Monday 26 November 2007

Slow on the uptake

Miss F and I have finally worked out what was wrong with the James Brown shampoo and conditioner lids. Whilst we spent ages trying to force them off they actually have a very easy to use hole in the top which when you press on the sides and lift opens up so you can just squirt the shampoo directly into your palm. I certainly feel a bit thick for not working that out sooner. The new James Brown haircare range is also now available (and very reasonably priced) at Boots. But it was thanks to this slight mental hiatus that I started sneakily using Miss F's Soap and Glory Hair Supply (available at Boots). It's £6, lasts for ages and works so well that loads of people keep asking me if I've had my hair done. It's really good.

For those people that it is just impossible to get anything for I Lick My Cheese and Other Notes: From the Frontline of Flatsharing by Oonagh O'Hagen is perfect. I have to say that I'm not to keen on the presentation - the cover isn't very exciting. But once you've started reading it you just keep coming back for more. Originally from Glasgow Oonagh O'Hagan is an MA fashion graduate of London's Central St Martins, where she is now a tutor. She runs, on online community of flatsharers where notes continue to be donated. This hilarious guide to flatmates will strike a chord with all flat sharers and anyone who's been on the end of such notes as "You know, that I know, that you know, that you took it... so give it back" or "I needed that ham, really needed it".

I don't know why but I always manage to forget the Christmas 'do' clothing disaster. So many things are going on, the weather (as usual) is foul - what do you wear? My pre-Christmas weight loss program has gone out the window - I'm at least half a stone over weight so I've taken to wearing my favourite black Gap mini-dress which is the closest you can get to a fabric bin-bag. It doesn't cling to the fat parts but is a great length (mid-thigh) and sweet mid-length sleeves. But it's Christmas and black is hardly festive. Behold, the return of the bling hair accessories. You can go for full on tiara style or just a teeny glitzy clip to add some sparkle.

Topshop Rhinestone Star hair clips are really sweet and only £6 so a great way to glam up but also great for stockings! If you want to be a little bit more extravagant Glitzy Secrets Paradise Head band would look great on piled up hair. For budget subtle sophistication Accessorize elastic Triple Strand Metallic Brando will sort out unruly hair - pile it up and space out the bands - it's only £4. Don't panic get glitzy xx

Monday 19 November 2007

Christmas Goddess

If you thought the hardback was good just wait til you see the paperback. The Goddess Guide by Gisele Scanlon is out in it's new format and it's better than ever. With new content and cover it's perfect for a girlie present or stocking filler - I defy any girl not to LOVE this.

As we know Christmas is the perfect excuse for slightly too much booze and you can't get more festive than M&S's Rose Prosecco which at just under £8 per bottle, is the perfect start to any Christmas party and won't break the bank.

Alan Yau has opened a new restaurant on St James St which I am desperate to try out. Sakenohana not only does sushi and sashimi but has a list of exciting traditional Japanese recipes with a modern twist - the shabu-shabu with Kobe beef sounds amazing. With a sushi bar downstairs and the restaurant and bar upstairs this is definitely worth trying as a Christmas treat.

For the man in your life - let's face it they are impossible to shop for - legendary guitarist Slash has just bought out an autobiography which I have to say is the best book I've read all year. Written with Rolling Stone journalist Anthony Bozza, Slash: The Autobiography takes you through one of the most exciting times in rock history from the view point of one of the genre's most respected musicians. It doesn't get any better than this - it's so good I might just have to read it again. xx

Monday 5 November 2007


I would like to congratulate Mrs Y on the long awaited arrival of her baby. She had a beautiful boy born at home on Sunday afternoon.

Right back to the more usual business of the day. Cheryl Cole has been badmouthing nearly everyone in the music business. I have to say that I think both Amy Winehouse and Charlotte Church, her two most recent targets, can both out sing any of girls aloud. Amy may have her drunken moments (OK more than a few) but she is truly original compared to a lot of what's out there at the moment. Mrs Fielder-Civil has other things to worry about this week her (loser) husband has been arrested for trying to bribe the victim in his ongoing assault case. Amy has been described as 'distraught' and this just seems to be just one more thing that is detracting from her talent.

And just when you were thinking that Britney might have actually kept out of the papers for once she has been snapped running a red light whilst looking at her phone with her kids in the back. Presumably the child welfare person was in the passenger seat so god knows what she must have been thinking. However, having watched a programme on Thursday (annoyingly the name escapes me) I do feel incredibly sorry for her. She is constantly surrounded by photographers. All the time. And the paps excuse? She knows their names and knows who they are so that makes it OK. I have no doubt that they help her career and she acts up for them but that in no way means she should have her every single move followed. No wonder she is [allegedly] going loopy.

OK and now to nicer things. For those of you who want to be creative with your presents this year or for those who, like me, use Christmas as an excuse to eat as much as possible Mumma B's Pepparkakor are a great present... or a great treat for you! They are a Swedish Christmas biscuit which are yummy plain or decorated. This recipe makes hundreds but you can freeze the dough so you can make them as you need them.
  • 250g butter
  • 300g sugar
  • 1tbsp syrup
  • 1 dessert spoon ground ginger
  • 1 desert spoon ground gloves
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 cardamon seeds ground
  • 1 egg
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1tbsp bicarbonate of soda
Melt the butter into a saucepan. Add the sugar, syrup and spices. Let it cool - it can be luke-warm but you don't want it to cook the eggs. Then add the eggs, flour and bicarbonate of soda. Let the dough firm in the fridge, roll onto a floured surface and cut into thin shapes (I love using star cutters). Bake in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about ten minutes and then leave to cool.

If you want to decorate them then you can mix up some icing and use silver sugar balls as decoration. Red, green and white are great festive icing colours. For all those ginger biscuit fans out there, these are going to the next level. xx

Saturday 3 November 2007

Give and You Shall Receive

Chai Time Tea
Having gone to an amazing Halloween party at my sisters house I was reminded that Christmas brings out the hostess is many and this in itself can just add to the expense of the season. Finding suitable presents to give as a thank you for a party can be impossible. But Choi Time may have the perfect solution. Tea may not sound very exciting but is actually a great substitute for the usual chocolates - and special tea is pretty unbeatable. Choi Time sell imported blossoms from China. With Jasmine, Exotic Mixed Flowers and Thousand Year Red Flowers because you only have to use one or two blossoms a time these actually last ages. You can buy small pots from £7.50 - getting a few of these would be a great present reserve for those awkward moments when you get presented with a gift and have nothing with which to reciprocate - or there are gift sets with an assortment of teas, pots and glasses (from £28). Not only will these teas suit those anti-caffeine people but also are great for helping along your festive hangover, which will make your present even more appreciated the morning after. Pour on the hot water and watch the flower blossom. Not only do these teas have anti-aging properties and can help speed up metabolism but they are calming, provide the body with catechins (which help fight cancer), help digestion and get rid of free radicals.

A more girl-specific present but a great choice if you don't really know the girlie on the receiving end is Style A to Zoe: The Art of Fashion, Beauty, and Everything Glamour by RStyle A to Zoe by Rachel Zoeachel Zoe with Rose Apodaca. This is a beautifully presented book and actually looks really different from its competition not only is it great inside but it's format outside makes it a great coffee table book. Unlike the other style/fashion/beauty books out there this is written by a bona fide stylist. The tips in here are have celebrity photographic and anecdotal evidence to back it up - with glowing praise for Rachel on the back from the likes of Glenda Bailey and Liv Tyler. Covering vintage must haves, the red carpet, what poses you can pull off and what to wear the morning after this is the best of it's kind with out a doubt. xx
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