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Yes, Yes, YES!!! The long awaited Kate Moss for Topshop collaboration is here... Cue animated air punching. If you can't get to your local Topshop to snap up a piece of British iconography you'd better have swift fingers because, it being the 21st century and all you can get this online. Still if I recall correctly the last collection sold out within hours so you'd better get your sKates on (sorry).

Here's my curated edit of the best of Kate Moss for Topshop.

Printed trousers are the modern way to update your look, yes black trousers are a safe bet and will never be out of style but if you're looking for a new you or a way to add some serious fashion klout to your SS14 wardrobe I strongly suggest investing in a pair of printed trousers. There is more than one way to wear printed bottoms, jeans, peg leg, culottes to name a few but La Moss's edict is clear; this season opt for a wide leg, relaxed cut. You are channeling boudoir elegance circa 1940's pin ups Greta Garbo and Katherine Hepburn. Pair with a simple neutral top for easy chic or if you're a little braver breton stripes for a mixed pattern look.

I think this is one of those amazing dresses that you could ordinarily bypass on the hanger but would make you swoon once you try it on. The movement engendered by the shredded fringe maxi skirt is scintillating. It will work in the city and at the beach, dressed up or down it will draw attention as flashes of leg move under the fabric. 

Splice Skirt Maxi Dress by Kate Moss for Topshop

This aztec inspired embroidered smock dress is perfect for festival season as well as a day-to-night party frock for beach holidays. I'd wear it with Hunter wellies for a wet weekend at Glastonbury and Birkenstocks for Ibiza.

Embroidered Smock Dress by Kate Moss for Topshop

A cropped, fitted blazer is a wardrobe workhorse. This metallic blazer will instantly elevate a casual look, picture it with cropped boyfriend jeans, a simple monochrome t-shirt, clutch and classic black courts. This one statement piece takes the effort out of choosing an outfit. There are matching cropped trousers too... joy!
Lame Tuxedo Suit Jacket by Kate Moss for Topshop (already sold out!)

I hope you find something you love.

Crushed It!

Yes, Yes, YES!!! The long awaited Kate Moss for Topshop collaboration is here... Cue animated air punching. If you can't get to your l...
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
At this time of year I am captivated by what is happening in the garden, there is such a sense of excitement and anticipation. Life is pulsing through the ground and erupting in every corner promising a floral firework display in the weeks ahead. The early spring flowers are slowly fading, making way for the start of summer planting. So if I seem to be a little absent or distracted from writing it's because I am being drawn out into my own piece of paradise by nature, I'm powerless to resist. Here's a glimpse of what I see.

In April 2007 on the day I moved into our home this Camellia was in flower, the rest of the garden was a bramble patch but somehow this exquisite shrub had managed to survive. Over the years I have trained it into a small standard tree and now every April it blooms for my birthday. Camellia prefer acidic (ericaceous) growing conditions so I top dress the soil with ericaceous compost annually. Once the last bloom has faded and dropped I prune any wayward or damaged branches adding the detritus to the compost heap.

 Lilac blooms a full month earlier in southern England than in Connecticut, when I moved there back in 2011 I was treated to its delicious scent twice in one year. My lilac is situated right next to the deck and creates a heavily scented archway between the house and the greenhouse. I love to watch the panicles sway against a bright blue sky, it's colour in motion.

 Alchemilla mollis is essential in any garden. The elegant serrated leaves open like a fan to a broadly palmate shape that capture water droplets and hold them like mercury glistening on the surface. The yellow flowers borne in summer fade to green and self seed veraciously.

 Dicentra spectabilis is easy to grow from seed, I add it to every garden I can. The stems are rather delicate and prone to break in harsh winds so it is best grown in a sheltered position but it is worth the extra care, the long delicate stems bear a profusion of pink heart shaped flowers. It's one of my favourite perennials and the white variety Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba' is so dainty and pure I've heard people gasp when they see it for the first time.

 A promise yet to come... the buds of peonies, day lilies and roses are swelling as the days lengthen.

I love a mystery and this delicate grass like plant is one I have yet to solve. The funny thing is I grew it from seed, nurtured the seedling to adulthood but I cannot remember it's name. Regardless I am delighted with the evergreen strap like leaves and the tiny blue flowers it has produced this spring make me smile, even more so when I try to remember its damn name... 

The First Flush of Spring

Friday, 25 April 2014
Pavlova is so evocative of springtime for me. I took inspiration for this pavlova from the spring edition of the Waitrose recipe guide. Even if you don't usually shop at Waitrose it's worth popping in and picking up the magazine and seasonal recipe ideas as they are jam packed with flavoursome ideas for your table.

This happens to be the first time I've made meringue. Whenever I make Eton Mess I use store bought meringue nests but I find they lack the gooey texture I recollect from childhood when my aunts and granny would serve the most enormous examples of this delicious dessert at Easter gatherings. They were usually topped with vanilla flavoured whipped cream and a mass of red fruits to act as counterbalance to all the sweet meringue. I hope you enjoy my take on this classic dessert.

You will need:
5 large egg whites
250g of caster sugar
450ml of double cream
2 tbsp of icing sugar
100g of passion fruit coulis
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
2 ripe pomegranates, remove the juicy seeds from from the peel

Preheat your oven to 100ºC and prepare three baking sheets with baking parchment.

In a large (preferably cold stainless steel bowl) whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks then add half the castor sugar and continue to whisk, gradually add the remaining castor sugar and whisk until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.

Spoon one third of of the meringue mix onto the prepared baking tray and gently push it into a circular shape. Repeat this step two more times until you have used all the meringue mix and the circles are of a similar size. Bake the meringues for one and a half hours, turning them and or switching them around in the oven every half an hour. Once baked turn off the oven and leave the meringue's in the oven overnight. It's really important to leave them in the oven to cool otherwise you will have real trouble trying to get an overly gooey meringue off the baking parchment.

Assemble the meringue immediately prior to serving, but if absolutely necessary up to an hour before serving. Whip the cream into soft peaks being careful not to over whip it (if it goes into lumps or doesn't look smooth you've over whipped it) and add the passion fruit coulis. Gently fold the coulis through the cream and put a small spoonful onto the middle of the serving plate, place the first meringue base over this and gently push it down. It's like a tiny bit of cement that will stop your pavola sliding off the plate.

Spoon a layer of cream over the meringue and add a layer of the fresh mango and pomegranate seeds, add the second meringue and repeat these steps until the pavlova is assembled and top with the last of the fruit. Now get ready to be adored by your family and guests.

Layered Pomegranate & Mango Pavolva with Passion Fruit Coulis

Saturday, 19 April 2014
Well hello there. I've been on a bit of a bloliday for the last week and by that I mean it's the Easter school holidays and I have been living it large with Bella & Bear which leaves very little time to write. We spent last week in London catching up with friends we rarely have chance to see due to scheduling conflicts during term time and this week we are ensconced in deepest Devon again catching up with old friends and also celebrating my up coming birthday with family. I feel incredibly blessed, not least because the sun has reigned down on us so beautifully; Bear's freckles are out, Bella's hair has golden highlights, my Dad has ruined me with Chanel and I feel like the luckiest mummy in the world... happy times are ahead.

Oh and these signs in the Winking Prawn at North Sands, Devon always produce a juvenile giggle from me. I may be getting older but I show no signs of growing up.

My Little Bloliday

Wednesday, 16 April 2014
UPDATE: readers can use code 'Bella15' to get 15% off Feather & Stitch online and in the shop until Sunday 13th April x

Last week I attended the Feather & Stitch SS14 preview event at the boutique on King Street in Richmond. It was a bit of an anniversary for me as it is a year ago since I attended my first event there and discovered Fi's passion for excellence in fashion. For new readers Feather & Stitch is a privately owned boutique that excels in sourcing the best in northern European design, with particular emphasis on Scandinavian design houses such as Maison Scotch, Kokoon and By Malene Birger.

The event kicked off with champagne and canapes as the boutique filled up with friends and VIP clients, everyone was keen to browse the rails and the fitting rooms were soon crowded with ladies trying on silk tops, printed trousers, jumpsuits and summery dresses. I had my eye on a Samsoe / Samsoe green sleeveless blouse and happily got mine before they sold out. It also comes in navy and vanilla ice (ice baby... sorry), either one of which could be making it's way to my wardrobe before the season is over.

Over the course of the evening I was repeatedly drawn back to this monochrome rail; printed trousers are the best way to update your look this season and these leopard print Kokoon trousers are a beautiful addition to your wardrobe plus they can be styled so many ways. Throw a pair of converse on and a simple t-shirt for the school run then switch to a silk blouse and heels for evening. Add a long line blazer for a summer office look and for the beach pair with a strappy top and pool slide flats. Adding a piece like this to your wardrobe takes the stress out of choosing an outfit and you will feel great knowing you look modern and stylish. Fi offers in store styling sessions with 10% off the purchase you make if you feel you would benefit from a little advice on how to work this or any other look.

I also fell in love with these BeckSondergaard scarves. They are incredibly soft and so wearable, just perfect for those chilly mornings in spring.

Oh and this is just between you and me... I know that there is brand new Maison Scotch stock that just came in over the weekend. Think printed pale coral jumpsuits, easy wear baseball style cropped sleeve jersey sweaters and elegant dark ditzy floral prints, but you'll have to get over to the boutique to grab yours lickety-split before they go online next week.

Feather & Stitch SS14 Preview Event

Tuesday, 8 April 2014
When I was expecting and I needed a sleek outfit I always turned to Isabella Oliver for their well tailored and down right comfortable maternity wear, so when the catalogue for its sister brand Baukjen arrived for the first time I was understandably excited. Baukjen's design philosophy is to create chic, easy, everyday clothes and their aim is to deliver these to you by providing a one-stop destination for all your dressing dilemmas. They eliminate the need to pound the pavement or trawl the internet (although the collection is available online too) looking for the perfect ensemble and so free up your precious 'me' time.

I've been following the brand for several seasons now and the SS14 collection is so stylish I just had to write about it. If you're like me and dream of building a perfect capsule wardrobe this is the brand to visit. Every outfit in the catalogue and online is carefully put together and individual pieces are styled up to three ways to help you picture different ways to wear them. I can't think of another website that does this to such great effect.

My favourite pieces are the Boyfriend Jean, Elia B Leopard Loafer and Coco Shirt. Every woman needs a go to boyfriend jean in her wardrobe arsenal this spring, this pair can be worn smart with heels or laid back with loafers. The Coco shirt comes in an array of colours, I will be opting for the white and possibly the khaki; wear this buttoned up for a prim or masculine look (depending on the shoes you choose) or open for laid back sex appeal. Flat shoes are the thing to have on your feet this season and these leopard print loafers are perfect! Believe me I've been looking for ages. The pony skin finish gives them luxe appeal, while the white sole gives them a sleek somewhat sporty effect ticking another trend box.

From now until 7th April 2014 you can get 15% off their 'Open for Business' edit with code CFB34, click the handy link to put you in the right place or you can go directly to the homepage here. Plus if you sign up for the newsletter you get a welcome gift of 15% off and free delivery. What's not to love?

Introducing Baukjen

Friday, 4 April 2014
I've been flavouring my chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter for years and recently I've been wondering what if I added some to a brownie recipe... so glad I did, they're phenomenal. In fact I've caught Bear with his hand in the cookie jar about five times today alone trying to sneak 'just one more square mummy' (in his most earnest voice). They are now sitting on top of the cupboards in the kitchen to prevent further unauthorised sampling.

You will need:
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2/3 cup of plain flour
2 ounces of good quality dark chocolate (in small pieces)
4 ounces of good quality milk chocolate (in small pieces)
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of coarse salt
3/4 cup of sugar
2 tsps of vanilla essence

For the peanut butter swirl:
3/4 cup of peanut butter
1/4 tsp of coarse salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
1/2 cup of icing sugar
4 tbsp of unsalted butter (at room temperature)

Preheat the oven to 160ºC
Prepare an 8 inch baking tray with parchment paper

It's easiest to measure out all the ingredients (pop them into separate bowls) before you start to bake so that when you get started you can just work through the recipe without having to stop to measure everything as you go.

To make the brownie mix melt the chocolate pieces and butter over in a bowl over a bain marie. Once it has melted and combined allow it to cool slightly on one side.

In a separate bowl gently whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Whisk the sugar into the cooled chocolate mix, add the eggs and continue to whisk until the mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in the vanilla essence then add the flour mixture and stir thoroughly until everything is evenly combined.

Put all the ingredients for the peanut butter swirl into a bowl and mix until it combines to form a smooth paste.

Put a layer of the brownie mix into the prepared baking tray, then spoon dollops of the peanut butter swirl onto the brownie mix. Repeat these steps again with the remainder of the brownie mix and peanut butter swirl. Insert a thin knife (like a palette knife) vertically into the uncooked mix in the brownie tray and gently swirl the layers together.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the brownie comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs. Allow the baking tray to cool slightly before lifting the brownie out onto a cooling rack to cool fully. Cut into squares, store in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownie

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Dress by ASOS
Coat by J.Crew (sold out)
Shoes by ASOS
Watch by Bell & Ross
Sunglasses by Marc by Marc Jacobs
Bag (old)
Rings & Earrings (old)

Larger than life floral prints are everywhere right now and in such a kaleidoscope of colours there really is something to suit everyone. If embracing print and colour in one key piece is too far from your comfort zone there are plenty of monochrome floral prints to be found. It's also an easy trend to work with accessories; scarves, bags even iphone cases (I want this Ted Baker one) are being given the floral treatment and this can be a great way to dip your toe into the trend without fully investing in it. I've paired this ASOS dress with a metallic clutch but a large plain black leather tote will work equally well and be more practical if you have a lot to carry between home and the office.

Embracing Floral Print

Tuesday, 1 April 2014
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