Another weekend and another BBQ, officially now my favourite eating style! The smokey aroma, the laid back atmosphere with the background bustle often being laughter and the popping of champagne corks - heaven! We attended an extra special one a couple of weekends ago for our good friend Gemma to celebrate her 30th. Her husband banished her from the house and put together the most amazing party with a little help from family - beautiful flowers, blankets strewn across the lawn, pale pink and white paper poms poms, candle lit lanterns hidden in the flower beds and of course one hell of a feast! This is where we stole the inspiration for a recipe we cooked up this week - a summer pearl barley salad. Not something I have ever cooked before but has seriously opened my eyes as it is so deliciously moreish and surprisingly fresh - I vow to start using pearl barley and quinoa more often - keep your eyes peeled for evidence right here!! With a poorly Middle Mouse on my hands I decided I would cook up a super summer supper to build her strength back up and make her fighting fit in no time at all...well that was my hope!
I opted for Madeline Shaw's salmon and courgette skewers with a side of squash pearl barley salad, and i'm pretty sure Middle Mouse was a smidgen brighter after clearing her plate!
2. Place the squash on a baking tray and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins or until cooked and crispy around the edges. (I was feeling lazy and got ready peeled and cubed M&S squash - these took a little less to cook so it will depend on the size)
3. Boil the barley for approx 25 mins in salted water until tender, but al dente.
4. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper.
5. Once done drain the barley, tip it into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Mix well and let it cool. (The recipe says to add raw garlic which I am not a fan off so left this out)
6. Boil the broccoli in salted water until just tender, then drain and rinse in cold water. Drain and pat dry.
7. Add the broccoli and remaining ingredients to the barley and mix well. This will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is delicious warm or cold. (again the recipe says to add raw onion which I am not keen on - so instead i cooked the onion and garlic off in a little olive oil before adding and it was still delicious and flavoursome!)
As self-obsessed jewellery addicts we're always on the look out for the next killer collection or trend. Move aside real diamonds and pearls and step forward ... drum roll ... Uli - rubber and textile jewellery!
Uli jewellery pieces - necklaces, earrings and brooches - are super unusual in the fact that that they're all handmade using the latest screenprint textile technology. Made in Amsterdam using fabric and rubber, each design features printed strands of diamonds, pearls and chunky chains.
I stumbled upon the brand the other week when I was in Fenwick - there in the jewellery section were bundles of these colour popping, rubbery necklaces all strung up. I was immediately drawn to them and instantly wanted to touch each one. Their rubber feel is quite addictive and so contrasting to everything else on sale in the store.
I can imagine these beauties looking gorgeously standout against a LBD or ripped jeans and a plain tee.
Ok, I know that the last few months have seemed like a permanent holiday in Mouseland. There was Lombok. Then there was Tuscany. Followed by Malaysia. And let's not forget Portugal... I know that I haven't even been back in Hong Kong long enough to sort through the photos of my last trip, let alone blog about it, but I'm off again... This will be my last trip for a couple of months though so I intend to make the most of it. I'm heading off to Cambodia for a little temple gazing chased up with some beachy sunsoaking. I'll be back and blogging about it by the start of August but in the meantime, here's a sneak peek at what I'm packing in my suitcase. Best of all, lots of my holiday picks have been reduced in the sales. Beach bargains? Ready, steady, shop...
Juicy Couture Camellia Bikini Bottoms £21/ Top £23 Cut price Couture of the juicy variety! This pretty two piece gives the black bikini a girly boost with bows and blooms.
Free People Trapeze Slip Dress £51 I bought this Free People dress when I was in the US a couple of years ago. Still available, and now it's a bestseller, in a whole heap of colours, this is the perfect throw-over to take you from sun lounger to sun downers.
Another cut-price bargain. I fell in love with this maxi at the start of the summer but somehow managed to resist. All my willpower slipped away when I saw it had been seriously reduced. Adore the pretty back and light, breezy cotton.
My hair tends to get battered after a few days of sun, sea and sand particularly if the hotel toiletries aren't up to much. Step up Moroccan Oil to save the day. I go for the light version because my fine hair gets too weighed down with the normal formula.
Folks - summer has FINALLY arrived here in London. We've pretty much had a full week of beautiful weather - blue skies, birds singing and flip flops all round! We're keeping everything crossed that it continues into the weekend when we plan do oh-so-much of this...
In other news HK mouse is away on yet ANOTHER holiday with her boyfriend, Jasper - this time Cambodia for 10 days. Lucky ducky! Watch her Instagram for almost guaranteed daily updates...
Mini and myself have been powering on as always until Thursday evening struck and I was bought down with a bout of viral laryngitis - boo hoo for me! So i've been resting up and feeling rather sorry for myself - OI i'm allowed, i'm ill!
Bar the above, this week the mice have mostly been...
Spoiling our skin with the new Verbena Collection. Fresh, lemony with a hint of cucumber, cooling and quite simply divine - L'Occitaine couldn't have timed this launch better with the recent scorching weather.
My favourite has to be the limited edition fragrance (RRP £42, 100ml) - i've used half of the bottle already - it's seriously summer bottled! It's actually rather addictive, mini keeps telling me off for being wasteful as I spray it too often! She's just jealous!
The shower gel (RRP £14, 250ml) is also super spoiling, a real treat after a busy day at work or to freshen you up before a summer's evening out with friends. We also tried the body mist (RRP £12, 50ml) and the ice gel for legs and feet (RRP £20, 50ml) - a big thumbs up all round - we now just need to slow down on how often we're using them to make them last the summer!
Going gaga over Christian Louboutin's signature red nail varnish! Need I go on??? Well, I will regardless! Most of you will by now understand my great obsession with shoes and in particular Louboutin's and that raunchy red sole.
The red hot polish matches the brand's iconic sole to the t and what's more... have you seen the beautiful bottle design? The varnish lid is inspired by the highest stiletto the brand sells, measuring 20.5cm. And apparently, nail varnish is where it all started 20 years when CL was busy designing. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of his assistant's red nail varnish ... so, like you do, he started painting the soles with the colour as an experiment. One hell of an experiment we'd say!
The range is said to be made up of 30 different hues of which are set to be released in September at £36 a pop. We likey!
Witnessing a baby boom! Last Saturday, I celebrated my gorgeous friend Gemma's 30th birthday. I arrived at her house for an afternoon of BBQ food and champagne and was greeted by more babies than adults! I hadn't until this moment actually realised how many of my friends were doing the baby thing - i'm clearly not there yet! Here's a snap of me and Raffy (Gem's sweet little boy)...
So often you receive the same birthday, moving home and well done cards because naturally we all flock to the best designs in the likes of Paperchase or John Lewis. The thing I love about Erin's designs is that they're so different and clever. The baby's building blocks spell out the new bundle's name, the calendar displays the date he/she was born, a clock for the time and scales for the baby's weight. Lovely. Order in batches of 25, 50 and 100...
Well that's it for ANOTHER week! Have a great sunny (finger's crossed) weekend all.
The humid weather has hit resulting in horrific tube journeys and restless nights, but we can't complain...it's just London's version of a summer!
I'm almost getting used to my make-up sliding off my face by the end of my morning commute and feeling the need for a cold shower after making any type of energetic movement! However moaning aside, there are a few things that make all of the above slightly more bearable...
Firstly the thought that at least it isn't raining and we can enjoy everything al fresco in London...why not bask in the evening sun at Camden beach...
....and secondly an amazing fresh new summer perfume!
I love a new perfume at any time of the year, but there's seriously nothing better for quelling your high heat bad mood than a spritz of a fresh, light perfume - instantly cooler, calmer and brighter! Well it works for me anyway and especially with the newbie I've been lusting after that Middle Mouse surprised me with a few weeks ago!
The Acqua Di Parma Blu Mediterraneo range comprises of six different fragrances all aiming to evoke senses of the Italian Mediterranean. This I believe they do very well indeed! I actually fell for the beautiful azure bottle before I even smelt it - I know, I know never judge a book by it's cover - however this time it was spot on!
It reminded me of picturesque Sardinian sea, a deep crystal blue shimmering with sunlight and with one smell you're transported to balmy holiday evenings, freshly showered after a tiresome day sunbathing and revitalised for the evening ahead! Every morning whilst I spritz away, I have a miniature daydream and then of course come crashing down to reality!
I fell for the beautiful Mirto Di Panarea with fresh notes of lemon and basil, highlights of rose and jasmine and all underpinned by a deep cedar wood and amber base. It makes for a perfect everyday fragrance but also one I have been wearing for summer evenings sipping on a chilled glass of sauvignon -heaven!
I'm now totally and unashamedly hooked and already eyeing up the matching shower gel and body lotion...!
In fact, we'd go as far as to say that we're almost as obsessed with interior design as we are with shoes. Big statement! Does that mean we're getting old and boring? Very probably! But if it leads to a chicer, more stylish home, who cares?!
One of our big guilty pleasures is scouring home blogs and interior design websites while eating our lunches al desko. If you have to eat your sandwich in front of your computer, you may as well be plotting your dream home while you do it... On a recent midday surfing session, we were browsing one of our fav home websites, Domaine (little sister site to Who, What, Wear and Byrdie), which lead us to an absolute gem of a home decor discovery - The Aestate.
The Aestate, brainchild of artist, Jessica Rowe, is a company selling super-chic prints of Rowe's fashiony watercolours.
Just look at these Aestate prints looking totally delicious in a variety of very stylish homes below...
So now you're probably wondering how extortionate the price tag is and how hard it is to get your hands on a slice of this Aestate awesome. Well, we're delighted to tell you that the answers to those questions are both blissfully great. Prints start from as little as US$10 and go up to a still ridiculously reasonable US$61. And, you can get your paws on a print via the Aestate eShop.Oh, and it's free shipping on all orders over US$75...!
We're particularly in love with a series of four tropical banana leaf prints which are inspired by the iconic wallpaper of the Beverly Hills Hotel.