Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Stanwells House Hotel in Lymington

With the first year of university firmly under my belt, i've temporarily moved back home to spend the summer with those that I love and treasure above all. 
This beautiful bouquet were quite simply the perfect start to summer 2012. 

If I were to ask 100 townies whether or not Lymington town could be found on their radar, I bet that nine times out of ten the answer would be no. 
Despite the odd debatable hiccup (the 99 pence store for example is not in tune with the high streets ideals), Lymington is a treasure trove of sun-kissed yuppies, ladies who lunch, trendy hipsters and last but not least, those summer time grockles that come in their hundreds and thousands. Stanwells House Hotel is just one of many fine establishments that occupy this little town by the water.
Never in need for an excuse, the girl, my mother and I took to Stanwells House Hotel for a spot of light lunch and Tea...

These 'diddy' union jacks were dotted about in the flower pots of the conservatory. With the Diamond Jubilee just around the corner,  the three of us were in raptures over their delicate presence. 
God Bless The Queen After All. 

As for our munchies, we opted for the most location appropriate dishes. Mummy Austin spooned at Silky Pea Soup in spirit of the surrounding countryside whilst the girl and I divulged a platter of monkfish, scampi and calamari in keeping with the quay side town. 
In my honest opinion, Stanwells is a fine institution.
... not number one on my list of establishments to recommend but most certainly within Lymington's top five. 

Positively Delish.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Temptation at Covent Garden

There are two sides to our final assignment. 
As far as things go in my books, the first is that of a rather negative nature. I do not mix well with filming equipment, nor do I mix with any odds and sods that may come hand in hand with such under such genre. 
Give me still frames and plain old photography any day. 
The other side is most certainly some what condescending. With a three minute movie ahead of us, christopher & company' took to the streets of Covent Garden in order to gain some kind of structure for our piece. 
Admittedly, the filming was slowly sidestepped as all five of us gorged ourselves on the flavours and smells that surrounded from the upbeat market. These cupcakes were so amazing that a few of us returned to the 'Crumbs & Doilies' stall for seconds.  

Two pounds for a cupcake that taste like cookie dough is sheer genius in my opinion. I for one will be visiting Covent Garden on a regular basis from this point forward.

Now I'm going to lay all of my cards out on the table. There is an age old myth that suggest that girls only nibble and that they tend to eat very little in comparison to our male companions. This is of course folly. Mere moments after emptying our hands of crumbs and icing, we wondered through the square before another Covent Garden gem had caught our attention. 
Yuforia is a fat free frozen yogurt company that insist upon a 'feel good eats and treat' policy. 
Its one of those strict decision based co-operations that rely solely on what it is that you want. Size and yogurt flavour are wholly placed in your hands whilst toppings are vast in selection and generously given. 

Asking the girls to place their orders first, I put far too much thought into my little tub of heaven. After much deliberation, I limited myself to blackberries, raspberries, honeycomb, chocolate and a single strawberry. 
It is easy to be greedy after all. 

Oh, the filming itself is also going quite well. One more day of editing and I'll be free of University, year one. 

My, my, how time does fly. 

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Passport To Paris

* I am beyond sorry this time. I know that my lateness has really hit an all time low and while I do have an all-too-well prepared list that's just jam-packed with excuses (I was in another country, the boyfriend has been holding my macintosh hostage, etc/. etc/.) I feel that I would be better serving both our purposes with the following post...

La Tour Eiffel

Oh Boy did I just quote an Olson twin production. In fact, i'm fairy certain that said film was quoted a spare dozen times throughout our entire stay. 
 - As Miss McDonagh, Miss Layland, Miss Mallia and I sharply discovered, the four of us have all been avid fans since childhood. 
As I said in my last post we were due to meet at St. Pancras station for six o'clock in the morning. I therefore had the  pleasure of waking up when the clock stuck three. I left without make up on so that I could sleep on the way and not end up with mascara down either side of my cheeks. From there we took to the Eurostar at seven and by nine o'clock (France time) we were ready to make our way to the Lourve, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. 
The exhibition itself came up a little short in size but as for content there was far, far less to disappoint. 
For Louis Vuitton there were unanimous visions of 'LV' canvas bags and timeless trunks to keep your eyes more than occupied. I also happened to spy a rather delightful doctors bag in the most tempting shade of chocolate. 
When it came to Marc Jacobs the designs spoke for themselves. As anyone will tell you, I would trust this man with the construction of my very wardrobe. I especially loved the toppings that were added to each of the mannequins on show. In one department there were Roman helmets which masked the face in silver and that lined the center of the the head with crisp white feathers. Another collection saw hygienic masks with the classic red cross that you would normally find in an institution of health. It really looked as if it had been cherry picked from a local hospital.
Well, I thought it was just darling.


Making our way back to the metro, we scurried along the french pavements in search of our temporary lodgings. These 'quick snaps'   were taken from just outside of our building. Absolutely breathtaking. 

With the evening drawing closer and closer, the four of us thought we would take a turn to another tourist hot spot, Le Arc De Triomphe. While Layland and myself have been to Paris before McDonagh and Mallia hadn't, that's why we thought it would be nice to see some of those 'must see hot spots'. Even if you have visited before, it never seems to get old. When we first walked out of the metro station and saw the wonder standing in the sunlight and heavily stocked with other tourist such as ourselves. After we found a nice local restaurant for some Kir's and a bite to eat, night time had taken over outside. The tourist were now few and the Arc looked just as wonderful by nightlight. 

When we woke up the next day we all knew that it was time for 'the big cheese,' Le Tour Eiffel. Having been before I knew what was to be expected and yet I couldn't physically stop my excitement as I saw it in all its glory. I really couldn't stop myself from bouncing around like Tigger. Sadly there was a two hour wait for the lift and because we were carrying all our luggage (stylish, I know) we wouldn't have been able to walk up those 'never ending' stairs. Thankfully our misery was sharply replaced with easy smiles, when we took a turn to the surrounding greenery for a little rest in the sun...


If you haven't been to France I really do advise you to book your ticket now. 
I just adore it. 

 Just shop, eat, drink and be merry.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Parlez-Vous Anglais?

'Flight Companion' by Nougat London | Cherry Blossom Hand Sanitiser and Lip Balm

This post may be a few days in advance. 
Come Tuesday morning at the glorious hour of six, I shall be taking the Eurostar for a couple of days of timely Parisian fun. Once there, the Marc Jacobs exhibition will be first to be crossed off our list. An exciting prospect I know and I promise to give you all of the details as soon as I touch base back in good old England. 
Despite being five days ahead of schedule, I've already packed up my hold all, checked my passport twice and tried on my 'night time' outfit too many times than I care to admit...


Chained Headband from Zara | Old Flapper Dress from French Connection | Steve Madden 'Dynemite" shoes.

This French Connection dress was one of the first things that was ever given to me by the boyfriend. I'd seen it just after we started going together and knowing how much I adored it he bought it and surprised me with it just a few days later. I've loved it ever since. Because of the awful weather I've kept these 'Dynemite' shoes firmly in their box and away from the unseasonal English showers. I've worn them around the bedroom and I can honestly say that they're oh so comfortable. I'd love a pair in black and it just so happens that they've been put on sale. Quite tempting, I have to say. As for accesories I've decided to keep it simple, so I've teamed this chained headband from Zara. (Something that I believed to be a necklace when I purchased it two days ago).

- Je suis très très idiot, je savoir.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Cocoa Baby

These saucy little things simply ooze satisfaction from the very first nibble. 

The only eventuality to have come from todays ever so lazy, 'hazy day sunday.' 
A terribly infrequent occurrence in itself but once the occasion has arisen it tends to be spent whilst in the company of the rugby, the cricket or a most welcomed trip to the pub. 
This unusually chilly day in May saw a slightly fidgety & somewhat hungover side to these stereotyped but irregular happenings. As a result, I not only craved something a little bit sticky & sickly but due to the state of those around me, I felt compelled to whip up a batch of the most irresistible and momentarily satisfying chocolate chip brownies. 
As a first time effort I failed to record their inner workings but having tasted the sugar dusted, cocoa goodness, I can confirm that I will be posting their 'easy-bake how to guide' all in good time.

 . . . Just something for you all to look forward to.   

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Leo Miles

Ladies and Gentlemen, my latest piece of coursework as promised . . .  


Leo Miles, Southampton’s new kid on the block, gives Rebecca-Elizabeth Austin an enlightening glimpse into his world. 
Most musical talents tend to follow in one of two pathways - happy-go-lucky types a la 
Boyzone and the Spice Girls or those with couldn’t care less attitudes as sported by Blondie and Iggy Pop. Leo Miles is the first we’ve seen who hides that irritable kind of quick youthful confidence whilst also possessing an old school charm and a dry sarcastic wit. Playful and polite, attractive and memorable, Leo Miles is a new breed of singer-songwriter who’s just starting to make his mark on music street. 
By all accounts, the boy at hand has always been a little bit different. For a start, Leo Miles the performer is purely fictitious. Not the physicality - that’s real enough and with people like Voice FM and Angry Badger Records with their eyes on him, it would be best to start taking notes. Leo Miles the pseudonym is the concoction of one ‘ordinary’ student named Callum McDonald. “It’s great really cause if I cock it up - well if Leo Miles cocks it up, then theres still Callum McDonald to fall back on. Besides, no one wants to be known as ‘old McDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-o.’” 
Reminiscing about the days before the alter-ego fell into place, the young man perched in front of me is so eager to please. He talks of the past, the present and the future whilst revealing some unexpected stories of dance lessons, football legends and brief encounters that ‘Mr Nice’ himself would be proud of. 
His mother seems perfectly at ease with the rock’n’roll lifestyle that her youngest child leads. “Seven months ago Callum told me that he wanted to be a singer. I just looked at him and said ‘why not? You’ve already done everything else.’” So why now? “Singing is the only thing that I ever did that was consistent. When I was younger, I wanted to be a footballer and I got to the point where I was actually quite good but then one day I was just like no, I want to be a dancer and then that was it.” In typical ‘lime light’ fashion, Callum McDonald was most certainly made to follow in the footsteps of the latter. 
To look at, the singer bares many of the traditional and somewhat stereotypical traits of this generations musician clique. The obligatory checked shirt is stretched across his slightly hunched shoulders, whilst his ‘salmon coloured’ skinny jeans are clinging on to his thick tan belt for all that they can muster. “I’ve kinda lost interest in how I look, especially now. Excuse the cliche and all but I just tend to let the music do the talking.” It’s difficult to stop from laughing at this charming and yet unrequited phrase but by the boy’s coy smile, you can be assured that it was purely said from a dry and humorous point of view. If for whatever reason you aren’t compelled by his try-hard efforts, then know that there’s something very comforting and really rather pleasant about his mouth and the way that everything is said with a timely charm that he’s noticeably all too aware of. 
As for the voice itself. Well, there’s further joy to be found there. An almighty herd of kindred spirits and loyal friends are rather jolly by the end of ‘Leo’s’ Friday night gig. Figuratively high from the past 45 minutes, each and every one of them makes it their faithful duty to hint at all of the performers exceptional stand-out qualities, as well as a few vague similarities between Callum and the likes of Jamie T, Paolo Nutini and The Fratellis. Unbeknownst to most, the singer actually holds the records of Rod Stewart close to his chest. “I’m a big fan of Rod. That comes from my dad.” Perfectly plausible as the ‘Maggie May’ singer has been introduced to all of us in very much the same way, we’re sure. As for this young musician, we have no doubt whatsoever that there is any lack of real talent for his part.”Its become really generic to say ‘I’m not trying to be anyone else, I’m my own person.’ But then there are a lot of people who have a lot of . . . a lot of similarities shall we say,” we couldn’t agree more. Its these insightful words of wisdom that you would expect to come from someone that’s well beyond his 17 years. 
Amidst the constant string of unexpected eulogies and captivating tales, Callum remains unfazed by all of the tricks and traits from his past that most would be somewhat surprised by. The drugs for instance. A minor addiction and a little substance abuse now plays inspiration to the singers songwriting. “I’m not gonna lie and say it wasn’t a fun point in my life. We did have some good times but it’s just not for me anymore.” The simplicity of this statement puts a lot of perspective into some of the other fickle occurrences that cloud Callums eventful past. What made him decide to stop performing covers and to try putting pen to paper is an interesting one. “I think I kicked the drugs more for songwriting than anything else. For all those people that do it, well thats fine for you cause maybe you just don’t need to use your brain as much as I do.” Any signs of arrogance or naivety are sharply pushed to one side as sincerity and concern make themselves apparent. This touching attribute lingers for a moment longer until it’s lightly replaced by the humorous acceptance of young McDonalds parents, “yeah, no. My mum calls me a crackhead all the time.” 
Fast forward six months and Leo Miles is kindly performing the ‘home made material’ of Callum McDonald. As a brand, the Leo Miles name is well pitched amongst a hungry market. The honesty of his lyrics, the rare and melodic tone to his voice, the rugged and handsome appearance: combined with an adolescents ambition, an appreciative maturity and a quintessential English sound. These factors evidently see the arrival of shiny new fans with each and every passing show. 
“I think there’s an element of originality to what I do and that in itself is something quite rare within this business. “I don’t like to think that i’m not entertaining or that i’m not doing what I think I do best. I just want people to enjoy the sound of my voice. I mean, I don’t think it’s that bad.” Oh no, Mister Musician. We don’t think that it’s bad at all. 


Not too shabby I hope. 

The music of Leo Miles can be found right here.
 - You'll be hook, line and sinker, I promise.