Friday, 31 August 2012

Update: Last Days Of London (And The English Countryside)

Well, this update place is not really mainly about London, as I have been living in the countryside since March, but it sounded good so thats why it got to be the post title! So, this time next week I will be heading to the airport and catching a flight out to Los Angeles for 10 months - hasn't time gone fast since I made the announcement that I was moving? I thought I'd just put together a little roundup of my last few months on British soil (I have not done a post like this since the end of April, so we'll take it from there!) full of some of the things I've been up to and some posts from here, and my beauty blog you may have missed!
1. I have been obsessed with blue and white Breton stripes this Summer. | 2. I finally found confidence wearing prints with this fantastic Whistles skirt. | 3. I've practically lived in this blue Volcom shirt this Summer, photo taken at Somerset House, which I think is one of the best outfit post locations in London. | 4. I teamed up with Vestiaire Collective and got my hands on this beautiful See by Chloe bag I first spotted at London Fashion Week. | 5. I found my casual Summer style with some fringed aztec prints. | 6. Speaking of prints, the first outing of my favourite sundress this year, which an awesome palm tree print.

As a boarding school girl, this year has been the first year I've ever had to think about what to wear every day (hello school uniform!), and this Summer while I've been carefully editing my wardrobe to work out what to take with me, I've seen that I've really started to define my own style with my wardrobe choices; lots of basics, stripes, and either neutral colours or blues. I've also started to learn to accessorise properly! 
1. Inspired by an incredible fresh topped pizza I used to order in Pizza Express but it got discontinued, I experimented with pizzas with fresh toppings, and found an incredibly perfect recipe for pizza dough. | 2. A recipe from my French kitchen, one of my all time favourite lunches; king prawns in lashings of delicious garlic butter, served with a glass of ice cold rose and some fresh crusty French bread. | 3. I investigated the incredible effects of what happens if you sandwich my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe together with marshmallow fluff. | 4. The most refreshing and simple iced tea recipe you'll ever need. | 5. I decided my lunches could do with jazzing up a bit this Summer, so I experimented with open topped bagels. | 6. I discovered what happened if you mixed Innocent Smoothie and alcohol and froze them to make ice lollies. The best adult frozen treat of the Summer, thats what!

While I did put some of my preferred recipes on the blog while I was at university, I really started posting and creating my own recipes in earnest this Summer. I can also note that while I still have a long way to go, and I have no idea what sort of set up I'll have in my kitchen when I get to Los Angeles, my food photography has improved somewhat too, which can only be a good thing! I've started to learn a few tricks that have helped.
1. Label M's Organic Moisturising Lemongrass Shampoo and Conditioner are great for reviving your hair after you have got out of the swimming pool. | 2. For the first time ever I've started wearing bronzer this Summer; I've found The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Bronzer is perfect for my really pale skin. | 3. I've been loving lots of things from L'Occitane's Peony range, but this shower gel has really provided a floral burst every time I shower. | 4. I've been using it for years, but recently Nars' 'Orgasm' Illuminator has been my complexion, but in a bottle. | 5. I picked up this bottle of NUXE oil with gold particles in in France, and I've found that rubbing it into my arms and legs really highlights my tan. | 6. L'Occitane's brand new Angelica Exfoliating Gel has really cleaned down deep and refreshed my face, one of my brand new go to products!

It has been an amazing Summer for my beauty blog, The Glossy Guide, with a nomination in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2012 for 'Best New Beauty Blog' coming soon after The Glossy Guide's first birthday. (Incidentally, voting closes today, so if you still not casted your vote, I'd really appreciate it!) I had no idea when I launched it last Summer it would be such a great hit, and I've even surprised myself how much I really love writing about makeup and beauty, and I can't wait to discover some amazing new American products!
1. Authentic Mexican at Taqueria on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill, London. | 2. I took an early Summer holiday to my home in Brittany, Northern France where I gorged myself on some of my favourite seafood. This starter was from a fantastic restaurant on the seafront in Cancal called Le Cancalais that I have visited several times. | 3. If you're visiting Canterbury and you want to drive out to a country pub, visit The Rose Inn in Wickhambreaux; I've had several totally delicious meals there this Summer. | 4. I found Williams & Brown, a fantastic seafood Tapas bar in the seaside town of Whitstable, their paella was the best I had this Summer. | 5. I've been big on cooking Brazilian Barbecue at home, inspired by Cabana, a wonderful Brazilian Barbecue in London where I enjoyed these delicious ribs at their restaurant in Westfield, Stratford. | 6. Another country pub, if you're ever wandering East Kent, stop off at the Hare & Hounds in the little village of Northbourne, the food is better than I have eaten in some acclaimed London restaurants!

The thing I love writing about the most in the world is food. I love writing about it just a little bit more than I love cooking it, and almost as much as I love eating it. Yes, my jeans may be a little tighter than I had intended at the beginning of the Summer, but while I may not have been in London with so many fantastic restaurants to sample, I've still managed to have some pretty incredible meals out in the sticks. I hope my Californian readers like to discover new foodie hang outs, because I'm really excited about starting my 'Places To Eat In Los Angeles' feature in the Fall (it's LA, not London, so I can say Fall not Autumn, right?)

So, that was my Summer! What have your favourite posts on Rachel Phipps and The Glossy Guide been this Summer? 'Weekly Love' will be back next Friday with a new post hopefully just before I leave for the airport! 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Atterley Road: My New Favourite Online Shopping Destination

Usually I'm not a fan of shopping online, I like to try things on to be sure of the fit, and anyway, the before now the only online store I found pleasurable to browse is Net-A-Porter, and my bank balance is not that endless! However, when it comes to brands I love, and own so many pieces of clothing from I can really be sure of the size, I sometime wish their e-commerce sites were not so complicated (I'm looking at you Whistles) or boring. Now, though I've come across a beautiful and amazing new shopping site which houses a carefully curated collection of some of my favourite brands such as Whistles, Hobbs and Hobbs's diffusion line NW3, as well as some brands I really ought to look at more such as Farhi and Petite Bateau: Atterley Road.
Whistles Biker Jacket: £295, Whistles Animal Print Scarf: £45, NW3 Striped Tee: £39, Whistles Striped Tee: £45, Petite Bateau Breton: £65, Whistles Button Print Scarf: £55, NW3 Jumper: £85

These are my picks from the current collection on the website, of course heavily featuring picks from my two favourite British brands! I know I have been going on about how Breton stripes are perfect for Summer, but who have I been kidding? Breton stripes are a must, and a very important wardrobe staple all year round, so these are my current picks. Well, picks and indulgences; you may have noticed the NW3 number in Tuesdays outfit post, as I could not help but treat myself to it when I was shopping in the Hobbs Bluewater store the other week. Speaking of Bluewater, I was sad to see Whistles has made their store there a lot smaller, which meant I did not get to take a shifty at these wonderfully printed scarves Atterley Road have in stock; how cute and adorable is the black and cream button print number?

Something else that is pretty awesome about the site, which I think both will and won't be very good for my bank balance, is that with every purchase you make your account will earn points, 100 points equalling £1 off of your next order - for example, if you were to purchase this Whistles jacket you'll earn 295 points, which is already £2 off of your next order - you basically earn a point for every pound you spend - amazing, huh?

I urge you all to head over and check out Atterley Road for yourselves, unlike shopping in your average online store, the collection is wonderfully and thoughtfully curated to coordinate, so it is more like shopping in a little boutique in Notting Hill, but you can stay curled up on your sofa doing it instead! 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Outfit Post: New In Ash Wedge Trainers & NW3 Stripes

Like it or not, it is almost September and Autumn is almost upon us. This means, my what is turning into anual trip to Bluewater to build the foundations of my Autumn/ Winter wardrobe with my mother. This year, things were a bit different. First things first, I drove. This time last year I did not have a driving licence, it was the day I'd got my A Level results, but this years trip marked the first time I'd ever driven on a motorway. Needless to say, I'm very proud of myself! Also, rather than stocking up on  my beloved knitted dresses to deal with an English Winter, looked for basics that are versatile enough to suit me in the much warmer LA climate.
NW3 by Hobbs
Necklace: Hobbs, Striped Top: NW3, Jeans: Whistles (£/$)
Hobbs NW3
Obviously this look would not be complete without the beautiful jewelled statement neckless at picked up for £1 at a Hobbs sample sale in Shoreditch last Winter and I have rarely been without since. I made my mind up I was going to buy the NW3 top when I saw it in Hobbs, because it is the perfect cut, shape and style to act as a replacement for this tee I picked up in H&M for £7.99 Summer before last, wore half to death and is not starting to look a little threadbare. It is also awesome as it is a quality upgrade, from one of my all time favourite brands and its beautiful cream makes the Breton stripe all so more awesome for Autumn/ Winter. 

These wedge trainers from Ash were not actually a Bluewater find; the team at the shoe site Spartoo were kind enough to hook me up with them when they got them back in stock, when I mentioned how I've actually been after a pair since last Winter when they were practically sold out in a size 5 all over London. They are both super practical, and super comfortable and I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of them across the pond! 
Finally, the beauty in this look. My hair is an absolute mess and it is back to its natural 'mouse' colour (I've been stringing my next colour out as long as I can before I leave, but I'm off to see my stylist tomorrow afternoon), and it is a little worse for wear. I can really tell you that Moroccanoil works, because since I've stopped using it the last month and have been using Mythic Oil in an attempt not to open my new travel sized Moroccanoil bottle before I get to Los Angeles, my hair has in no way been as healthy or glossy as I've become accustomed to without it. As for my lips, it never seems to look pink in outfit photos, though it looked awesome with this outfit in the flesh, I'm wearing MAC's fantastically bright Amplified lip shade 'Impassioned'

What is your absolute go to wardrobe style or colour, which never fails you? (In case you had not noticed by now, maybe from this post, this post, this post or this post, mine is blue and white stripes!)

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Shopping List: The Autumn / Fall Shoe Guide

As far as footwear is concerned, while most girls lust after pretty heels and glittery pumps, the dark brown, black or grey leather Winter boot will always take up pride of place in my heart. There is something about their elegant versatility  that just gets me every time. I'm also head over heels in love with the type of simple black high heel which you can wear with practically everything Autumn/ Winter, but is not really suitable in the Spring / Summer. What I want the most this season, however is a pair of long, leather riding boot style boots.

As far as the simple black heel is concerned, I don't know what I would give to be able to wear any of these; my feet are simply too wide for the shoes to stay on them. However, if I miraculously got narrower feet overnight, while I would be temped by these wonderfully embellished and very this season Moschino beauties, I would always have to go for the simple and classic Rupert Sanderson number. After a pair of Jimmy Choo's, I really want a pair of Rupert Sanderson's in my wardrobe, not just for the pretty gold label inside the sole, but because my mother always raves about how comfortable they are. 

Wedges are always my shoe of choice, I just find them so comfortable in any guise, and I'm still over the moon I've finally managed to get my hands on a pair of Ash wedge trainers at last. I find wedges also make a bit of a higher heel hight so much more practical for every day. Again, I adore the Rupert Sanderson pair I've shown here, but I'd recommend the Moschino Cheap & CHIC pair with skirts, and the pretty brown pair from Regard to go with the darkest blue skinny jeans. 

Finally, the riding boots I adore so much, and make me half wish I was not going to be living in season-less Los Angeles this Winter. (Though, I have seen long boots been done on LA style blogs during the colder days of January, so maybe I'll just have to wait and see?) My favourite boots in this whole feature are the brown leather and suede number on the far left by Marian. I think I really, really need them in my life. Surprisingly, since my mother is always telling me that I have the most impossibly expensive taste, they are the cheapest out of my entire selection. 

What is on your wish list footwear wise this Autumn (Fall)/ Winter?

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here

Friday, 24 August 2012

Weekly Love: Week 114

I've been trying to fit as much in as I can before I say goodbye to England, so this week has included some lovely country walks, and dinner with some of my best friends in some of my favourite places, including a mouthwatering Sea Bass at The Rose Inn. On Tuesday, Sherin and one of her school friends came to visit Canterbury, and we had a fantastic girls afternoon out at the seaside, and on Wednesday I drove (it was my first time on a motorway!) my Mother and I to Bluewater for a bit of light retail therapy - I have some lovely new clothes I can't wait to share with you all in outfit posts! I introduced her to her first ever Pinkberry (you all know how obsessed I am with the frozen yogurt chain) and I had another first in the form of a delicious Byron burger - I recommend their courgette fries; absolutely to die for!
1. A little snapshot of my outfit on a lovely day in Whitstable with the girls. The cardigan is from Monsoon, the handbag from Hobbs and the dress from New Look. | 2. I love it when my friends bring me presents, this mini Moet bottle is so adorable! Thanks Sherin. | 3. Cute little chairs outside an ice cream parlour in Whitstable. | 4. An idea at the seaside I must save for another day. | 5. Yes, I have polished off yet another delicious dish of mussels! | 6. Next time you dine at Carluccios' order the raspberry meringue with passion fruit cream for dessert - it is absolutely to die for!

Finally, another quick reminder if you have not already voted that The Glossy Guide, my beauty blog has been nominated for 'Best New Beauty Blog' in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, and I'd really appreciate your vote

What have you been enjoying this week, and what have you got planned for the weekend?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Recipe: Easy Lunchtime Bruchetta

After I posted this snapshot of this bruchetta I made for lunch one day a few weeks ago on Instagram, I had lots of requests to post the recipe. Now, usually when I'm planning to do a recipe post I test the recipe first, then make it a second time especially to photograph. However, now I have Instagram to play with (currently on my Dad's Android, and on my new iPhone next week) I'm probably going to be shooting and posting a few more recipe photos, the moment I've made them, so this post is a trial. Let me know if you like/ dislike/ don't mind this Instagram style recipe post, because even though I will still do the recipes with full colour photos etc. with my usual camera, if I get enough requests I'll do these types of recipe post too.
We grow our own tomatoes here at home, and not just the way normal people grow tomatoes. Generations of my family have been growing them in an industrial sized greenhouse we have on the estate, so we always have a glut of tomatoes every year. This means endless jars of chutney, tomato soups, things cooked in tomatoes, cherry tomatoes frozen so they can be used during the year, tomatoes being given as gifts... you get the picture. We're always on the hunt for new things to do with tomatoes. While I was doing the weekly food shop I picked up some French bread with the idea that there must be something tomato related for lunch we could do with it, and my father suggested that we try making our own bruchetta. (As a result, this recipe serves 2 for lunch, or you can buy a full size French stick like we did and have it two days in a row).

  • 1 Half Size French Stick
  • 2 Giant Tomatoes
  • Handful Cherry Tomatoes
  • Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Garlic Gloves
  • Handful Fresh Basil
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Red Onion
Cut the French stick into slightly diagonal slanted rounds, like pieces of garlic bread. Drizzle with a little bit of the olive oil, brushing it over the surface of the bread with a pastry brush if you have one. Crush the garlic cloves and spread a little onto each of the bread pieces. Put under the grill until slightly toasted. if you have an AGA, like we do (best cooker in the world) this should take about 5 minutes in the main oven on the top shelf. 

While the bread is toasting you need to make your topping. Chop the onion as finely as you can and set aside in a bowl. Chop all the tomatoes into small pieces, but not so small they won't make chunky bruchetta and add them to the bowl too. Usually this is not a problem with supermarket tomatoes, but if you grow your own some variaties are quite watery, I find I need to let my chopped tomatoes rest over a sieve for a few moments to let out any excess water before adding them to the bowl. Follow with the fresh basil chopped or torn into small pieces, another glug or olive oil, a few sizeable pinches of sea salt  (I don't think anything can beat good French Fleur De Sel for this purpose) and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Mix it all up, and add more seasoning to taste if needed. All you have to do now is take your toasts out of the oven, spoon this mixture on top, serve and enjoy!

I'd love to hear how you all get on with this one! Also, has anyone got any feedback for me from my previous lunchtime adventure, the Italian Style Open Topped Bagels

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Introducing: Jones Loves Styling, A Fantastic New Styling Concept

It is not often I receive a Press Release and it actually gets me excited about the product, but I think I may have just found out about one of the most unique online personal styling services on the internet. Meet Holly Ryland-Jones, a stylist with experience at Vogue, Alexander McQueen, Zara, and my personal favourite, Selfridges. Now, get introduced to Jones Loves Styling, her new online service where you get a box of goodies and a guide full of styling options she has picked out for you, be it for a special occasion, a holiday or a capsule wardrobe through the post (we all love receiving parcels, even if its stuff we've ordered ourselves!)
Holly Ryland-Jones
Her USB sticks of links and style guide of looks are pretty easy to use, well put together and comprehensive (she sent me a sample of one she did when she was putting together a capsule wardrobe for a client). That is the styling service you are paying for, but what you'll also get in your beautiful box is a copy of a recent fashion glossy like Vogue to flick through, a Jones Loves Styling notepad (which she also sent me, and is so wonderful, black, chic and handbag sized. I'm usually a die hard Moleskine girl, but I will be using this one!) and a Diptyque candle. What girl does not want to receive a Diptyque candle through the post?  
The Package
"I decided to start the service because I've always wanted to start my own business... and after gaining experience is several areas of fashion, a break travelling around India and a course in Personal Styling at LCF I decided it was time. The concept came to me because on many occasion I have sourced items online for friends and family and seemed to find them the perfect solution. Looking at traditional methods of Personal Shopping, I realised for many women this just wasn't an option due to them either lacking in time (not many people like to shop in their own precious time on a busy Saturday!) or lacking in self-confidence to visit the shops with a stranger in a somewhat personal situation. Therefore, I do all the sourcing without them having to be there and they simply have to click and buy if they like the options. If they want they can speak to me in person, if not I can keep it to email. It's up to them."

All you have to do to use the service is give Holly a call or shoot her an email to discuss what you want. You can purchase packages (a complete capsule wardrobe of about 30 items costs £375, a holiday wardrobe for £245, a business trip for £225 or three outfit options for a special occasion for £175), or just ask her about sourcing a particular item or outfit. To begin with she'll ask you to fill out a questionare and send her a face and a full body photo of yourself she can work from, and your box will arrive on your doorstep or at your office within the week!  She'll follow up later on once you've made your purchases either over coffee or over the phone to check you're happy with what she has picked out for you. Also, to celebrate her launch, Holly is offering 20% off all her packages, if you have a special occasion or trip coming up you need help dressing for!

I love putting my wardrobe together ans styling looks, but I know not everyone does, and even I at times feel like I wish I could just get someone else to do it for me - would you use a service like this, or do you prefer to do all of your own clothes shopping and styling yourself? 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Recipe: The Ultimate Pizza Express Style Fresh Topped Pizza

Years ago, on the limited edition menu at Pizza Express there was this pizza that I absolutely adored and ate every time I went in there all year until it was discontinued, and they've never had anything on there menu as good as it again. It had a light crispy base with the usual tomato sauce, but the rest of the ingredients were served freshly crumbled on top, and it was served in a slight oblong shape on a piece of slate with a pizza slice. I used to find it perfect with a tall cold glass of Sicilian Lemonade. 
I love making my own pizza (I'm still working on a recipe for Full English Breakfast Pizza I just can't get perfect), so I decided to have a little play and duplicate the menu item I used to love and order so much. 
This recipe is mainly focused on the topping, but here is a recipe if you don't know how to make pizza dough. You really want to make your own so you can get the nice oblong shape, as cutting this pizza with the fresh ingredients on top it is very hard to keep them on the slice with conventional pizza slices. The recipe is from a great website called Baking Mad, where they also have some great how to kitchen videos which I think are great for beginners, including how to make cupcakes and how to make pancakes. The only thing with this recipe is I would say cook at 200 degrees, not 180, and allow 15 minutes for cooking, not 8. 

For the sauce, I like to use conventional passata (you'll need about 1/2 a jar for two pizzas) out of the jar as it is easy, but to improve the flavour I like to gently fry a crushed garlic clove in a little olive oil, add the passata to the pan and season with salt and pepper, sweetening a little with a pinch of sugar if it is a little tart and seasoning with a sprinkling of dried oregano (the best thing ever with tomatoes).

Add the toppings once the pizza is cooked, but you can cook a little of the mozzarella on top if you prefer. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, tear basil and mozzarella, scrunch parma ham (the best bit!) and rince fresh rocket leaves before arranging on top of your cooked base before finishing with lots of freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of the best quality extra virgin olive oil you have available to you. 

What are your favourite pizza toppings? And while we're at it, do any of my Los Angeles readers have any pizza parlours in LA they want to recommend? 

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here

Friday, 17 August 2012

Weekly Love: Week 113

The highlight of the London Closing Ceremony for me has to be our two most senior politicians, Boris Johnson and David Cameron rocking out to the Spice Girls. In other great British news, there is a Downton Abbey Season 3 trailer out. My week basically has been the same as always, but with a few added niceties included so that I could spend more time with my family before I leave, including some fantastic meals out (see pictures below), some time spent in our local pub and another trip to the cinema to see the Batman film (I only go to the cinema about three or four times a year, so going two weeks in a row is a bit of a novelty for me!) I have so much love for Anne Hathaway as Cat Woman right now!
1. Messing around in the car with my Dad's new Android phone. Upset he does not even know to use a Smartphone, and he now has a better phone than me, but while I look forward to my iPhone next month I can at least play with his! This is the picture he gets on screen when I call. I went a bit wild with it, if the house phone calls him her gets a photo of our house, and if my Mum calls from her car, a photo of her car on screen! (Geek out over.) | 2. I usually don't eat in chain restaurants, but from this moment onwards I am going to make an exception for Carluccio's - these mussels and clams steamed in white wine, parsley and chilli were perfectly cooked and simply divine. | 3. My August Glossybox arrives, The International Superstars edition and I think it was one of their best yet. There are two products in there I am already obsessed with, Lipcote and DHC's incredible Deep Cleansing Oil. | 4. Home grown vegetables. | 5. Homemade bruchetta made with said home grown tomatoes. | 6. Carluccio's Antipasti Platter.

As you probably have already noticed, I've made some design changes to the site recently, including a new About Me page, linking to a few new other pages; Blogs I Read, Where I Shop and FAQ's. If there are any questions you'd like me to answer in the FAQ's either leave them in the comments section or drop me an email!

Finally, another quick reminder if you have not already voted that The Glossy Guide, my beauty blog has been nominated for 'Best New Beauty Blog' in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, and I'd really appreciate your vote! Also, I've got a couple of reviews I wrote for some historical novels over at Judging Covers online this week; A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir and The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason - both fantastic books that I'd really recommend if you're looking for a good read!

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for this weekend?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Places To Eat In Kent: The Hare & Hounds, Northbourne

There is nothing I like better than a good country pub with a nice atmosphere, delicious food and great drinks. It is surprising therefore, that before a few weeks ago I had never been to The Hare & Hounds in Northbourne village in South East Kent before, because it is within walking/ cycling distance from where I live and work.
DSC_0158 2
For my main course I had an absolutely to die for plate of fresh linguini with chickpeas and spinach in a fresh tomato sauce. The flavours were so fresh, and so perfect; you could taste everything on a different level from the tart spinach to the rich tomato sauce and the white wine the chickpeas were cooked in.
DSC_0131 DSC_0128 DSC_0138
To start, which I was also blown away by I had Green Lipped New Zealand Mussels and Tiger Prawns  cooked in a sauce of ginger, lime, chilli and coconut cream. The dish had a complex flavour I'd never tasted before, but again all the ingredients were so fresh and I could taste them all separately on different levels.
My father had Persian Lamb Meatballs in a tomato chutney topped with emmental cheese. It looked and smelt delicious, and he assured me that it was. I don't like lamb or cheese, and the dish still looked mouthwatering!
For his main he had what I think has to be the signature feature of the pub, one of their epic burgers served in a giant foccacia bun with chunky cut homemade chips and the most crispy and flavourful homemade onion rings I have ever tasted. It was quite feat for him to get it in his mouth to be honest, but I'll be sure to be heading back there sometime soon to try out one of these bad boys!
My mother, more of a main and pudding person than a starter and main like my father and I, started her meal with a main of a fish trio including tuna, salmon and red snapper served with a teriyaki glaze and a wasabi sauce, as well as a portion of jasmine rice, which she really really enjoyed, and I would like to go back and order at some point too; it looked right up both our streets.
When we got towards the end of the meal I was rather heartbroken to be honest that I did not have any room at all for a dessert. I tried to get my mother to order what I wanted to have, so I could have a try; the White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake, but she went for the Sticky Toffee Pudding instead. I must admit, it did look rather good!

To my Kentish readers (I have got rather into Google Analytics recently and I know from my stats there are a surprising lot of you), what are your favourite country pubs for food? 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Currently Reading: Blogger Edition #3

More than writing mine, the thing I love the most about blogging is getting to read other peoples absolutely amazing blogs. I find that blogs are such an inspiration to me, they have got me interested in so many different areas, and I'm pretty sure when I finish university my love for the blogasphere is going to shape how at least my twenties pan out. There are so many blogs on my Bloglovin' feed, but I thought I'd share ten more of my favourites here with you all today. For more blog reading inspiration you can also go back through Currently Reading: Blogger Edition #1 & #2.
A-Girl-A-Style_-Columbia-Rd-2-930x620 1. Briony at A Girl, A Style

Aussie girl Briony's London and Cambridge based blog has really quickly become one of my favourites. All her photography is pretty and whimsical, and I use her to find the best spots to buy fresh flowers in London! Also, anyone who follows me on Twitter or has followed this blog for some time will know that the fact she is a political adviser in Westminster by day can only make me like her more. Also, it is nice to know someone is keeping up the style standards in Portcullis House; I remember sitting in the cafeteria in the Atrium one lunch time playing politician bingo (I swear it was only the one time and during the recess, people who work for MP's and Ministers are hard working people, I promise!) and bemoaning the sheer lack of personal style in our seat of government. 
2. Weronika at Raspberry And Red

What I think is great about blogging, is the ability to connect with and read about people living in different parts of the world. Weronkia is Polish, and I have been following her blog and beautiful photography for a couple of years now, and I love reading about her travels and her few months spent living in different countries and cities, most recently in New York and in Rome. 
Bunches pigtails badges school blazer
3. Lucy at Shiny Thoughts

From the first time I met Lucy, to the last time I spent the day with her a few months ago, I have never seen her not dressed in bright outfits and with a massive smile on her face. Her fantastic mood is infectious, and this extends to her super colourful blog which is perfect as a total mood booster if you're feeling down. 
4. Nicole at Gary Pepper Vintage

The stunning photos on Nicole's blog make me want to travel to exotic places, wear beautiful dresses and stalk around in very, very high heels all the time. If you're into visuals, and blogs who's photos are more editorial than personal style, why on earth are you not following this Aussie based blog if you're not already?
DSC_0626 5. Connie at K is for Kani

While her personal style is nothing like my own, for some reason I cannot get enough of Connie's style blog, K is for Kani. Follow her if you like colours, and if you want to come up with inspiring ways to wear what is already in your wardrobe in whole new combinations. 
6. Shini at Park & Cube

I think the reason Shini's blog is so popular is simply because her photos are stunning. She really makes you feel that you are there with her, be it be in Asia, at a leather factory or in a West London garden center tumbling about with the pots and plants. 
7. Emily at Cupcakes & Cashmere

Cupcakes & Cashmere has become one of my all time favourite blogs because Emily is someone I see a lot of myself in, but a lot of what I aspire to be by the end of my twenties too (I'm even moving to her home city of Los Angeles in a few weeks time). She is one of the main reasons I started to integrate food into my blog, and judging by everyones feedback, it has to be one of the best blogging decisions I've ever made. Emily's blog is perfect for you if you love blogs with a great layout, incredible photography, great recipes and wonderful daytime inspiration and personal style posts. I can't wait to get my hands on her new book, too: it is going to be my housewarming gift to myself in my new apartment!

There are not many French blogs in my newsfeed (I adore France, it is quite literally my second home, but while I can read French, I am lazy and therefore prefer not to), but I think Alix's blog has been there the longest. He photographs are stunning and whimsical, and I love how unique all her product features are compared to so many more other blogs out there. Also, her lingerie collection for Etam is to die for!
9. Shea Marie at Cheyenne Meets Chanel

As I'm due to be moving to Los Angeles in a few weeks time, life is all about Califonia Dreamin' right now! Shea Marie's blog has been getting me excited about Los Angeles since December, and her classica Californian style and photos around Los Angeles are enough to make anyone hop on a plane to the City of the Angels. 

Camille is one of the few examples of when I've met someone, they've given me their blog URL and then I've fallen in love with their site, rather than making friends through reading their blogs first. I met Camille at a party in North London one evening, and the next day when I checked out her site I could not believe what a talented person I'd met. She's half English, half French, so her style and her photos really appeal to me, as an English girl who'd honorary second country is France. Her blog has amazing style photos, great fashion features and articles, and you really ought to follow this girl - she's going places! 

What are your favourite blogs of the moment?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Outfit Post: How To Wear Prints

After the success of the first time I tried out a printed skirt I was shopping with my mother in Fenwick in Canterbury, and we decided that I ought to go all out and invest (well, she got it for me as a going off to LA present) in a floral print skirt from one of my favourite high street brands, Whistles. There are so many things that are 'me' about this skirt, though I usually steer clear of anything printed. First off, the base colour is black. Black is my automatic go to Autumn Winter colour, and as for the whole I don't 'do' colour in Winter thing, the colours on this skirt are jewel colours which I do usually like to accessorise with. Second, pleats. Winter pleats are always the way forward in my book, and they made this skirt so much more desirable. 
DSC_0292 This post actually features another piece of the beginings of my Autumn Winter wardrobe, but this time in the basics catagory, rather than a statement inverstment piece. I have been wearing Boden since I was very small and I was dressed to the nines in Mini Boden, and as an adult, as well as the odd investment piece (I am coveting a knitted dress my mother has just purchased, working on a kidnap for an outfit post so I'll let you know!) but always for great quality basics. I have been purchasing their long sleeve scoop neck tees for a couple of years now, they make an absolutely amazing basic I would be totally lost without. Before I have had stripes (as seen here and here) but this season I thought I'd invest in some plain ones, this in navy and another which is still on order in plum. They're amazing value for only £15 each for solid colour or £17 for striped. What I have always loved about Boden is they are mail order (only shop I ever shop out of the catalogue for), but I have recently discovered they have an actual store now in Hanger Green, London which I am going to have to make a pilgrimage to at some stage (and pick up some more basics, obviously!)
Have you started building your Autumn Winter wardrobe yet? Have you found any particularly amazing basics that will go with anything, or any wild statement pieces which will freshen up last years looks? 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Weekly Love: Week 112

This week, the first week in August for me has been the beginning of the end, my last month in England before I move across the pond to the Sunshine State. I had an awesome leaving party (thanks to everyone who sent lovely messages hoping I'd have fun), and the next day four of us headed off to see Ted at the cinema - I was not sure I was going to enjoy it at first, but it turns out it is an absolutely hilarious film. I'm now looking to plan lots of great days, evenings and meals out with my friends and family (including a shopping trip for some last minute essentials at Bluewater, I've become so much of a Westfield Stratford girl I should revisit my old mall of choice before I go!) to make the most of the time I have left!
1. This beautiful Whistles skirt from the new collection is my first ever Instagram photo! I won't be updating again until I get my new iPhone in the first week of September, but I borrowed my Aunt's iPad when she visited to set up my account - I'm @missrachelphipps if you want to follow me!  | 2. Fresh cut flowers from the Pilgrims Nook gardens. | 3. Smoked Salmon scrambled eggs for brunch at The Cider Works. | 4. Food and drink from my leaving party - Rose at The Londoner's recipes for Watermelon Martinis and Fat Free Shrimp Salsa. | 5. Speaking of that wonderful skirt, a little preview I posted on my Facebook page of Monday's post. Make sure you like the page for more of these little 'behind the scenes' updates and previews! | 6. Lots of people have been asking me what I have for breakfast every morning - fresh fruit with coconut yogurt and a tall glass of Innocent Orange Juice with bits!

Finally, another quick reminder if you have not already voted that The Glossy Guide, my beauty blog has been nominated for 'Best New Beauty Blog' in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, and I'd really appreciate your vote

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Interior Design Project: Revamping My Childhood Bedroom

My parents house in Kent has to be one of my favourite places in the entire world and I am so glad we did not sell the house when we were thinking about it, but the one problem with living in the same house all your life is that unless you quite regularly redecorate you're faced with your childhood bedroom until you finally move out into a place of your own, which for me is not going to happen until after university. As student halls don't count, I'm moving into my first 'real' adult place in Los Angeles next month, but no where is going to be 'home' until I'm settled somewhere and I don't have my move out date already in mind. 
When I was kid, I had a ballerina bedroom. When I was in my mid teens I was allowed a redecoration, keeping almost all of the same furniture (the bed is only new this year) and the blue carpet. I went for the colours of duck egg blue, wood and painted white as they best suit my personality, but the room was still a tip, and full of childhood clutter for years. Now as I am moving away (London never really counted, as I was always coming back here every few minutes) and I wanted to have something properly 'grown up' to return to, I set about the task of revamping the room to suit me now. There are still lots of little details I want to get, and things I want to replace, but I've had so many requests from people to see pictures of my room, I thought I'd post some of how far I have got. These throw cushions are from when I first had my room painted blue, and I would like to replace them at some point. These blue floral Cath Kitston pillow cases are part of my recent revamp, a little splash of colour for the white bed, in a matching print to the bath robe hanging on the back of my bedroom door. Cath Kidston make the best bath robes ever. 
I have kept some little pieces in the room to remind me that it is my childhood room, however. This pink pig money box full of one and two penny pieces for a start. Usually on my bedside table you'll find whatever (usually historical) novel or five I'm reading at the time, a scented candle (usually vanilla or jasmine) and the beauty products I like to use after I've showered, at the moment Soap & Glory's Heel Genius Foot Cream and Yardley London's Peony Body Lotion  and Hand Cream.
There used to be books covering practically every surface, as well as a lot of the floor but I've had a good effort to clear them all away. However, it would not be my space if there were still not shelves of books and historical novels crammed into shelves. I'm now going to keep literary fiction in my office. 
One of the best things in my room is the super comfortable and squashy cream sofa which is my preferred reading and blogging space. Essentials include a homemade patchwork kid my mother made me for the ballerina bedroom, and one of Laura Ashley's super warm and comfortable throws. I still love my Monsoon beaded throw cushion, but it is looking a bit battered so I'm looking for a couple of new cushions. I'm thinking something very British themed, or maybe a cream and chevron print? 
I have a few other indistinct prints in the room, but as a total head over heels art lover these two prints are the main reflection for this passion in my room. They are by Josephine Wall, an artist I discovered on holiday when I was 13 and fell totally in love with. I love her intricate paintings with such incredible attention to detail, vivid colours and magical and mythical themes. This one you can see here 'Minervas Melody' also reflects my total love for all things to do with the Classical world, which also feature in a lot of her paintings. 
My clothes rail came from university where there in my flat I had barely enough space to fit myself in the wardrobe, let alone all of my clothes and shoes. I've found, however, I like having a rotation rail in my room (and the back rain is super useful for storing scarfs) so I would like to replace this at some point with a cream or white painted wooden one with a shoe wrack or small storage drawers at the bottom, and some more of the padded silk hangers I have in my wardrobe in various shades of purple. 
Since I started blogging, and more recently created my 'Floral Fun' board on Pinterest I have decided I ought to have more fresh cut flowers about the place. While my real loves are Hydrangeas (I get my fill in the hedgerows and gardens near my house in France) and Peonies (which are really expensive), I also think simple white or pale pink roses are so elegant and beautiful. This bunch were only £4 from Asda, so filling your home with flowers every once in a while does not have to break the bank. 
There are so many products (lots stored by being stacked into old beauty sample boxes) littering my dressing table it is impossible to look at it and not realise that it is that of a beauty blogger. This Joliebox is home to the items which are part of my everyday rotation. 
Brush and eyeliner storage used to be an issue for me (I used to keep them in old mugs) but I have recently discovered that old scented candle jars are a fantastic and elegant solution. I might just have to invest in a Diptyque candle or two; £38 may be steep, but once I'm done burning it I also get a pretty brush jar or pen pot. 
Do you remember my post back in April about using shelving as a shoe storage idea? I finally got the big white inlayed shelves at the far end of my room cleared of junk, and I must say it is now one of my favourite features in my room. From left to right, a Vivianne Westwood pouch, See by Chloe Sandals and Jaeger wedges. 
DSC_0167 DSC_0160
Old Glossyboxes are stacked all over my room, because they are so pretty, as well as practical for storing things out of sight. Also, a very old book about English Life in the Middle Ages (as well as paperback novels, I love all types of old books), one of my collection of folios I have started to collect and the empty bottle of Moet I opened when I got into UCLA. I like to keep bottles of champagne that signaled special occasions; the bottle I was given for my 18th birthday and drank on the day I passed my A Levels is on my dressing table. 
Finally at the bottom of the shelf, two grab baskets in my favourite colour for quick shoes I just like to throw on; one for trainers, Converse, Keds etc. and one for my favourites out of my expansive collection of Havaianas flip flops and sandals. 

Does anyone else still occupy their childhood bedroom from time to time? What have you done to it to make it a little bit more grown up, and a little bit more you?