Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Shuffling & A Taste of Mexico En Su Casa

I have been pretty immobile with a bad back over the last two weeks, which makes me sound a lot older than my 28 years, so I would like to stress that I'm pushing the 'sports injury' reason apposed to the simple carrying of my four year old nephew on my hip (must remember the art of piggy back rides next time!).  It hurts so much that I haven't left the house in 11 whole days, so it must be the cocktail of drugs I have been taking that has blocked the cabin fever from sprouting its ugly head, although I am starting to get a tad twitchy for fresh air and autumn walks *gazes fondly out of the window*

So, with just myself, the pup and my MacBook Pro for daytime entertainment, I decided to whip up a storm in the kitchen and get some friends around for much needed conversation!  I wanted something quick and easy so I wouldn't be on my feet (aka shuffling) for too long.  So I decided on a new food area for me (to cook anyway, I eat it like a pro!)...Mexican!  You might be shocked to hear that I haven't dabbled in this cuisine before, but I usually head down the Italian or British route when I cook, but I heard Mexican is pretty straight forward and good 'help yourself' entertaining grub, so it ticked all the boxes for a semi-mobile me.      

The Menu

Chicken Fajitas 
Patatas Bravas 
Spicy Rice 
Tomato Salsa 
Grated Cheddar Cheese

Chicken Fajitas for 4


2 red peppers
2 red onions
3 skinless boneless chicken breast
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 small pinch of ground cumin 
2 limes
Olive oil
Black pepper
8 tortillas


1.  Get a griddle pan piping hot
2.  Cut the peppers, onions and chicken in to strips and pop in a bowl together
3.  Add the cumin and paprika
4.  Squeeze over the juice of 1 lime
4.  Drizzle with a lug of olive oil and season with pepper
5.  Mix well and let it rest for 5 - 10 minutes
6.  Pop in the hot griddle for 8-10 minutes until cooked through and place in a serving bowl
7.  Heat the tortillas for a couple of minutes.

Tomato Salsa


1 fresh chilli
20 ripe cherry tomatos
A small bunch of fresh coriander
Black pepper 
1 Lime 
Olive oil


1.  Finely chop the chilli
2.  Chop the tomatoes in to little pieces
3.  Add in the coriander
4.  Add salt and pepper and the juice of 1 lime
5.  Add a good splash of olive oil and stir.

*Grate the cheese as an accompaniment and pop the guacamole in to a serving dish (I was naughty and bought 'store bought' guacamole...and spicy rice for that matter...I was ill!  *excuses)

Patatas Bravas 

Oh I could eat these potatoes all day long!  Here is how quick and simple they are to make.


1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
225g of tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 teaspoons of paprika
A good pinch of chilli powder
Pinch of sugar
Chopped fresh parsley


1.  Chop your potatoes in to little cubes, pop them in a roasting tin with a generous lug of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Cook on a high heat for 50 minutes.  But keep checking them and give them an occasional stir.

2.  Fry the chopped onion in a pan until soft

3.  Add in all the other ingredients and bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until pulpy  

4.  Once the potatoes are crispy, place in a serving bowl and pour the 'sauce' over the top

5.  Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

I hoped this has inspired you to whip up a quick and easy Mexican meal this weekend.  I might just do it again.  

What is your favourite Mexican dish?  

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A Wonderful Winter Wedding

I truly love this time of year, when there is that sharp crisp to the air in the mornings and evenings.  It just makes me want to light a log fire, pop on a cashmere snuggly scarf and have a hot toddy (well, I will wait until the evenings for that of course!).  There is just something innately cosy and therefore romantic about the winter months approaching.  Therefore, I cannot think of a better time to get married!  Gone are the rigid templates of a spring and summer soiree, so now the wedding season spans all year round and I couldn’t think of anything better.

A winter wedding exposures countless alternatives that are overlooked when planning a traditional spring or summer wedding.  You can really put your individual stamp on proceedings.  Think roaring fires and greeting drinks of mulled spiced wine and midnight snacks of ‘hot chocolate shots ‘ and comfort food.  There is definitely something to be said about planning your wedding for these colder months.  

Visualise sparkling fairy lights, fur and ice with contrasting candle light.  
So luxurious.  I just love ice scattered twigs as centre pieces too, very dramatic. 

This fairy light canopy looks so warm and enticing for your guests.

Tapered candle light adds an air of old school grandeur and occasion and also looks warm and inviting to boot. 

Why not embrace the idea of a wonderful winter wedding?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Baking Delight - Cupcakes

Yesterday saw the end of National Cupcake Week so I have rummaged around for some of the best looking cupcakes designs around, and I have been completely spoilt for choice.

There are so many to choose from, simple and sweet, extravagant to elegant and some really great creations for kids.     However, before I get to the fun design part, we all know that the most important factor of a cupcake is the taste.  I have tried numerous recipes, from the cupcake powerhouses of The Hummingbird Bakery and The Primrose Bakery, to recipes given to me by family and friends.  However, I must admit the easiest and quite frankly the tastiest sponge recipe I have found is from Rachel Allen.  It is one of those delightful recipes that means you can, pretty much, throw all the ingredients in to one bowl.  

Here is her chocolate cupcake recipe that I have used time and time again.  

To make 12 cupcakes.


150g Plain Flour

25g Cocoa Powder (I usually use Green & Black's drinking chocolate)

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

125g Caster Sugar

100ml Milk

75g Butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs


1.  Preheat the oven to 180 c (350 f).  Gas mark 4.  Or if you use an Aga like me, pop in the hottest oven.  Line the muffin tin with paper cases.  

2.  Sift the flour, coca powder, baking powder and salt in to a large bowl and stir in the sugar. Beat together the milk, eggs and butter and add to the dry ingredients, pouring in a little at a time and stirring to give a smooth batter.  

3.  Divide the mixture between the paper cases, filling them quite full.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until just firm to touch.  

4.  Remove from the tin and leave to cool before adding the topping. 

For the Frosting

Now the buttercream frosting is a delicate mix which I have tried to perfect (well to my tasting) for a while.  I must admit that the process has been a lot of trail and error, however, my fail safe recipe is by the masters of cupcakes, The Hummingbird Bakery.  Here is the recipe.


250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
25ml whole milk
A couple of drop of extract*

1.  Beat the icing sugar and butter together until smooth.  

2.  Add milk and extract (*vanilla is always great) in to a separate bowl and add a teaspoon at a time to the butter mixture.

3.  Once all the milk mixture has been added continue beating the mixture for another 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  The longer the frosting is beaten the lighter and fluffier it becomes. 

Hope you find this recipe as easy as I do, and you'll be able to whip up a batch of cupcakes in no time.  Happy baking!  

Now, for the design.  Below are some of my most favourite cupcake designs.  I hope they inspire you too.  

I just love the meringue topped cupcake in the cupcake mood board, this is definitely something I will be trying in the coming weeks, especially with a lemon curd filling.  Yum.  Oh and the children's designs are adorable.  Which one is your favourite?

If you are a messy baker like me, unfortunately my cook books are covered in batter mixture and sticky figure prints!  You'll just love this new recipe book stand by Butterfly Lane.  Practical and will look lovely in your kitchen...bonus!  

£24.95 from Butterfly Lane

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Thursday, 20 September 2012

London Travel Guide: Eat at The River Cafe

The River Cafe

An oldy but a goody...

I have wanted to visit this restaurant for a very long time after hearing excellent review, after excellent review, so when I popped along for lunch I was not disappointed in the slightest!  It is relaxed and it is cool, with the glass walled room overlooking the lawns and on to the river, I could have stayed all day long sipping bellini's and eating the simple and uncomplicated food.   It has been described as a canteen for the well-heeled and this is after all the restaurant where Jamie Oliver learnt his craft.

Most gripes with this restaurant is with the prices.  With starters from £15 and a main course costing between £30 - £40, it is on the pricey side.  However, in return you get impeccable Italian food in the surroundings of effortless style.  A trendy warehouse vibe which compliments the relaxed feel of the restaurant.  

The army of chefs in the open kitchen add an extra buzz to the dining experience, with the infamous domed fire oven on display.  

The menu changes daily so here is a link to today's offering.  Yum. 

The River Cafe = Satisfaction pretty much guaranteed.   We love.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

London Fashion Week: Temperley London SS13

London has been showcasing the new trends for spring/summer 2013 this week and here at Butterfly Lane I didn't want to inundate all my lovely readers with fashion blog after fashion blog, but instead I thought I'd write about my favourite show from the collections thus far, Temperley London.  

Temperley London SS13

I have always loved Temperley, her pretty and feminine designs make me swoon every season, and with this collection Alice Temperley's mantra was quite simply 'Return to feminine.  Return to timelessness.  Return to elegance''.  A statement that is embedded in to the ethos of Butterfly Lane too, so we were bound to love it? 

Love it, we did.  The collection had a air of 1950's couture, with the sentiment of jet setting to Capri for the weekend.  The classic silhouettes were modernised with the sheer transparent fabrics.  All-in-all we love!  The colour palette was full of gorgeous neutrals with pops of light china blue and sharp reds and dramatic blacks.  Sophisticated and chic.    

Now what room would one need to compliment such a elegant and timeless ensemble?  Here are some ideas...

What was your favourite collection from London Fashion Week?  

Monday, 17 September 2012

London Travel Guide: Eat at the Hawksmoor

London is by far one of my favourite cities.  Whenever I am there it strikes me how lucky we are to have such an amazing capital, it's something that we probably do take for granted.  I have been meaning to write a Butterfly Lane London Travel Guide for some time now, so with the worldwide buzz surrounding the city at the moment, with Fashion Week kicking off  last Saturday and after hosting the biggest sporting event, like,  ever, what was I waiting for? 

There is just too many amazing things to do in London Town but I don't want to rival a Lonely Planet with options, however for my own sanity, I'm going to split my Travel Guide in to What To Do, Where To Sleep, Where To Shop...and of course Where To Eat.  

Now, I am partial for a good restaurant and London is full to the brim, so this week I will bring you a daily dose of Butterfly Lane's favourite eateries.

Here is the first Butterfly Lane London Where to Eat instalment. Enjoy.  


The boyfriend has a trusty restaurant of choice in London which has certainly rubbed off on me too.    Whether for business meetings or dinner with friends the Hawksmoor is such a great option.  It is quite simply a meat lovers paradise and the Hawkmoor steaks are often called the best in London.  A steakhouse, come cocktail bar (an element of girly pleasure in between all the meat), with a stella selection of top-notch British beef and gorgeous accompaniments.  But it's more than just a steak house, with a mouth-wateringly good selection of fish for starters, the Dorset oysters are incredible and did I mention that the cocktail list is to die for!  The staff are amazingly clued-up and help you choose the perfect cut of meat and give a helping hand with the extensive wine list.  One tip...arrive hungry!    

As for the interior, think a very stylish gentlemen's club, lots of dark wooden panelling , luxurious leather upholstered seating and glazed bricks.  Elegant, old-school and timeless.

What we ordered:  

Chateaubriand to share, with sides of grilled bone marrow (got to try it to love it!), triple cooked chips, heritage tomato salad and cream spinach.  All served with bone marrow gravy.

What we drank:

One for the boys!  Shaky Pete's Ginger Brew:  Gin, homemade ginger syrup and lemon juice, topped with London Pride.

Champagne Charlie:  Gin, lemon, homemade Seasonal Fruit Syrup, charged with Champagne.  

Restaurant locations:  Spitalfields, Seven Dials, Guildhall

Please try this restaurant, you'll love it I'm sure.  

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

New from Jo Malone London: Blackberry & Bay

I am a massive Jo Malone London fan, I have been burning their candles for years, in fact I have found no other candle that a). lasts as long and b). smells as good.  The scents are unbelievably classic, I'm a fan of the original Lime Basil & Mandarin, and my summer fragrance is English Pear & Freesia.  Each smell is just so luxurious and each blends well to the other so they can be easily mixed and matched.  The packaging is classic and simple so I love to display them on my dressing table and bathroom unit, which is unusual for me as I usually like all my beauty  buys tucked away out of sight.

So you could imagine my delight when the boyfriend surprised me with a cream and black Jo Malone London bag the other weekend.   As well as being full with lovely goodies, it had a sample card of the new fragrance that quite frankly is STUNNING.  

Launched this week, the Blackberry & Bay collection is peppery and warm and is definitely one for winter months.  Jo Malone London describes it as ''a burst of deep, tart blackberry juice and sparkling grapefruit, blending with the freshness of just gathered bay.  Softened by delicate flowers resting on a brambly base of vetiver and cedarwood''.  

The entire collection is definitely on my wish list, from the obliquity candle to the body cream and of course the cologne.  This might soon be my signature scent!  Here are Butterfly Lane's 'Must Have's' from the new Blackberry & Bay collection....

The Cologne:  Prices start from £38.00 for 30ml.
The candles are just divine, I cannot rate them higher.  £38.00
The body creams feel and smell so luxurious and make your skin silky soft and smooth, without feeling sticky.  £48.00

View the new Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay collection HERE.  Why not treat yourself?  

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Monday, 10 September 2012

Shimmer & Shine This Autumn

As September progresses I'm all about embracing the new AW trends and giving my wardrobe a new lease of life.  I have been daring and purchased a pair of skinny black leather trousers to wear with a bejewelled blouse/chunky knit combo.  However, I need the temperature to drop at least 10 degrees before I can attempt to wear my new look.  But, I promise you I'm not hurrying this glorious Indian summer away.  

Needless to say I am jumping on the Shimmer & Shine trend this season in the fashion stakes and I also think this trend dilutes brilliantly in to your home too.  I do love it when fashion transcends in to home design. 

It's grown up glamour, think silver and gold accents, sparkle and a touch of, dare I say it...glitter.  But just keep it chic and classic.  Here are my favourite rooms that subtly encapsulates the Shimmer & Shine trend for this autumn. 

This room is all over this trend!  Sparkling glass chandelier - check.  Luxurious velvet sofa - check.  Shimmering feature wall - check.  Grey and black colour scheme, with hints of gold - check.

With clean white walls and matt gold accessories this sitting room is opulent yet understated.  

(Left) A sofa full of cushions and throws really showcases this trend.  A variety of grey shades in different fabrics, shimmering textiles and sequinned details, looks just fabulous!

The Shimmer & Shine trend can carry you through the seasons, it is not just a passing phase.  With a classic colour palette and luxurious detailing, what's not to like? 

Why not jump on board and add some stunning accessories in to your home to jump-start this trend.  Here at Butterfly Lane we have the perfect investment pieces...

Shop HERE 

'Shimmer & Shine' to cheer up these colder months.  Glamour is here to stay!  

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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Lifestyle Interview: Emma Forbes

Lifestyle expert and TV presenter Emma Forbes is one of the nations most loved personalities, and now she is making waves with her lifestyle magazine and website, which is fast becoming an influential online destination, covering everything from parenting, food, interiors, travel, health and well-being, basically everything to make stylish living easy.  Which sounds good to us!  Emma has also released her book Life & Soul, which gives the rundown on creating perfect themed parties.   

Emma could quite possibly be the ultimate Yummy Mummy and here she talks to Butterfly Lane about interior design, how she unwinds after a stressful day and how it's important to embrace change.  

How would you describe your homes style?

My homes style is no clutter, but things I love around me!  I think 'less is more' - a splash of colour in a white room, a beautiful object on a shelf.  I love a cosy and warm feel, but love white as a base colour.

How did you make the transition from TV to writing a book and having a lifestyle website?

Transition from TV to what I do now seemed to be the right move as I had my two kids and enjoyed spending more time at home than away working, and then I could be a working mum but fit everything in around their schedules!  It's what I've always loved - everything to do with lifestyle, so it seemed like quite a natural transition.  

How do you unwind after a stressful day at the office?

I unwind by being at home, good rubbish telly, and a home cooked meal - ideally while wearing PJ's with my husband and kids.

Do you favour country living or city chic?

I always think I love country living but in fact I think I'm more urban than that, as I love the noise of a city, and having things like a Starbucks nearby!  So probably I'm more city chic?  Perhaps a bit of both?

If you were to buy anything from Butterfly Lane what would you buy? 

I would buy lots of gorgeous cake stands, I love them.  You can never have enough and they look great in quantity!

Cake Stands available from Butterfly Lane 
Bird Dome Cake Stand available from Butterfly Lane
What is your top lifestyle tip?

My top lifestyle tip is to keep things changing.  I think people get very afraid of 'change' and I love the idea that rooms evolve with you, the time you are in your life, seasons etc, so be bold and brave - do spring clearouts, make a room cosy at Christmas and always make your home your castle!

Visit for more lifestyle tips. 

Her book Life and Soul is available to buy now.

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