Black and blue

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BACKROOM jacket
UNIQLO jumper
H&M trousers (similar)
ASOS shoes (similar)

A very navy and black themed outfit today, styling this great sleeveless jacket from lovely people at Backroom. Certain I’d miss coat sleeves, paired with this thick wool Uniqlo turtleneck, I was actually pretty cosy on this chilly last Sunday of November (where has the year gone?!). I love how easy and versatile this sleeveless coat is – which would also be ideal thrown over an easy dress for an evening out, or paired with some skinny jeans and a pair of chunky boots for an very effortless look. I don’t know if I went a teeny bit overboard with the co-ordination but I liked the matching of the jacket’s navy panels and the trousers, and of course, went for a faux pony skin bag and pointy loafer combo too. My love for pointy shoes is continuously growing and I was super excited waiting for these beauties to arrive – probably the last purchase I’ll be making on myself for the rest of the year as Christmas shopping and saving for next summer is key right now. Attempting to fight the urge to make a purchase with Asos’ 20% off promotion…who’s with me?

 

Spiced butternut squash, carrot + cauliflower soup

DSC_6636-2Winter means one thing – soup season. There is nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of soup for tackling those cold, dark nights, but put away those tin openers (sorry Heinz) and get chopping some fresh produce for a nutrient rich, hearty version. Making your own soup is soup-er easy [hangs head in shame] and can be whipped up quickly in the evenings or even be left to cook slowly for a few hours on a low, low heat. Butternut squash is packed with vitamins, which along with the carrots and fresh ginger (and basically every ingredient in the soup) can boost your immune system to help prevents colds over the chilly winter months.

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Spiced Butternut squash, carrot and cauliflower soup
Makes 3.5 Litres / Serves about 6 or more

Ingredients
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion
3 garlic gloves
2 celery sticks
4 carrots
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1.2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Asmall chunk of fresh ginger
1 large butternut squash, chopped into small cubes
1/2 a large cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 cup red split lentils, rinsed
2 litres of organic vegetable stock/boullion
Sea salt + pepper
Fresh rosemary

Finely chop the onions, ginger, celery and carrots, and prepare the rest of the veg. In a large pot, fry the onion and garlic in coconut oil until brown, add the carrots and celery and fry for a couple of minutes. Combine the spices to the pot, rinse and add the lentils, cubed butternut squash, cauliflower and stock, and then cook for about an hour on a low-medium heat. As I said before, you can also keep this cooking for longer on a low heat, until you’re ready to blend. Turn off the heat and pour the soup mixture in batches into a blender, and blitz until soup-y. If you like, you can also keep a small portion of the original mixture and then add it to the blended soup to leave some lumps. Transfer the soup back into the original pot and season with more sea salt/pepper and fresh rosemary. I love to top my soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of cayenne pepper, black pepper and black sesame seeds.

When I made this soup, I hadn’t intended to make quite as much as I did and so this recipe yields a massive pot. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your quantities, or alternatively, you could make a big batch and freeze in portions to use throughout the month for a quick lunch/dinner fix.

DSC_6657love, Ellie.

 

Hold on to your hats

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MANGO coat, H&M hat, jeans and necklace, TOPSHOP boots, WHISTLES bag

I’ve never been much of a hat person, I just don’t seem to have the right face shape – I’d like to thank the chipmunk cheeks I was blessed with as a baby that have not seemed to disappear with age. Nevertheless, I was very much drawn to this wool hat in H&M and was pleasantly surprised with the fit (and the price tag). I quite like the very interesting, structured style of the hat’s crown and how it differs from the typical fedora styles. When trying to shoot this outfit, however, the forceful winds today seemed to be attempting to blow it off my head. A sign that hats are definitely not for me? Perhaps so, but a gal can experiment.

On the topic of unexpected buys, I picked up this Whistles clutch in the sale for a ridiculous £25 (!!!) thank you sale prices plus ELLE’s £20 off voucher the other week. Pink’s not a colour I would have ordinarily opted for – black or white would of course be my go-to colour – however, this shade of pink is so gorgeous I couldn’t resist. I have become partial to carry clutch bags recently rather than an actual handbag when I don’t have to; phone, keys, cherry Carmex, money – done. I think I’m so sick of being a crazy bag lady at school, with my school bags, canvas tote for sketchbooks, as well as various other carrier bags, that I try and stick to an easy clutch on weekends.

 

Quinoa porridge

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Quinoa porridge is one of my favourite breakfasts at the moment, especially with some fresh homemade nut milk. If you have a batch of cooked quinoa in the fridge, this breakfast can be made with 1 cup of cooked quinoa, heated up in 1 cup of nut milk! Alternatively, follow the steps below to make a warm cereal in the morning. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain, rich in nutrients and high in protein, vitamins and minerals, fibre, and amino acids. So, this porridge is great for getting your brain going in the morning, and works well with the addition of maca powder, which can increase energy. Maca is an ancient root from Peru which has a malty flavour and is packed with vitamins.

Quinoa porridge
Serves 1

1/2 cup quinoa (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup water
1 cup almond milk (or any other nut milk, brazil nut tastes amazing in this!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of nutmeg +cardamom
1 tsp maca powder (optional)
1 mashed banana (optional, but recommended)

In the evening, soak the quinoa overnight – place it in a bowl with about 1 cup of filtered water, cover, and leave on the work top. Soaking activates the quinoa, enhancing the goodness and making it easier to digest. In the morning, drain and rinse the quinoa, place it in the boiling water, cover and cook on a low heat for 12 minutes. After this time, add the nut milk, a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom and the vanilla. If using a banana, mash this in a small bowl and add to the pan. Mix in the maca powder and stir for a couple of minutes until most of the milk has dissolved.

Top your porridge with fruit/nuts/seeds/superfoods. My favourite combination is banana quinoa porridge with cashews, goji berries, cacao nibs and sunflower seeds. What’s yours?

Back to black

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ASOS jacket, NEW LOOK TALL culottes, MANGO jumper, TOPSHOP boots, HM bag

Do you know what sucks? Plans. I had intended to use this half term to get my arse in gear, as I’m sure every student says at the start of each break. I’ll catch up on coursework, I’ll complete a whole load of blogposts, I’ll sort out my UCAS, I’ll go into London then, then and then, etc etc. And were half as much of the thing I wanted to do achieved? Nope. I’m definitely a list-making kind of person, so when writing my to-do’s on my beloved Garance Doré pad, I perhaps get a bit carried away with planning all the one-hundred-and-one things I need to do. So, here I am again, on the day before going back to school, still with needing to start an English essay to hand in tomorrow and an additional ever-growing pile of coursework, with that Sunday feeling creeping up on me. Final year of school and my lesson has still not been learnt.

Moving on, I opted for an almost all black outfit today; styling my black culottes with a leather jacket and leather fringed bag from H&M – which are both equally as enjoyable items to wear as the same time…especially in the breeze…free, floaty and freakin’ fun. You just can’t beat a high-waisted pair of wide-legged trousers to brighten your day.