17th January 2018 by - No comments

There are a few designers of fashion who touch you deep within. You see their clothes on the pages of a fashion magazine worn by celebrities, or in advertisements, and you just stop and think, how beautiful.

Balenciaga has always made me feel this way. The dresses, skirts, bags by the iconic brand have always made me stop and take a closer look at the cut, the shape and the style.

So when I found out the Victoria & Albert was holding a Balenciaga exhibition I had to find out more.

The man behind the brand –

CristΓ³bal Balenciaga opened his first boutique in San Sebastian Spain, in 1919, which expanded to include branches in Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish royal family and the aristocracy wore his designs, but when the Spanish Civil War forced him to close his stores, Balenciaga moved to Paris.

Balenciaga opened his Paris couture house on Avenue George V in August 1937, and his first fashion show featured designs heavily influenced by the Spanish Renaissance.

Balenciaga’s success in Paris was nearly immediate. In the period of two years, the French press lauded him as a revolutionary, and his designs were highly sought-after.

Customers risked their safety to travel to Europe during World War 2 to see Balenciaga’s clothing. During this period, he was noted for his “square coat,” with sleeves cut in a single piece with the yoke, and for his designs with black (or black and brown) lace over bright pink.

However, it was not until the post-war years that the full scale of the inventiveness of this highly original designer became evident. His lines became more linear and sleek, diverging from the hourglass shape popularized by Christian Dior.

Christian Dior once said,

Haute couture is like an orchestra, for which only Balenciaga is the conductor. The rest of us are just musicians, following the directions he gives us.

The Exhibition –

It was wonderful to see the designs up close. To wonder at how a person could fold and drape fabrics so intricately and almost magically.

The exhibition is perfect in that it gives you a wonderful glimpse intonthe world of this very talented man, and shows us how ahead of his time he was, and how mostly all the pieces on display could still be worn today.

The exhibition is still on at the Victoria & Albert Museum until February 18th, you must book tickets in advance.

https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/balenciaga-shaping-fashion

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15th January 2018 by - No comments

The first movie review of the year is a fun one!

I have always loved musicals on the stage but have not really enjoyed them on the screen, apart from Scrooge which is a classic.

But since La La Land Ive found musicals extremely enjoyable. I think it may be because they have such a magical effect on me. They take you away to musical lands where songs speak so much louder than words. Music has that unexplainable effect on me.

The Movie –

Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

Verdict-

The fantastic cast has a lot to do with the success of this movie in my opinion.

Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron lead the cast of performers.

The movie is based on a real story. The real P T Barnum was an American businessman, showman and entrepreneur, remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The real life Barnum was a very clever businessman. Barnum used the museum as a platform to promote hoaxes and human curiosities such as the Feejee Mermaid amd the General Tom Thumb.

All in all a fun movie, the music is uplifting and memorable.

Its still on at the cinemas and will be out on dvd soon.

Enjoy! xxx

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9th January 2018 by - No comments

In London it is still freezing cold! After a wonderful Christmas and New Year break in sunny Antalya with my family, coming back to the winter freeze has definitely been a wake up call that we are still in the dark freezing months.

After a long day outdoors, be it at school or work or shopping, what we want most is a warming dish of deliciousness to warm us inside and out.

Comfort foods have always been a favourite of mine, they are potatoes, meat, veggies, and made even yummier with some butter.

Shepherds Pie has always been a favourite of mine since I was little. My mother is the ultimate cook and she makes an amazing Shepherds Pie. Here is my version of her delicious delight. I just prepared it and Ive put it in the fridge. So when my boys get home from school all I need to do is pop it in the oven. Not only will it be a homemade nutritious meal but it will warm them up in this freezing weather. Its a win-win situation!

Easy peasy Shepherds PieΒ 

Ingredients –

  • 500grams 10% fat minced beef
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 500ml beef stock (I use Knorr stock pots)
  • 1 kg Maris Piper potatoes – peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 5 tablespoons warm full fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method –

  • In a heavy bottomed pot heat the olive oil, add the chopped onions and chopped carrots. Fry over a medium heat until tender.
  • Add the minced beef, and cook with the veggies.
  • Add the Worcester sauce, sugar and tomato puree. Mix until cooked through.
  • Add 500ml of beef stock, mix well and leave to simmer over a low heat for 30mins.
  • Meanwhile peel, cut into chunks and boil the potatoes until tender. Drain the water, mash with a fork or potato masher. Add butter and warm milk until it is soft, smooth and creamy.

  • Gently spoon the beef mixture into a deep overproof dish. Spoon over the mashed potatoes until all the meat is evenly covered. With a fork ruffle the mashed potato.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25minutes at 180 degrees Celsius under the mash starts to colour and the meat is bubbling.

Mmmmmmmm so yummy, serve piping hot! Enjoy!

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