Put some ‘Spring’ in your step

Every day the light is fading later and later and winter is almost finally behind us. I am embracing spring with both arms and with that in mind I have picked some of my preferred key looks for Spring 2013 straight from the catwalk. Simply adapt these looks to your taste and budget by keeping your eyes peeled on the high street or DIY.

metallic stripes

Stripes are ‘in’ this spring and bold geometric shapes but dont worry about everything matching up, a little colour clashing is good although I think subtler shades with a pop of strong colour as above works best. I also love the chiffon and pearl cuff…

striped skirt

For daytime pair a nice loose shirt or cotton t shirt with a tight fitting pencil skirt and finish with chunky jewellery and colourful nails.

dress

Florals are also in and while the catwalk is dictating strong floral colours I love the classic cut and delicacy of this beautiful fifties style oriental silk dress and will be keeping my eyes peeled for a high street version.

lanvin

I couldnt resist including this silk knit Lanvin dress in blush – just so pretty but so unaffordable.

yellow

Love this pop of colour for spring by J Crew, could see it paired up with jeans and a Breton top.

sass

This embroidered clutch by Sass and Bide is another lovely piece which would be a wardrobe staple for night time.

classic

If it’s classic everyday elegance you’re looking for this spring then look no further, I love this two tone nude and black tote bag.

cuff

Finally, am coveting this Kate Spade NY ‘Be Art and Part Of’ idiom cuff, alas only available in Bloomingdales but it looks like a Frey Wille with a significantly lower price tag <covet>

 

Advertisements

Tasty Avoca Minestrone Soup Recipe

This soup is easy, tasty, healthy and low GI (glycaemic index) which basically means it breaks down slowly in your system leaving you feeling fuller for longer, kind of the opposite effect to a Mc Donalds! A big bowl of wholesome goodness for these freezing days and chock a block with your 5 a day

winter-minestrone-garlic-bruschetta-223x300.

Ingredients

2 onions, peeled and chopped

olive oil

2 carrots peeled and diced

1 red and 1 yellow pepper seeded and diced

1 chilli, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

A handful of pearl barley, rinsed in several changes of water

2 celery stalks, diced

1 litre light chicken stock

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon tomato puree

1 x 400g can chickpeas rinsed and drained

2 sprigs oregano, finely chopped

1 teaspoon picked thyme leaves

How to…

Gently sauté the onion in 4 tablespoons of  olive oil for 10 mins. Add the carrots, peppers, chilli, garlic and barley. Toss in the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the celery, stock, tomatoes and tomato puree and cook for a further 15 mins, or until the vegetables are just cooked. Add the chickpeas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the fresh herbs, check the seasoning and serve.

Variations

**You can add char-grilled chicken breasts, grilled sausages or chorizo to turn this into a more substantial supper dish.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche and a half teaspoon of harissa per serving for a chilli kick.

Semi-sun dried tomato pesto along with extra herbs gives a robust, fragrant finish.

Next up I will be posting recipes from the rather wonderful looking Cake Cafe Dublin recipe book which I was received as a gift recently including their most sought after recipes so stay posted……

 

January Reads

For me January is a month to go into a little hibernation mode after the joys and excesses of the Christmas season. Regular exercise and a good diet is a great start but for me chilling at weekends in front of a fire and not running around is a wonderful way to recharge your batteries.

First things first – reading. I have gotten through 3 books now this month and am on my fourth. So in order of reading them:

Enduring Love by Ian Mc Ewan

Enduring love

I have read several of Ian Mc Ewan’s books including Atonement, Amsterdam and Saturday, but I found this totally different from his other work. It’s an older book, first published back in 1997 and the plot concerns two strangers who become perilously entangled after witnessing a deadly accident. It’s a slim book but packs an enormous punch and I would highly recommend it for the thrill alone.

This Is How It Ends by Kathleen Mac Mahon

this is how

I got this for Christmas and I was really excited to read it after hearing so much hype around it (the first time author received a two book advance of over €700,000 and is the grand daughter of writer Mary Lavin) and while I enjoyed parts of it, I wasnt blown away. The characters are well developed if a little cliched in parts fitting neatly in stereotyped boxes and the plot was predictable. All in all, an underwhelming read but to be fair perhaps expectations were set a little too high to start with.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

yearold

A funny and fast paced novel following the 100 year old hero Allan Karlsson as he dashes an escape from his nursing home and embarks on a comic crime spree through Sweden picking up equally ludicrous accomplices along the way. The novel also manages to cleverly take in all the major events of the 20th century and the lead character’s role in them. Funny, entertaining and well worth a read.

I am currently reading Claire Kilroy’s The Devil I Know and while I am only a few chapters in, the writing and dialogue is excellent and I am looking forward to getting stuck into it more. It is a pretty savage satire on Ireland’s property boom so a good reminder of the excesses and tasteless extravagance of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’. Feels like a distant memory now in the heart of austerity.

On an aside, the house is falling down with books but it’s one thing I find it hard to part with so I have decided I need a Book Barn kind of like this one –  Baldwin’s Book Barn, an 1822 building in West Chester, Pennsylvania which has five floors of books, pretty realistic goal don’t you think?

Below are some images to ogle for book lovers.

baldwins

baldwins1

baldwins3

baldwins2