Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Simply Groundbreaking!

It's Wednesday - naturally the day to go out for an extravagant, three hour brunch in the sun with my extremely entertaining and well dressed friend David. As Hitchinites (residents of Hitchin) we felt obliged to go and check out the new place on the block - namely artisan coffee shop The Groundworks.

What I wore:
The classic Breton stripe has been reworked this Spring so nautical colours take pride of place in my outfit, as posted on instagram.
Dress - American Apparel
Metallic Sweater - Topshop
Bag - Morocco
Watch - Longines Watches

To be honest, I think the opening of a place such as The Groundworks was well overdue - Hitchin has simply been crying for a Shoreditch style coffee house to be welcomed into the fold of local businesses. The Groundworks more than fills this space.

Featuring a menu in constant evolution alongside daily specials, the homemade and locally sourced food is an innovative blend of cuisines. The menu segues from the hipster streets of East London as exemplified through the ubiquitous avocado smash on sourdough, right through to the Lebanese style dishes- minted yoghurt and harissa finish off many a salad. Anything and everything goes here: french flaky pastries accompany loaf cakes on the counter, whilst pulled pork and salted beef in buns could accompany eggs and blueberry breakfast pancakes (served until an attainable 11.30am). Oh, and not to forget the irresistibly perfect pistachio and rose macaroons that appeared on Mother's Day!

Decked out with reclaimed wooden furnishings, sprigs of flowers and ergonomic chairs, the airy atmosphere oscillates between that of a Manhattan eatery and a cosy wood cabin! A perfect balance is struck through the warm smiles and welcome from the café's two owners: Tom and Ben. Their respective London based backgrounds in Graphic design is evident through the shop's signage and amusing,easy-read blog, - always nice to get to know the faces behind the name. However, one thing strikes David and I as odd; the coffee menu is written on brown paper...a hipster design feature that we are just not quite up to speed with? 'Don't worry,' Tom assures us laughingly, 'the actual sign is getting written up next week, along with the loyalty cards!' Even better - we can justify spending in here if a free coffee is going to get thrown in at some point!

Coffee wise - I'm in my element. 
Serving the Redchurch blend from AllPress Espresso, my flat white is equally strong enough to wipe away the morning's residue and smooth enough to hit that caramel sweetness.
perfect flat white
What David chose:
Chorizo, roasted red pepper and cannellini bean soup served with sourdough
The Famous Pulled Pork Sandwich -chipotle smoked barbecue sauce and maple-slaw in a brioche bun

Man vs Food?

- safe to say he was very happy!
My lunch: roasted chunky beetroot, goat's cheese and rocket salad tossed in minted yoghurt and lemon with griddled halloumi pieces and flaked almonds on top. I was feeling very Euro, eating it in the sun!

A good brunch is never over without something sweet: banana, maple and pecan loaf and a blueberry crumble slice finished off our meal absolute feast which rendered me unable to move for a fair few minutes!

The remnants...

Check out The Groundworks on instagram (just a warning - you will be tempted) Or even better, get yourself down there!

Claire x

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Heading North.

First year student at Leeds University, first time living on my own, first boyfriend...I can only summarise the past few months as a time of firsts.’ Whilst I’ve been trying to successfully navigate and adapt to the whirlwind of changes in my life, other things have faded into the background slightly. However, being situated in Leeds is the perfect occasion to re-invest some time into my blog; this city is full of creative people doing creative things – I want to be one of them! What I love about Leeds is the city’s personality, the energy that flies around the city – possibly a result of 30,000 students mixed with the up and coming foodie scene, serious investments in street style (I have never seen so many well dressed beautiful people in one place as on the University of Leeds campus) and just the general Northern vibe. Most importantly, Leeds is a place of encouragement; the creative energy is comparable to London except for the willingness to accept new faces. People are open minded and keen to open up the scene to this blog is getting back on the road, with the help of perma-collab photographer Chloe Beddoes (also a fellow English student.) Feel free to get in touch with her regarding promotional shoots or if you just want to go out and take some photos!

This shoot is one of my favourites to date; taken in Retro Boutique – a gorgeous little Aladdin’s Cave full of antique furniture, vintage clothes and knick-knacks you would find on your Great-Grandma’s dressing table. In keeping with the setting, I went for trusty Levis and an 80’s blouse. Old Levis are the best; they hold no regard for showing off your legs, being simply comfortable and high waisted in a slightly tatted shade of faded denim. I call them my Dad/painter jeans. I picked up this pair in Blitz vintage on Brick Lane for a fraction of the price of those in American much friendlier to a student budget! Sadly however, I am still learning how to be my own laundrette and shortly after this shoot I overdid my Levis in the tumble dryer...they are now fit to be worn only by a five year old.

Shirt and Belt – Jolly Brown Vintage, Hitchin
Levis – Blitz Vintage
Shoes – Russell and Bromley
Headband – c/o Beau xoxo

When it comes to shoes, I am a quality not quantity kind of girl. I splashed out last year on these loafers from Russell and Bromley, investing an amount similar to a week’s rent in my university accommodation (I did blanche slightly upon entering my PIN). R&B’s buttersoft leather and brushed suede are jazzed up with crocodile skin appliquéd sections in a classic and wearable combination. As I’m constantly running between my halls, campus and town (no matter what I do I’m always five minutes late) flat shoes are essential, so these end up on my feet with pretty much every outfit.

The headbands are from Beau Xoxo– a delightful accessories brand selling handmade headbands and beautifully crafted hair clips. Pair one of these headbands with a ticket to Secret Garden Party or Parklife, and that’s your festival look sorted (provided that there is a sun, of course.)

Claire x