside to the designated meeting points for roll call.

When there is a drill normally someone gets warning, but this time nobody had a clue.  Was this another real fire?  I forgot to mention that 4 months ago I started at this job for a company that was heavily affected by the London riots of 2011.  The main warehouse was burnt to the ground in the middle of the night so as a result, fire safety is kinda their thing!  Definitely a drill.

The point of my story is, as we all grouped together trying to stay warm on the coldest day of autumn so far- my manager looked at me and said “Bianca, when did you have time to grab your handbag and put lipstick on? Looking all done up!”

There are few moments in life that call for dowdy clothes- fire drills are not one of them!

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Jacket and Bag: Zara (bargain at £30!) | Dress: River Island (old as time) | Boots: H&M | Headphones: Beats by Dr Dre | Lipstick: Mac Viva Glam I