Balconies & Rooftop Garden’s

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Hip! Hip! Hurray! It’s Friday!!! What are you up to this weekend? Mumma and I are going shopping for wedding dress fabrics and I couldn’t be more excited! I can’t wait to see what the dress is going to look like.

Then N and I are having dinner with his parents this evening and spending the rest of the weekend clearing out clutter in preparation for moving! Exciting times guys!

On the subject, if you’re living in a city and living in a flat then you probably know more than well how low on space, especially when it comes to outdoor space, flats are. Balcony’s and Rooftop Garden’s are rare things to come across but even the smallest outdoor spaces are amazing.

Even though N & I are now downsizing we are 100% determined on finding somewhere with a small balcony/garden. Even if it’s just a little balcony to have a coffee on or glass of wine at the end of the week – it’s a real treat.

Here are some of the inspiration pictures I have gathered from people who have managed to create a mini paradise gateway in the middle of a buzzing city.

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But then you get places like these:

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I found this incredible vegetable garden on Express-o. It sits on a top of the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard and is a whopping 6,000 square metres!

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Ben and his team grow everything organically from tomatoes to basil, mushrooms and they even make their own honey.

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So don’t leave without watching this mesmerising time lapse below over the course of 7 months. What an incredible place!

http://vimeo.com/86266334

I hope you have an amazing weekend and enjoy the sun :)!

Javier Pérez on Instagram

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Can you believe that it’s March already? For the first time yesterday it actually felt like spring!

Do you remember Nick Knight’ Beautiful Roses that he published on his Instagram account?

Well take a look at what this Ecuadorian graphic designer /audiovisual producer Javier Perez has posted on Instagram.

Isn’t it amazing what you can make with simple everyday objects? Would you ever have thought that slices of tangerine looked like lungs?

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Wide Leg Trousers

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The first thing i’m going to be pulling out of the back of the wardrobe this spring is my wide leg trousers. I have always been a huge fan of wide leg trousers and jeans and still am.

They are my go-to-piece for any sort of S/S fancy do and I always feel elegant and comfortable in them. You can imagine my joy when I started to spot it as a trend this year! I also love the fact that you can wear them with a silky top or a tucked in tea-shirt.

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P.S. They also make your legs look really long (well…longerrr)

Oysho S/S 2014

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Not many people know about Oysho but it now has over 500 stores now and is a great shop for intimate basics. They are owned by the same brand as Zara (Inditex) and have just released a beautiful spring/summer collection. I really like the blue and white theme they have kept for their summer pyjamas – I can easily imagine myself swooning around in that nightie. 

 

 

 

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Amazing Things Will Happen

Amazing Things Will Happen

Hello Everyone! How are you all? Sorry for not being around – i’ve been spending time sorting my life out. I feel like i’m always sorting my life out but it always feels so manic!

It did feel like the right time for a proper “clean out” so after coming back from a little break in Austria (first time skying hihi) I decided to put my head down and start putting things in order. Without dragging short stories out, N and I have decided to move to our own little place. We will still be renting but it will be just the two of us. I’m so excited and can’t wait to show you all my new home inspiration pictures.

I’m also having loads of fun slowly (very slowly) going through my wardrobe and getting ready for spring – tons of pictures coming on that as well.

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And then, with no less importance, I am finally (officially) putting my head down and am going to start properly plotting my grand plan for my wonderful new career! 🙂

I’ve loved baking since as long as I can remember, I drool over food blogs and have a collection of recipes books that far exceeds any other collection and my favourite thing to do is sitting in coffee bars wherever and whenever.

It took me a while to understand what my priorities are, and making money doing something that I didn’t particularly like was not going to make he happy.

So why not turn my hobby into a profession? It could take me in all sorts of directions – writing a blog, baking and selling my cakes, create new products, work in cafe, become queen barista, etc.

This time I want to find a profession that follows my values, that uses my strengths and ultimately that makes me happy. Everyones dream, I know, but why not make it happen?

It’s not impossible, it’s just a case of finding this “job”/”life”. So here is the journey, on Cafe Cortado, the evolution (I hope) of my recipes, the building of my own personal plan, the failures and successes. A blissful journal of happiness and beautiful inspirations.

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A mission and a half I know, but I’m it taking step by step.  I’m enjoying what I am doing and that is something I want to cherish.

So I hope that your enjoying it so far, and that you will be able to join my on my adventure, I look forward to your advice and criticism and many days of laughter and tears.

So many exciting things on at once! It’s a lot of hard work, more than a little unconventional but amazing things are going to happen this year and i’m going to make sure they happen.

Happy Tuesday everyone and thank you for visiting (as always)!

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

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Lemon cake is one of those glorious desserts that’s appropriate any time. Everyone who tries this cakes loves it, its a cake that suits everything.

I’ve made it for breakfast, served as a dessert, had a slice with my afternoon coffee or make it for when my housemates and I fancy a quick sweet treat.

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It’s a recipe to cherish and keep – I hope you enjoy it x

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake 

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour (alternatively 200g of self-raising and 25g of ground almond to add extra moisture)
  • 1tbsp of milk

For the drizzle:

  • Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 50g demerara sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180. Grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

1. Beat together the butter, caster sugar and the finely grated zest of 1 lemon until light and fluffy.

2. Add a pinch of salt and the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined before adding the next.

3. Sift over the flour and fold in. Add the milk to bring the mixture to a dropping consistency then spoon into the prepared tin and even out the top. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out dry.j

4. For the drizzle mix together the lemon juice and demerara sugar, then poke holes all over the top of the warm cake and pour over the drizzle. Make sure to wait for the cake to absorb the drizzle before adding more.

5. Allow to cook in the tin before turning it out.

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Now I’m off to have a piece of lemon drizzle and a Cortado! x

The Oblitaration Room

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We are halfway there, it’s already Wednesday. This week feels like it’s going so fast. Hows your week been? I’ve been skying in Lech and am currently lying in bed with my leg propped up on  a cushion after a rather glamorous fall resulting a blue leg :$.

You need to check out this amazing art installation. You may have seen it before but I’ve just stumbled across it and I love it.

Incredible artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large house environment and painted every wall, chair, table, piano, etc. white providing a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the smallest museum visitors were given thousands upon thousand of multi-coloured stickers letting them turn the house into a beautiful explosion of colour. Isn’t it great?

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Guilt-Free Dark Chocolate Tarts

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Guilt-Free! Yes – let me say that again, Guilt-Free! Like I’ve mentioned before I’ve always had sweet tooth every since I was young, but of course like the majority of women and men around the world, I also take care in what I eat.

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When I stumbled across this recipes I was pleasantly surprised but slightly sceptical. A chocolate tart made predominately out of avocados! Thats avocado – the fruit that is good for your skin, heart health, eye health, immune system not to mention the tons of other benefits.

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Now that I’ve baked them and ate it them – I can officially say it’s one of my favourite recipes ever, it’s AMAZING! Best bit – nobody can tell. I kid you not, I served this chocolate tart last night and nobody thought anything out of the ordinary. They just kept on about how light, fluffy and chocolaty the tart was. The fact that it’s actually a guilt-free dessert is just the cherry on the top.

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Guilt-Free Dark Chocolate Tarts 

You can make these either as little tartlets, as I have, or one large tart (23cm).

  • One amazing pre-baked 9-inch (23 cm) french tart shell or 6 pre-baked french tartlet shells
  • 2 Avocados
  • 3 tbsp of premium Cocoa Powder
  • 1tsp of expresso Coffee Powder
  • 2 tbsp of honey (you may want to add more to taste)

1. Pre-bake your tart (or tartlet) shells if you haven’t done so ( I added a tablespoon of Cocoa Powder to the classic recipe to add the extra chocolaty taste to the tart)

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2. Peel and chop the avocados and put it into a stand alone mixer with the S blade with the cocoa powder and coffee powder. Blitz on a medium heat until the mixture is completely combined and add the honey mixing through again.

3. Add honey or more cocoa powered to taste, I even added a dash of liquor to it to gift a little kick! Fill the tart case or tartlet cases with the mixture and let refrigerate for an hour.

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4. Decorate the tart with ground nuts before serving.

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Alopecia

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I found my first balled patch in November 2012, correction, my boyfriend found my first balled patch.

I took no notice when he first pointed it out believing that he was just exagerating  the little bald patch I had around a childhood scar. We where lying in bed telling each other about our days when he felt something whilst stroking my hair. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later when I was brushing my hair that I realised I had a bald patch, not the size of a coin as I had previously thought, but the size of a clenched fist.

What was it? What was wrong with me? How could I find out? What could I look up on Google? What had I done to myself? I panicked, really panicked and burst into an overanxious, hysterical laughter. Why was this happening?

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I was diagnosed with Alopecia a month later. At the time I was still working in finance and had health insurance so I abused it to the max and booked an appointment with the best dermatologist I could.

I used creams, gels, special shampoos, I took steroid pills and vitamins. Nothing was working, my hair was still falling out.

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Alopecia, is actually a common condition. It can occur at any age, and affects males and females equally. It’s only when you start to look around that you realise actually how many people suffer from this disorder, people you have seen every day, and have never known.

It’s believed to be a systemic autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth. It’s not life threatening, it’s doesn’t hurt but there is no cure.

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It’s very hard to explain just how much it affects you. You feel alone, withdrawn and isolated. You fear that others might find out, you feel hopeless, angry and embarrassed. I often wondered if somehow I had brought on the disease somehow.

And it doesn’t only affect you, it can also affect the people that love you. Your parents can feel guilt that they may have genetically contributed to your disease and helpless that they cannot stop the disease or help ease their child’s condition.

BUT – you can get over it, you can live with it, and you can actually forget about it and carry on.

I visited 3 doctor’s, 2 dermatologists and even visited a trichologist (dermatologist who specialises in hair health) in Italy. I have had more blood tests than I can count and have taking enough prescribed vitamins to turn me into superwoman. Heres the thing – it’s NOT your fault and their is NOTHING you can do to prevent it.

The only thing I could do was accept it. I am the same person I was before my hair started falling out, I am as beautiful as I was and NOBODY thinks any less of me since I was diagnosed.

There have been things that have helped with the regrowth such as the steroid injections but aside from that there is no point is frantically searching for an answer or the cure as there is none. For me the solution was acceptance.

I do spend longer than I used to on my hair in the mornings and I do visit my doctor every 6 months for steroid injections but thats pretty much it! Which shampoo you use, or brush you use, how careful you are or how much you worry about it won’t change a thing.

There is so many of us in this boat, we are not alone, we are together. We are beautiful and smart and there is nothing wrong with us! Let’s try and just accept.

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P.S. Aren’t these women beautiful!?! Who said bald isn’t sexy!

P.P.S. Some of my favourite products for my hair at the moment:

Alphosyl 2-in-1 Medicated Shampoo

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Inneov Hair Mass (I know it’s expensive but it really works, it keeps my hair looking shiny and healthy and nails soft)

Regaine Extra Strength

I would not however recommend any of the Nioxin products. They have fantastic reviews but unfortunately it just irritated my scalp badly and didn’t help with the regrowth.