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A very cute video – an adorable Cat.

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Last Monday, I attended the Fashion Monitor Party. We had a great evening, they had a fantastic caterer and – oh my god – amazing Champagne! We had a nice time rubbing shoulders with starved young designers, PR’s and fashion journalists, but, to be honest, the most remarkable was the venue itself.

Skyloft – http://www.skyloftlondon.com – a 360 panoramic warehouse space on 28th floor of the Millbank Tower with absolutely amazing views of London.

I loved it – and it reminded me of how much I like living in London!

What is it with online fashion websites that everything always seems to be on sales… We are bombarded with email alerts with attractive straplines such as ‘Up to 65%’, ‘70%’, ‘80%’ discounts, ‘Designer Sales’, etc. on a daily basis.

How are we supposed to resist? Even in a recession – especially in a recession – spending £50 on an item that is worth £160 appears like a real bargain.

Now, the question is, would you have bought a £50 shirt/top in the first place?

The answer is obviously – ‘no’.

Although with Fashion Week just round the corner and invitations to fashion parties pouring, one does feel much more vulnerable in that season…

So yes, the skimpy little silk shorts on the picture above now belong to me – although the legs and bum aren’t, I have to admit. And I am sadly really excited by this purchase, I can’t wait to try it on – I have recently bought a dark green silky shirt that would complete the outfit perfectly!

Watch this space…

 

 

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news/50-greatest-films-all-time

A little more than a month ago, 846 critics, programmers, academics and distributors voted – and the 50-year reign of Citizen Kane is over.

Now – quick poll: how many of the films listed below have you actually seen?!?

  • #1. Vertigo
  • #2. Citizen Kane
  • #3. Tokyo Story
  • #4. La Regle du Jeu
  • #5. Sunrise: the Song of Two Humans
  • #6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • #7. The Searchers
  • #8. Man with a movie camera
  • #9. The Passion of Joan Arc
  • #10. 8 1/2
  • #11. Battleship Potemkine
  • #12. L’Atalante
  • #13. Breathless
  • #14. Apocalypse Now
  • #15. Late Spring
  • #16. Au hasard Balthazar
  • #17. Seven Samurai
  • #17. Persona
  • #19. Mirror
  • #20. Singin’ in the Rain
  • #21. L’avventura
  • #21. Le Mépris
  • #21. The Godfather
  • #24. Ordet
  • #24. In the Mood for Love
  • #26. Rashomon
  • #26. Andrei Rublev
  • #28. Mulholland Dr.
  • #29. Stalker
  • #29. Shoah
  • #31. The Godfather Part II
  • #31. Taxi Driver
  • #33. Bicycle Thieves
  • #34. The General
  • #35. Metropolis
  • #35. Psycho
  • #35. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
  • #35. Sátántangó
  • #39. The 400 Blows
  • #39. La dolce vita
  • #41. Journey to Italy
  • #42. Pather Panchali
  • #42. Some Like It Hot
  • #42. Gertrud
  • #42. Pierrot le fou
  • #42. Play Time
  • #42. Close-Up
  • #48. The Battle of Algiers
  • #48. Histoire(s) du cinéma
  • #50. City Lights
  • #50. Ugetsu monogatari
  • #50. La Jetée

Hottest destinations in 2012 included London, of course, but many far-from-home destinations also made it to the top 10. Despite the recession and economic downturn, Brits continue to travel the world and relentlessly explore its far end corners.

Belize – a destination of choice in Central America and the best spot to witness the ‘end of the world’ scheduled on 21 Dec 2012 (21/12/2012)

New-Zealand – ‘to follow in the Hobbit steps’. Personally I’d love to see the place where one of my favourite ‘horror’ movies was shot… Black Sheep – a ‘chef d’oeuvre’ of piss-taking and self-derision.

Portugal – Porto, colourful and vibrant, gateway to the Duro Valley with spectacular landscapes and amazing wines. We loved the cheap, cheap, surprisingly good, wines served in small restaurants.

New-York City – Loved it 10 years ago and can’t wait to go back.

Curaçao, Caribbean – Gorgeous Caribbean Island, celebrating its first year of independence since the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles

Oman – While neighbouring oil-rich countries are erecting skyscrapers, Oman is adding an opera house and planting desert gardens amid the capital’s white stone buildings.

Finland – Helsinki is an amazing city with lovely bonkers people and a great tradition – early morning smoked sauna followed with breakfast made of home-made smoked salmon and potato salad – hmmm….!

Tanzania – with the opening of exclusive safari reserves, Tanzania is bound to catch-up with neighbour Kenya very soon

Prague – beautiful with character, Prague is a really pretty city with a compact city centre which makes walking explorations totally feasible

Cuba – new restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, some in gorgeous colonial villas, have sprung up over the past year as the government has allowed more private enterprise

Although I not only travel a lot for work but also for leisure, I have realised that there are big chunks of the planet that I don’t know and would love to go to, one day. For example:

Chilean Patagonia – horse-riding in spectacular landscape

Vietnam – Halong Bay, in November 2010, the Unesco World Heritage site was provisionally named one of the world’s “new seven wonders of nature” based on a global poll conducted by a Swiss foundation — just as Vietnam Airlines announced the first-ever nonstop flights between London and Vietnam!

Jordan – to see Petra (and gallop away in the sunset)

Myanmar – to boycott or not to boycott… Even though pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been freed, there is no doubt the country is still under the yoke of an authoritarian regime

Places closer to home include Berlin, St-Petersburg but also Cornwall, the Scottish Highlands and the Lochs. You don’t need to go far to discover new places and new people… Nowadays, and thanks to lowcosts and modern technologies, travelling has become easier and more accessible than ever, it is an education in itself which broadens the minds and enlightens our everyday life.

And I’ll leave the last word to those two – they say it better than me…

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

St. Augustine

Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled.

Prophet Mohammed

This is just an amazing recipe. Half made-up, half-copied, it was just the perfect result.

Great for dinner parties or dinner a-deux, this gratin is cheap, easy and quick to do – and looks lovely on the table.

Serves 4 – preparation 30min, oven 25min

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 400g minced meat
  • 2 small onions (or 1 big)
  • 1 spoon of creme fraiche
  • grated parmesan
  • rosemary
  • cinq-épices
  • salt and pepper

Peal the butternut squash and cook or steam it until soft – 10/15 min in a steam-cooker. In the meantime, slightly fry the onions in a little bit of olive oil in a large fry-pan. When soft (but not brown), add in the meat. Cook thoroughly and add in the rosemary, cinq-épices, salt and pepper.

When the butternut squash is cooked, mash it together with a large spoon of creme-fraiche. Add in salt and pepper.

In a gratin dish, pour half the butternut squash, add the meat and onion preparation on top and cover with the second half of butternut squash. Pour 30 grammes of grated Parmesan on top for the gratin effect.

Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes.

Serve very hot with a side salad of lettuce.

Enjoy!

This was tried and tested and unanimously approved…

Seasonal cooking?

Everyone has heard of ‘seasonal cooking’ and how important it is if we want to save the planet? Like everybody else I embraced the trend and tried to cook around the vegetables I could find in my local Tesco or Co-op…

This went well for a few months until I somewhat had a revelation. Whilst shopping for leeks at my local grocery a few weeks ago, I was told by a rather apologetic grocer that because leeks were out of season they were going to cost me a wholesome £3.50.

My answer was along the line of ‘whaaaaaat but I need leeks..!’ – or something similar.

As soon as I was home, I looked it up and… the grocer was right! Not that surprising when one thinks about it long enough. Leeks are winter vegetables – I didn’t have the faintest idea.

A whole new culinary world full of delicious experiments was opening in front of my eye!

Here is a (very useful) calendar of seasonal fruits and vegetables:

JANUARY

Fruits: apple, date, lemon, mandarin, orange, pear, tangerine

Vegetables: brussels sprout, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chestnut, kale, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, parsnip, potato, swede, sweet potato, turnip

Herbs: Garlic, ginger

FEBRUARY

Fruits: Apple, date, lemon, mandarin, orange, pear, tangerine

Vegetables: Brussels sprout, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chestnut, kale, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, parsnip, potato, purple sprouting broccoli , swede, sweet potato, turnip

Herbs: Garlic, ginger

MARCH

Fruits: Apple, date, lemon, mandarin, orange, pear, tangerine

Vegetables: Cauliflower, leek, parsnip, potato, purple sprouting broccoli, sweet potato

Herbs: Chives, parsley

APRIL

Fruits: Apricot, avocado, mango, pineapple,

Vegetables: Cauliflower, carrots, celeriac, purple sprouting broccoli , lettuce greens, new potatoes, peas, spinach, spring greens, sorrel

Herbs: Chives, parsley, watercress

MAY

Fruits: Apricot, avocado, gooseberry, mango, pineapple, strawberry

Vegetables: Asparagus, carrots, fennel, new potatoes, peas, radish, spinach, spring greens, sorrel

Herbs: Chives, dill, mustard greens, sage, thyme, watercress

JUNE

Fruits: Apricot, avocado, gooseberry, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon

Vegetables: Asparagus, aubergine (eggplant), beetroot, beans, Chinese cabbage, courgette (zucchini), cucumber, globe artichoke, new potatoes, peas, radish, silverbeet, spinach, spring greens, sorrel, tomato

Herbs: Basil, chives, dill, garlic chives, mustard greens, sage, thyme, watercress

JULY

Fruits: apricot, blackcurrant, blueberry, cherry, gooseberry, peach, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon

Vegetables: Asparagus, aubergine (eggplant), beetroot, beans, broad bean, Chinese cabbage, courgette (zucchini), cucumber, globe artichoke, new potatoes, peas, radish, silverbeet, spinach, spring greens, sorrel, tomato

Herbs: Basil, chives, dill, garlic, garlic chives, mustard greens, sage, thyme, watercress

AUGUST

Fruits: apricot, blackcurrant, blueberry, cherry, fig, gooseberry, peach, raspberry, red currant, strawberry, watermelon

Vegetables: Aubergine (eggplant), beetroot, beans, broad bean, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, courgette (zucchini), cucumber, globe artichoke, new potatoes, peas, radish, silverbeet, spinach, spring greens, sorrel, sweet corn, tomato

Mushrooms: chanterelle, black trumpet, cep, girolle, bolete, horn of plenty

Herbs: Basil, chives, garlic, garlic chives, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, watercress

SEPTEMBER

Fruits: Apricot, blackberry, damson, fig, gooseberry, peach, peach, pear, plum, raspberry, red currant, strawberry

Vegetables: Aubergine (eggplant), beetroot, beans, broad bean, broccoli, celeriac, celery, courgette (zucchini), cucumber, kale, leek, new potatoes, parsnip, peas, radish, silverbeet, spinach, sorrel, sweet corn, tomato

Mushrooms: Chanterelle, black trumpet, cep, girolle, bolete, horn of plenty

Herbs: Basil, chives, garlic, garlic chives, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, watercress

OCTOBER

Fruits: Apple, cranberry, fig, pear, plum, quince

Vegetables: Aubergine (eggplant), beetroot, beans, broad bean, broccoli, celeriac, celery, chestnut, courgette (zucchini), cucumber, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leek, new potatoes, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, sorrel, sweet corn

Herbs: Garlic, rosemary

NOVEMBER

Fruits: Apple, clementine, cranberry, date, fig, pear, quince

Vegetables: Beetroot, Brussels sprouts, celeriac, celery, chestnut, globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leek, parsnip, peas, potato, pumpkin, swede, sweet potato, Swiss chard, turnip

Herbs: Garlic, ginger

DECEMBER

Fruits: Apple, clementine, cranberry, date, lemon, mandarin, orange, pear, quince, tangerine, rhubarb

Vegetables: Brussels sprout, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chestnut, kale, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, parsnip, potato, shallots, swede, sweet potato, turnip

Herbs: Garlic, ginger