Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Hello Stranger...



Stella Magazine at 'The Daily Telegraph'

...It hasn't been that long has it?

As difficult as one's financial situation may well be, I have bone-achingly slowly managed to build up a substantial amount of 'cash' to finance another week of playful exploitation over at The Daily Telegraph

Despite having scheduled and marked said appearance upon the pages of my metaphorically beige WH Smith diary, I have somehow managed to vacate the New Forest and proceed to my Surrey Lodgings a full seven days in advance 
...Oh no, silly me.


The Pocketbook Diary | Mulberry

Fortunately enough, Daddy Austin knows exactly what kinda girl I am and so he surprised me with this sparkling gem in the hope that i'd start to pay a little more attention to what i'm doing, who i'll be with and when. 

Sadly for now, it's good night from the working girl but as always I'll be in touch.

TTFN
 Ta Ta For Now

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Bad Blogger & Her Spanish Retreat



Frolicking Streetside 
(Only A Tad Worse For Wear)
All Photographic Content is Courtesy of the Devilishly Handsome Benjamin Sanchez

Alas, the honeymoon period has come to an end and with it the exhaustion of my timely blog post. 
I am sorry of course and as always I send only the sincerest of apologies but as I have previous explained, the working life of a student offers little time for leisure and thus so, even less time for any online activity. 
Somehow I managed to reason that a summertime special in Spain could be justified - if not for my sanity then just for the sheer fun of it all. 





At the request of the boy and his wonderfully charming parents, I fished out my passport, threw on my bikini and I ran out the door. Forty minutes in the car, less than two hours on a plane and we had touched down in the sun kissed land of tapas and paella.  
We frolicked and pranced to our hearts content, spending our days by the pool, in the sea and venturing through the local towns and cities. Simple but heavenly. 


One of my better swimsuit shots.
I wasn't quite ready for this snap shot but I like it none the less. I'm wearing my favourite green bikini, bought last year in the River Island sale. It doesn't fit my body quite as well as it once did but then i'm a sucker for block colours. 
...No references to beached whales if you please.  


This was the second of the Sanchez holidays that i've personally invaded and in all honesty I couldn't tell you which of the two was better. 
I had a fabulous time and I just can't thank them enough for putting up with the likes of me. 

In other news/.
I'll not only be back waiting tables and moving into my new 'gaff' but i'll also be serving another week with those charming ladies over at Stella.

Let me know how your summers are going and as always, 
stay tuned folks. 


Friday, 27 July 2012

The New Forest & Hampshire Show



All Photographic Content is Courtesy of the Devilishly Handsome Benjamin Sanchez

This is another of my annually scheduled and perpetually attended events of course.
Hosted by but also thrown in favour of all rural dwellers and localised bumpkins, the New Forest Show embodies the very essence of what it is to be 'country.'
Under the latter, animals, machinery, delectables and crafts are only a mere handful of varied categories that proudly stand on show...



One of my favourite pieces of machinery.
-If not for the coincidental name then for the sheer luxuriousness of the bodies intoxicating shade of crimson.


Fully aware of just how filthy sheep can be, I can't help but adore the mop like features of these three beasties. They reminded me of an old Jelly Cat pillow that I had when I was little. I've found the exact thing right here. 


The Blacksmiths also like to make an appearance. Traditional from their very manners to their ways of working, my favourite of their skills include the crafting of the most beautiful of sign post and address plaques.

 


This is one of the most impressive examples of engines and motors that the show has on offer. In a bid to impress, many of the machines have a modern external output to demonstrate ones reliability and worth. The operation behind a working tap for example.




Humphrey the Pig
Piglets made a more than welcome appearance this year, with no less than twenty people swarming their fenced off area at any one time. If I were given the opportunity, Humphrey here would have been coming home with me. 


Among the many tents that stand high across the designated grounds, I always manage to lose myself within the 'antiques' headquarters. Filled with treats and temptations galore, it's the perfect location for those that think of themselves as thrifters. 


Harold the Turkey was one of the more fearsome of creatures, both in size and structure. 
 - Come Christmas time and I don't think he'll be squeezing into our aga any time soon. 


This fluffy chick is the most deceiving of all birds. Yes he may look adorable but in reality he was making every effort imaginable to skydive over my hands and out of my sight. 
- a complete terror I swear. 

There is of course an alternative reason for my consistent attendance throughout the years. The following efforts are to name but a few, all of which evolve around which...


The pop-up pub. Host to oh so many kegs of local bitter that just make is so very, very hard to only choose just one. Ringwood Brewery is always my first choice but they also offer up Pimms and beer on tap. 


Next stop is lunch and I can't resist the Hog Roast baguettes. There's nothing more environmentally appropriate and delicious. 


These girls make the best hot chocolates. Sadly I can only stomach them when it's raining or chilly outside but I would strongly advise for anybody with a sweet tooth to indulge oneself. A two minute luxury that you won't regret.


Strawberries and cream are also a must have for just £1.50 a cup. Between this and the Pimms that's on offer, it really is very much like wimbledon in the 30 degree sunshine. 

I recommend attending the first of the three days, the atmosphere is at its most excitable and there tends to be a lot more of the test and trial freebies, delights and gifts on offer. 

 - One day tickets are £19 on the door but if you book in advance they offer a 20% discount. I'll be sure to let you know in the run up to 2013s already anticipated show. 










Saturday, 14 July 2012

Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat


The epitome of all foundations?


Ever since I first started to 'face paint' Yves Saint Laurent has never ceased to be my 'Mister Foundation.'


-I've never coated my skin in anything other than YSL's Perfect Touch. Nor has his Touche Eclat ever been found missing from my possession.   


With so many others swearing by the magic workings of the latter, the unveiling of a sister foundation was met with sheer excitement by women in their thousands. 
Twenty years after Touche Eclat was first introduced, those clever, clever minds behind the YSL beauty brand have done us proud. 
Very much like its spouse, Le Teint Touche Eclat give ultimate coverage whilst remaining natural, flawless and but of course, 'radiant.' As the make up girl told me, a little of this liquid really does go a long, long way. I found that three clicks were more than enough to give complete coverage, a very promising notion. 
This could be the closest thing to the 'dream' foundation. It feels light and not at all sticky, but it also makes all of my flaws disappear, just like YSL's magic pen did before it. 

Oh well, it looks like i'll just have to keep recommending YSL to the rest of the world. 

...fingers crossed they never sell out.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Stanwells House Hotel Part II





Just as with the rest of the student population, i've recently found myself thrown into a continuous state of what we all routinely refer to as work. 
I won't fuss however. On the one hand I have very little free time with which to entertain you lovely blog devotees but on the other, I am in the unfortunate state of financial need and what's more, I really do enjoy waitressing. 
That being said, I did manage to find a small window in my 'working girl' schedule and so on a very sunny evening this week, the boy and I decided to take a turn for some light supper by the water. 
Delighted with the efforts of Stanwells House Hotel (found in one of my May time blog posts) we thought that we would push the 'boutique hotel' one step further. 
There's two restaurants located within the grand establishment, one entitled 'The Bistro' and the other devoted to seafood. We opted for the latter. 




Impressed with the room and its vibrant but simplistic ambiance, I sipped at this glass of fizz whilst the boy guzzled his way through a non-alcoholic beer - Someone had to drive after all. 
We were then given two menus which appeared worthy of the establishments AA Rosette award. 
As I mentioned, we were only after something light. Of course everything sounded wonderful but what really made our mouths water was the lengthy compiled list of seafood tapas. 
Carpaccio of tuna, Flash fried calamari & chorizo and crayfish risotto, it all sounded marvellous. 
Dishes ranged between £3.50, £4.50 and £6.95, so we decided to chose three or four each and then we could just share everything out between us. In the end we opted for...



Classic Mussels in a Creamy White Wine Sauce at £6.95
The actual mussels were a tad on the small side but this was somewhat outweighed by the rather sizeable portion and the oh so creamy and wonderfully generous white wine sauce. 
They didn't last very long at all.


Plaice Goujons with a Pea Puree at £4.50
These are the perfect option for anyone who is a little bit 'fish' weary. On its own, Plaice is rather futile in taste, there's really not much to it. Cover the flesh in breadcrumbs however and it's now unfamiliar to the fish fingers that you ate as a child. The pea puree is perhaps an attempt to make this dish appear more 'adult' than it actually is. 
Delightful none the less. 


Nachos with Sour Cream, Guacamole and Loaded with Cheese at £6.95
These were disappointing. Admittedly it's not the most challenging of dishes but then surely that there is the reason why it should be so effortlessly compiled. There was a severe lack of cheese and what was there had been burnt. The guacamole was also a little scarce. 


Coconut Tiger Prawns with Sweet Chilli Sauce at £4.50
The boy branded these as 'nice.' 
'Yummy in his tummy.' The coconut and chilli were choice flavours and that any thai lovers should most certainly approach.


Devilled Whitebait with Marie-Rose Sauce at £4.50
Like the Nachos, Whitebait is a sure choice for sailors and yachties alike. These were present enough but i would advise upon a hint of salt, just to give it that little something more. 

There was also Olive Oil Dressed Rocket with Parma Ham and Shaved parmesan at £4.50, some Forccacia Bread with Olive Oil and Balsamic at £3.50 and last but not least, a bowl of french fries at £3.50 of course. 

As far as AA Rosette Awards go, I may have to be otherwise persuaded by Stanwells' Bistro. As for its Tapas, a little fine tuning and it may well become one of my 'light lunches' hot spots. 
Sadly, if it weren't for the attentive service, the charming relaxed feel or the general splendour, i'm not so convinced that Stanwells House Hotel would truly stand as an institution of excellence. 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Caught on Camera




Over the last year, I have knowingly suffered a certain kind of sadness that only comes from a complete lack of student appropriate loungewear. 
Pyjamas and such were inexcusable but what with all the other accommodated students around, crop tops and knickers seemed inappropriate. 
 - There is only so much of me that strangers should be made to see. 
What I really fancied was an 'all-in'one' ensemble of a fitted and preferably niche nature. Dark colours, Fair Isle prints and bold snowflakes were my prime target. Not willing to measure, sew or cut for myself, I frantically scoured the internet looking for said desired item. Sadly and much to my dismay, no such thing existed. 
As all Austins' know how, I continued to moan, whinge and whine my way through the ever changing seasons, loungewear-less and onesie-less. 
 ... until now.


Fed up with my repeated tales of personal tribulation, the boy decided  that it was time to surprise me with this 'Japanease Red Fox' suit. I was so excited at the time that I almost forgot to kiss him and say thank-you. Naughty me, I know. 
The suits are made to fit all different kinds of shapes and sizes and with such an impressive collection of over 30 animals and creatures, it's so hard to resist. 
I adore being a fox and it's most certainly the one that i'd have chosen for myself. 
The boy knows me far too well. 


This 'Japanease Fox' has made such a lasting impression that Mummy Austin has her eye on Kigu's pink bunny already. 


There's only one slight problem. 
I don't think that i'll ever want to take mine off. 


Monday, 25 June 2012

Posh Pub Grab | Episode Two



Fish 'n' Chips
Another nifty recipe given from the minds behind Waitrose.

Recognised as one of the nations most simple but favourite of dishes, Fish and Chips bears no resilience to willpower with its tempting humbleness and undeniable deliciousness. 
Frequenting the Hampshire shores as often as I can manage, it is somewhat difficult to avoid the fresh and local produce that's always on offer and what with the Sea produce being so available from door to door, it's terribly hard to resist. 

I won't write up the 'exact' recipe measurements for you because they differ for each and every person. I tend to wing it and neither I, nor my guinea pigs have been thus far disappointed by doing so. However, what you will need...

 - Potatoes
 - Sunflower Oil
 - Paprika
- A fish of your choice. Preferably a meaty, white fish like cod or haddock is ideal due to the range of taste and flavours that the dish contains.
 - Milk
 - Cheddar Cheese
- Breadcrumbs
- Creme Fraiche
- Butter
-Chives




- For the chips, i've used the same recipe as is used within this post. They take an average of 30-35 minutes and should be shuffled half way through. Simply cut the potatoes into wedges, sprinkle with paprika (as to your own personal taste), add a dash of sunflower oil and shake together in a covered bowl/pan/dish so that everything is coated evenly. Throw in the oven and forget about for 20 minutes before checking and shuffling. 




The fish is also quite easy to do once you know how. 
Start off by placing the fillets in a frying pan with around 150ml go milk. This won't cover the flesh but it is only to encourage certain flavours. Leave this to simmer for roughly six minutes meanwhile mixing some cheddar cheese with a handful of breadcrumbs. Use this mixture to coat the fillets surface after having simmered on the stove, then simply transfer from the frying pan and into a deeper dish for another eight minutes before serving. 
You can then create a light sauce to match just by adding hints of butter, creme fraiche and chives to the used milk. I left mine to simmer for a tad too long and as you can see, it turned into more of a dip than anything else. Still, it's something that I can learn from for my next venture. 

ET VOILA

Dinner is served.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Le Mans 24 Heures


Le Mans 24 Heures
Danny Watts, Nick Leventis and Jonny Kane

Not only did this year see the 80th edition of what many unitedly call 'the greatest race in the world' but it also paid witness to the first time attendance of the girl and myself. 
In the midst of men, motors and competition we had the very best of times. 





In every other sense we acquainted ourselves with all of the unwritten codes that stand for those who should attend, all but for the little matter of where to accommodate oneself. 
Contemplating the ideals of camping for only a mere moment, we came to the unanimous decision that a 'top secret' location, hidden away in the village of Loire would probably be better suited for us girls. With hours to spare until check in, we grazed through traditional streets and picturesque cafes. 
The architecture is wholly admirable and their simplistic way of life is somewhat desirable. We couldn't help but smile as we strolled past the local artist with their paint, canvas and overalls.  
How Parisian. 






Having succumbed to the world of poison early, we continued as we meant to go on throughout the 'long weekend'. 
Arriving at said accommodation by six, we were greeted by all sorts of animals, racing fanatics and cold beverages. The location was more than ideal and the company, homely and heart warming. 
We've made our reservation for next summer. 




Saturday saw the start of the race, by which point we had decided upon our somewhat biased number one. Audi were not only expected to win but they happily obligued with all four of their machines having topped the competition within the last few timed hours. Despite this looming outcome, we flirted with the ideals of number 21 and Strakka Racing. Racing around the eight mile track in a HPD ARX 03a Honda, Danny Watts, Nick Leventis and Jonny Kane did us proud. Hiding away during the first hour, the Strakka team made their way into the top ten, pinning down eight position within the 20th hour. Sadly for reported 'water pressure,' the GB team had to pull back into their pit stop for safe keeping until nearer the end when they could guarantee a run across the finish line. 
Fingers crossed for next year boys. 




As a treat to the engine enthusiast, it's ordered that all pit stops will be open to all ticket holders the day before the big event. Papa A said that this would be our only opportunity and so we should take full advantage. 
Now, in all my efforts to oppose a certain level of smugness from within, I'd like to inform you as to how number 21 came to our attention. 
Saturday morning and us girls were told that we would be accompanying two gentlemen as they also made their way to said destination. As these things go in all variations of tall tales and storyboards, we were more than delighted to find our that these two chaps just so happened to be the father and brother of one Danny Watts (scroll to the top of this post and I promise that you'll catch on). 
They really were just the nicest boys that we could have possible bumped into. As any gentleman would, they insisted that a sneaky peak into the Strakka garage was necessary and it would have been oh so rude to resist... 
...wouldn't it?

I have to admit, my butterflies would not go to bed as we shared smiles with the minds behind the mechanics. Nor did they settle as we made our way past the tried and tested tyres, the anxious monitors or the qualified engines.
He said he was only pleased for us and that jealousy doesn't come into it but we know that in all his years of membership and attendance he's never come as close. Poor Daddy Austin. I'd like to say that I would have switched position with him if it were possible but in all honesty, I couldn't say that I truly meant it. You boys gave us such a wonderful time and we really couldn't be any more grateful. 
We're sure that you'd be biased too. 

Our memories of Le Mans are grand. Let's hope they continue to grow as the years go past. 


Here's to seeing you next summer, 2013.