Friday, 29 August 2014

Sort Of A Wishlist

So, basically, now that the whole exciting summer shenanigans are over (when you read this, I'll either be in Tenerife or already back home), the natural mind automatically gets ready for Christmas. Well, mine does... Therefore, it is obviously necessary to start planning a wishlist. Obviously.

1. Feast your eyes upon these beauties: The Barry M Gelly Nail Paint! I have heard so much about these and really really think they would be so practical and long-lasting, as well as having a gorgeous jelly effect and shine. One can never have too many colours and these come in really pretty colours so there would be no shame at all in buying them. Pretty pretty pretty!

2. I heard about this book (The Body Book, by Cameron Diazon Essie Button's video, recommending it. I think, if I owned it, I would recommend it too. I like nothing more than knowing other people's opinions and points of view on things, and I really would love to know why eating junk food is bad, not just how bad it is.

3. In my dreams, I am a very avid smoothie-maker. In real life, not so much. But, I would if I had the Breville Blend Active! Enter all sorts of yummy breakfasts and snack possibilities: The Burnt Banana Chocolate Malted Milkshake from Joy The Baker, Easy Peach Fruit Smoothie from She Wears Many Hats. And, it's not just any smoothie maker. It's in sports-bottle size and so just perfect for on-the-go frivolities!

4. I would love to be a cookbook collector, for, even though my love for the kitchen is great, I don't actually possess many cookbooks. I especially need a vegan cookbook. That's necessary! The '31 Meals, from The Minimalist Baker, looks perfect! I love Dana and John and I read their blog too too often. I think their cookbook would make salads fun.

5. Enter: Milano Backstrap Birkenstock in Buffalo Black, Sandals. I think I should begin to accept the fact that I will never own another pair of Birkenstock, until the day they make them vegan-friendly. Someday... 

6. Vegan 1461 Black 3-Eyed Shoe, Dr Martens! Say hellooo to mama! These wonderful creations are VEGAN and extra SASSY! I think they are hard earned, so I think I should be getting them *ahem*...

7. I have many many plans to wear these ASOS Gents Jean in Rich Blue. I plan to wear them as my go-to jeans, with shirts and tops galore. I think they have a gorgeous vintage feel, while still being quite-ish modern.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Top Five Favourites

If I've made it through half the year and survived, the excitement building up for a holiday is overflowing. As each year comes and goes, Christmas and the family summer holiday seem to be the only two rotating seasons. Christmas, then summer holiday, then Christmas... Hopefully, that means there's soon to be some sort of plane tripping and swimming involved. I am really getting more excited than anyone else at the fact that I will be able to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the markets in Tenerife and get really pretty photos of colourful stalls #instagramming. This half-year has had ups and downs, feet-up-on-the-couch moments and rekindling my love for spaghetti hoops.. and then eating them by the tin-ful. This half-year has been completely necessary, and so is this holiday. 

So, completely non-flying, non-holiday related thoughts have filled my mind.

1. Enter: The Roasted Chickpeas. Not just one chickpea, but many. Oh so many! This versatile legume (it's a legume...) is so tasty when paired with soy sauce. The soy caramelises and gives a sweet/salty taste. I am currently LOVING adding salt and Thai 7 spice (which is a gorgeous blend of chilli flakes, garlic, ginger, coriander seed, lemon peel, cayenne pepper and cloves). #HECKYES! 

2. Oprah said 'Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.' Listen to Oprah. She's my favourite kind of person.

3. I love discovering new lovely individuals at random moments (either I find them, or they just pop up). This week, I have been loving Essie Button, and she makes videos, which is fun! 

4. Can something be a favourite before it has been touches? I'm saying yes! I was lent the first book in the trilogy, 'Divergent', and I am so so excited to read it. I have been forcing myself to read the book I am currently on so as to finish it quicker so I can make a speedy start on this one. Air conditioned hotel room reading, pool lounger reading, under the restaurant table reading, beach towel reading. This is going to be my number one summer read! (It is also a film but, really, who can watch a film before reading the book? Not me.)

5. Hopefully you have a carrot and maybe an onion somewhere in your fridge. Because, that way you can attempt to recreate this beautiful dish I had at a local food pub, The Hospital Inn. Precautious at first, because food pubs and vegans are not the best of buddies, but #watchout because this big boy was so yummy and so sweet and caramelised and just plain mad amounts of deliciousness! The original dish was served with pulled pork or duck, so I asked for the stir-fried veg in the oriental sauce - and, really, who had duck when you get extra oriental, sweet, sticky sauce?

Byeeeeee! Cheerio!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Top-With-Anything Dark Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark is always a good idea. It is a great pleasure of life to be able to share some chocolate bark with someone (especially if it is homemade chocolate bark). The ideal food-sharing situation would involve sharing iced tea and slightly melted chocolate bark. If someone is willing to share that moment with you, either marry them or give them a friendship-bracelet-thingy. They're worth it. And then, if they were to take their portion of chocolate bark, and then let you pick of the toppings... it's definitely love at first sight. Alternatively, sharing the chocolate bark with yourself, more chocolate bark, or the voices on the television, makes for a dreamy, sweet-tooth-satisfying evening. Either way, chocolate bark is always a really excellent idea.

I had to construct a list, always fun, of recipes and food I wanted to try over the summer. I didn't want to be left in the dark and forget all the hours of searching for mega yummy foodie inspirations on Pinterest. Chocolate bark was on the list.

It comes together in little baby steps... but such easy steps. Oh so easy!

It's really just melted chocolate of sorts, dark is preferable; which is then spread on to parchment paper rolled out over a baking tray. Easy peasy and so quick. We take it back to the roots with a simple one ingredient chocolate bark. None of that fancy cream or oil added. I mean, come on, we live on a schedule!

Then we top with toppings. This is a choose-your-own station because anything works. No, really, anything. And... we're really going for too much topping. Too many crushed biscuits. A lotta bit of peanut butter, too many raisins, and far too many salted peanuts. That's what we want. 

Like I said, anything goes. And if melted peanut butter and crushed biscuit on one side, and salted peanut and raisin on the other side isn't enough. Sea salt and date-y caramel? #outofcontrol Or just whole dates, just like that! Because dates and chocolate is never ever a bad idea! Coconut? 100% made for me! Peppermint? Why did I not know about this earlier? Really!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Primark Denim Boiler Suit // Outfit

This was not intentional. I wasnt feeling too good and had a moment of really not caring. But, I jjust couldn't face leaving the house looking bad. Is that vain? Probably.

This boiler suit/ overall/ denim jumpsuit (from Primark) is so so comfy and is really easy to wear. It takes me to a safe place where I can admit openly to eating biscuits and spaghetti hoops for dinner #definitelynormal. It feels nice to have a staple item that is a versatile and neutral colour that pairs so well with any palette.  I love how ready-to-wear it is. It needs only a few, if any accessorising, and can be worn very simply with minimal pieces. I am currently loving pairing it with my white Birkenstock or my black metallic slip-ons from Bebo Shoes. I also think it would be so easy to dress up and add some statement jewellery to wear as a fancier/dressier outfit. 


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Best Ever Banana Bread (vegan + sugar-free)

I'm not quite sure where my love for banana bread came from. We've always had banana bread tins, though. Watch out everybody, we're proper bakers now! Even though I seem to remember loving banana bread from an early age, I never actually remember eating it. Second to carrot cake, banana bread is my favourite all time bready cake that isn't really bread. It's so naturally sweet but not too artificially sweet and has such a versatile recipe that you can really add anything to #gimmedates #ornuts

Despite the loafs adaptable and fun-to-add-to ingredients, I wanted to strip down the recipe to the naked nudies and take everything right back to the absolute essential classics (vegan and sugar free though). Behold, friends: The Best Ever (BEST EVER!) Banana Bread!

It all starts with a generally basic vegan batter and then bananas are added (mashed - so therapeutic...) for that quintessential banana-y sweetness. The batter is a no-brainier, no-timer. Ya just mix ya flour with ya baking powder, baking soda (still figuring out the difference), sugar or sweetener of choice and salt to balance out the sweetness. Then the wet ingredients rock up. Coconut oil to bind, dairy-free milk to bind some more, and vanilla essence (I don't know). That's the batter. So simple.

It's like cake for breakfast... Or lunch... Or whenever. SNACK TIME! Yes please! Also, it would make an awesome muffin recipe. Just sayin'. 

I can definitely see this becoming a firm friend on the breakfast rota (no, nobody is that organised.) and getting jazzed up a bit. Like a face lift for banana bread. I want to try adding dates and nuts for more texture and flavour and when I'm feeling particularly hungover food-related, I may even try adding peanut butter and/or choc chips. 


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Windy Day Outfit // Morcambe Beach

Gas t-shirt (charity shop) 
Converse All Star Original 

I found a casual-ish outfit that is comfy and quick to pull on and looks effortless too. Huzzah! That is my problem. I always look like I've tried too hard. And then wear too much and feel uncomfortable but look good. And despite looking good, it's not a worthy cause. So this will become a staple go-to. For all those days shopping on Rodeo Drive, having campfires and making other fun windy day observations... (?)

Cue temp tattoos... #tooreal

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Summer Park Outfit

So, living here in Britain, summer is here. It should have arrived in your township, too - unless you live in California. Then you're lucky and summer never leaves #summershowoff With summer weather comes a whole new outfit system and wardrobe. This dress and this day are both so breezy and summery so it made the collection. 
This dress has been a firm loved staple since last summer when I bought it at a market in Provence on my holiday in la français.
I've taken to pairing it with my Birkenstock, or I just did in this outfit (my first time) - but I think it would look quite sassy with my Converse... depending on the amount of running the days agenda is requiring, ideally none, unless there is a drastically developing fire....

I had a fun photoshoot sesh with my lovely friend Shannon, who is very gifted with a camera. She took these photos for me (not that she had much choice...) You should probably follow her on Instagram. It's good, really good.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Banana-y French Toast (vegan)

Dear French Toast,

To what extent do you enjoy being eaten? I imagine it has unbalanced amount of both pros and cons. Following this morning, a morning of French toast (indeed), I am writing an ode to you, French toast. Why? I have no credible nor convincing argument to answer with; but I like you very much, French toast, and I'd just like you to know what a great encouragement you provide for my stomach and taste buds in the morning. I often crave you. 

Are you really French, or is that another tricked theory? I wonder. As you happen to be a common breakfast occurrence in our household, I would really love to know. 

So, we've discussed breakfast tasties before - we've showed appreciation towards Banana Overnight Oatmeal and we've kinda discussed veganism (in passing). You're another one for the album and you sure are good. Obviously, you're made following Minimalistic Baker's recipe... Because it's the best going.

I discovered early on that other family members are not vegan guys, they're eggy French toast guys. But, the thing is, I'm a vegan gal. Our common ground? Topping you off with delicious extras and accessorizing up that vegan recipe so even the carnivores love you. We're so clever, right?

You happen to have a very versatile build and seem to be up for any smothering. That's good... thanks. Do you enjoy being drowned in syrup? I can't help but thinking it may have some sticky consequences (sorry) and it may leave the user, you, feeling somewhat sugary. But, I like you sweet, so, um, (please) deal with it. 

I like to smear you with peanut butter (sometimes almond butter is substituted when I'm feeling particularly Pinterest-y), sprinkle you generously with cinnamon and sugar (sometimes lemon or lime is added too) or dress you (more like drench you) in syrup. I figure, this way, I can quench my undeniable hungering for sweet and savoury hybridized into one; my stomach gets be filled; the kitchen smells great (!); and you definitely are more readily devoured. That short-lived moment of syn-ergy feels really good. 

Obviously, because nature and gravity are just so mean, some of us (don't...) are forced to lean towards the healthier box of groceries. On those sort'sa days, I like to top you off with some fresh banana, sometimes cinnamon; or, when bitten by the bug of originality, season you with salt and pepper (trust me). Now you feel fruity-cool and très/über (multi-lingual, I thank you) zingy and fresh.

I have an appetite for you, French toast. That's good, right? Thought so...

So, yeah, concluding this ode - you often get topped with:

-  Syrup
-  Cinnamon and Sugar
-  Lemon/ Lime
-  Peanut Butter
-  Banana and Cinnamon
-  Salt and Pepper

You taste really good, I like you, thanks. We should do this more often. Talking to items of food really opens up so many new possibilities.

Cheerio! Love Dani xxx

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Liverpool Day-Tripping Adventures

A while back when, I ventured to Liverpool with my family, totally on a whim (a total lie, because I'm not prepared, mature, road-safe or radical enough to live life by whims). Liverpool is my favourite city... second to Manchester... and London... and Paris... (Well, I like Liverpool!)

The force behind the decision to visit was to see the parade walking through the town centre. It was all very artistic and full of giant walking men and dogs made from wood and metal - so very entertaining and fascinating and right down my alley.

We also galloped (we galloped) onto the International Slavery Museum, which is definitely recommendable to all, and Liverpool One, which, if you have read far back enough, you will know I love! Carluccio's is the place to be seen and, and, they have a vegan menu so take me there right away! It would probably be best to go shopping when I have money to spend but, not to worry, I like to live life on the wild side... The shops welcome you all the same, money or not (because they know you'll find some somewhere, that little bit that was meant to be saved). Jamie's Italian is encouraged, too.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Festival Fashion Vibes: Racer Crop & Mini

This outfit is where it's at, my friend. I cleaned up for an outing to a food festival (back when it was sunny...) and this outfit appeared on me (I woke up like this...).

Racer Crop - River Island (ON SALE NOW)
Mini Skirt - Primark
Shoes - Converse Chuck Taylor Original 

PS. I happen to look like I am wearing fake tan... I don't like that. I'm blaming it on the lighting... or I must just have very blotchy legs.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Summer/July Favourites

Hello and Happy Thursday!

Oh, let it be sunny again! 

Why, when the sun leaves, I suddenly start thinking about Christmas and how nice it would be to snuggle under a blanket and really appreciate the cold? For some absurd reason, if the 'summer months' are on, yet the sun is not there; people like to pretend that the sun is still there, continue to walk around in cheek-revealing shorts, and then (deep-within) become terribly miserable because of the need to indulge in non-existent sun. I would much rather accept the no-sun policy and go and make some hot chocolate. 

That's the British summer summed up...

More than the irrational planning of the Christmas tree colour scheme, I've also been loving a multitude of sins this summer.

Bright nails and nail art are my absolute version of the bee's knees this season. I have been Pinterest-ing far too any ideas, actually accomplishing some, and dreaming about others. I also want gel nails. Like, really want.

The end-of-season sales are always a fun way to let off steam. I particularly like having fun in clothes with the price tag of a car. That can go either way, but usually gives the player some form of amusement. 

I think the Kim Kardashian Hollywood Game should be banned. I will stand up in court and stand my ground. It is a evil, mind-destroying, enslaving, and yet deeply satisfying game. Why would anyone download it... ignoring the fact that I downloaded it... what idiot downloads such a thing?...

I am also deadly serious about The Chocolate-Dipped Potato Chip ingeniously created by Joy the Baker. Very very deadly serious.

I have quite-recently-but-not-too-recently discovered the lovely works of Lily Pebbles and sat behind a iPad screen for an unhealthy amount of time reading her blog and watching and re-watching vlogs (because other people seem to have such Pinterest-able lives...).

My summer favourite blog-reading list has been compiled. I am obsessively loving (to the extreme of adding an icon to my homescreen...) 

Go eat some vegan cake and sing songs!


Friday, 1 August 2014

Travelling + Touring in Belgium // Photos

I always imagined the adult life was filled with many-a charcoal power-suit and many-a overdose on iced coffee. In my small childhood brain, the ideal lady jumped on a first class plane as the wind blew and changed, slept with her phone like a teddybear and speed-responded to her hectic email schedule. I still share the same thoughts with my younger-self though now the dream revolves more around travelling and sightseeing the cities too rich for me ever to see (still, of course, with the emailing robotic fingers and iced coffee in hand...).

I fulfilled this daydream to a minimal margin this summer by hopping onto a plane to Switzerland, returning, and within the same weekend, giving myself up to a Belgium ferry. I felt all swish and mature (probably more than I should have, or more than any sane person would have).