Clubmasters

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Sunglasses – Ray Ban / Top – Topshop / Skirt – Dorothy Perkins / Slippers – Accessorize / Bracelets – Z for Accessorize

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Before my family and I headed off for a short resort break in Port Dickson this weekend, my mum wanted to take me to a local optical shop to check out sunglasses. I wasn’t one to complain and after browsing through mainly Ray Bans, I settled on my first choice – tortoiseshell folding Clubmasters. I think they make me look 10 times cooler. Which, you know, isn’t very hard.

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So here I am, standing on the balcony of our stilt-house suite (I have to show you how cool this hotel is!), feeling cool as a cucumber, though actually sweating from the 32º Malaysian heat. I’ve wanted a pair of tortoiseshell Ray Bans for so long, that I was then too afraid to take it to the swimming pool (what if I got sunscreen on it?!) or out for dinner (what if I left it?!). I probably need to get over the fact I have a pair of Ray Bans now or I’ll never use them at all.

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Hong Kong Snaps

I left Hong Kong yesterday after a week of chilling out with the parents, catching up with old school friends and gorging on amazing Asian food (of course). Even though I try to return to Hong Kong every couple of years, it’s an ever-changing landscape with new shopping malls and residential buildings popping up all the time. I didn’t spend a huge amount of time taking photos, but here a few iPhone snaps I took whilst I was there!

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^ Sichuanese food at Yun Yan with school friends – not as spicy as I was expecting!

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^ Dad still insists on having fish & chips everywhere we go.

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^ One of my favourite new discoveries in Hong Kong – a shop called Nico and… in MOKO - really cute accessories and 60s furniture. Could have bought a lot there!

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^ Mmm.. sticky toffee pudding at Caffe Habitu in Festival Walk.

I’m now in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with family, gorging myself on my grandma’s home-cooked korma and rendang and trying not to sweat too much whilst just sitting down! We’re heading to Port Dickson today for a mini break by the beach, then coming back to KL to celebrate my grandma’s birthday. Hopefully I’ll have more snaps to share from Malaysia in a few days!

Shower

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Top – Zara / Jeans – Topshop / Shoes – Clarks / Bracelets – Weekday / Rings – Topshop & Z for Accessorize

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Hey hey hey. It’s been a while! I had to sort some stuff out whilst I was away the last few months. Here’s what’s been up:

1. I sat some exams. Don’t have the results yet, but considering near to no revision was done, I’ve not kept my hopes up.
2. I tried out Tinder. It ended up being used more as another medium for my friends to hijack on nights out, which led to some embarrassing deletes of matches the morning after. But it did mean…
3. I met someone! Which proved you can find nice, normal men on Tinder.
4. And finally… I got my dream job. This was after a pretty intense interview process earlier this year, then a nerve-wracking 6 week wait. I start in September!

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Right now, I’m in Hong Kong, where my parents live, relaxing on a much needed two week break from work. Here’s some snaps I took in a changing room, which looks like a shower! I was so impressed, I took a selfie.

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Zoo life

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It would be impossible for me to pick out my favourite animal at ZSL Zoo Lates, but I did enjoy the monkey enclosure where monkeys swing from bushes to trees all around you. You really didn’t know when one would appear right next to you! I also attempted my best waddle with my new penguin friend, who was the only one who didn’t mind getting close to the crowd.

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Apart from the added bonus of not getting run over by buggys at Zoo Lates, there’s a food market with a silent disco and little shops in the centre of the zoo. There was even field games on the green! We bought churros and watched fully grown adults do the sack race – definitely an idea for my next birthday party!

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New look!

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Hi everyone! I’m really really happy to introduce the new Girl in Brogues blog!

I’ve been wanting to make a few changes to the blog for a while, but felt a little limited over on WordPress.com; so I decided to make the big move over to my own self-hosted domain. Despite a few initial glitches and a bit of stress moving my content over, I’m so proud to introduce this new look blog. Here’s what’s changed:

1. Girlinbrogues.com is now the only way to access my blog and I’m waving goodbye to my WordPress.com account – but don’t worry, I’m migrating all my WordPress followers to this website. If you’re an email subscriber, you do need to subscribe again though!

2. After a few weeks of browsing through various themes from web developers, I finally settled on this theme from Light Morango – it’s far lighter and airier and I like to think a little easier on the eyes! She has a lot of great themes and the installation was so easy – a definite recommend from me.

3. A new header, which is still pretty simple but I feel reflects the personality of this blog a lot better than the last one.

4. And finally, I’ve added the Disqus comment system! Hopefully it’s far less faff for everyone to comment now!

I’d love to hear what you all think of it – please follow the new blog here on Bloglovin!

The lazy girl’s spanakopita

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This week on Great British Bake Off is pastry week. Groan…

Now here’s my confession. I really don’t like making pastry. My impatient nature means I have never made pastry from scratch and to be honest, apart from the odd apple pie, the only proper pastry I’ve made is spanakopita – a Greek spinach and feta pie.

I’ve been making spanakopita for a few years now and although fundamentally tasty, they’ve always been a bit sub-par in my eyes. When Rosie from Cider with Rosie posted her version of spinach and feta pasties, I realised how lazy I’ve been with my technique! I was using shop-bought puff pastry, I wasn’t squeezing enough water out of the spinach and I was taking them far too early out of the oven. So having taken inspiration from Rosie, I’ve upped my game a bit for my last batch.. although I have to admit I am still using shop-bought puff pastry (I will never make pastry from scratch on the weeknight. Never.)


INGREDIENTS

375g ready rolled puff pastry
500g spinach
200g feta
2 eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
3 crushed cloves of garlic
Salt + pepper
Nutmeg
Milk

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TECHNIQUE

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
  2. In a saucepan on low heat, add the crushed garlic cloves to a bit of oil, then slowly add the spinach to the pan, allowing them to wilt. Flavour with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg.
  3. Once wilted, place the spinach into a strainer and allow to cool slightly. Squeeze as much water as you can from the spinach.
  4. Break apart the cooled spinach into smaller pieces into a bowl and crumble the feta in. Mix with the lemon zest and the yolk of 1 egg. If you want, add a little squeeze of lemon juice for an extra tang.
  5. Cut the pastry into 6 equal squares. Divide the spinach between the squares and place in the middle of the pastry squares.
  6. Beat 1 egg and use the beaten egg mix to brush along the edges of each pastry square. Fold the pastry squares into triangles and fold the edges over to form a tight seal. No liquid should be leaking out of the pastry. You can use a fork to add indents to the edges.
  7. Brush a bit of milk over each pastry to help brown the pastries. Use a fork to make two holes in the top of the pastries.
  8. Put the pastries in the oven for 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven) until they have puffed up and brown.
  9. Enjoy with a salad on the side!

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Porcelain kimono

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Kimono – Tesco F&F / Vest – Topshop / Jeans – Topshop / Heels – Clarks / Necklace – Hong Kong boutique

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I have to admit, these photos had been long forgotten about until I did a little scour through my camera’s SD card today and found them! The kimono was a lucky find from Tesco (I do like picking up nice clothes whilst doing my grocery shop!); light, airy and also reminds me of those antique blue porcelain plates.

My project this weekend is to start the process of a little re-design of Girl in Brogues and (eek!) moving it to a self-hosted domain! I love WordPress.com to pieces, but I’d like a bit more freedom with playing around my little piece of the internet. If anyone has any tips, please give me a shout! I need all the help I can get!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Toscakaka Swedish almond cake

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It’s Wednesday today and that can only mean one thing in my house – Great British Bake Off! Much to the disgust of my male housemate, us female housemates are glued to the telly from 8pm like our lives depend on it. He knows that if he so much as tries to change the channel, expletives and possibly violence may be used!

I think it’s wonderful the blogging community has such a devotion to GBBO. Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed bloggers have been taking part in #thegreatbloggerbakeoff, where bloggers bake a recipe that links up with that week’s episode. I’m taking part for the first time this week, which is European cake week.

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It’s very difficult picking a recipe from a whole continent of delicious bakes, but as I have a fondness for Sweden, I narrowed it down to Toscakaka cake (I haven’t been able to stop saying that word since I first found the recipe on the Telegraph website!).

The Toscakaka cake is a sweet-scented soft cake with a caramelised almond topping. There are a few variations on the internet, but the recipe I chose added an orange zest to the sponge. When I made this cake yesterday, I was trying to make a curry at the same time and managed to burn my almond flakes three times whilst trying to toast them! Lesson learnt – do not overstretch yourself in the kitchen if you are trying to only slightly burn something.

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If you are interested in other bloggers taking part in #thegreatbloggerbakeoff, I know that Megan, Jaclyn and Shannon are a few of the many I have found! Leave your link if you are taking part too!

Madeleines

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Well hello!

I almost feel a bit guilty for leaving this blog for so long without even a note about why I’ve been away or whether I was even coming back! Things sort of just snowballed recently. I moved to a different city, had a change in job and have been trying to make new friends in an unfamiliar environment again (oh, the life of a doctor). And to top it all off, my mum was very worryingly admitted to hospital for a month. As she lives overseas and there being no easy way of me being able to see her, I found it difficult to concentrate on much else. Thankfully, she is out of hospital now and recovering at home with lots of rubbish TV and my dad’s awful cooking!

Although all these new changes were exciting, I couldn’t help feeling a little bit less myself and less perky the last few weeks. So I decided to combat it with a new gym membership and new baking equipment. I bought myself a very handy scallop tray from TKMaxx of all places, perfect for those little French cakes called madeleines.

Madeleines are an old favourite of mine; I have so many grainy memories of eating madeleines as a child on shopping trips with my mum. They’re softer than your average cake slice and speaking from personal experience, much easier to scoff a large quantity in a short time!

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I decided to try Michel Roux Jr’s classic madeleine recipe with a lovely hint of lemon. I was surprised how fast it was to make a batch! I’d recommend watching the video with the recipe for handy tips on how to make the perfect madeleine. I’m already thinking of possible variations on the classic! Raspberry madeleines anyone?

PS. Thank you to Charlotte, Pieternel and Mia for the Liebster Award nominations! It looks like I have a lot of questions to catch up on – my next post is for you!

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