Thursday, 31 January 2013

Ten Minutes with...

Tamasin Day Lewis

What would your last supper be?

Depends on the season. Grouse in October. Sea trout in May/June with Jersey new potatoes, lots of French butter and fresh peas.
Vincisgrassi invented by Franco Taruschio in mid-winter or Chicken Savoyarde. Home made caramel ice cream and Les Gariguettes strawberries in June/July. Asparagus in May. Tarte au citron. Very simple, good ingredients. Vacherin Mont d'Or in November to March.
Cristal, Perrier-Jouett or Ruinart to start. GREAT wines. The best chocolate -  L'artisan du Chocolat's salted caramels.

And who would be Joining you?
My 3 children, my best friend Janie and The mystery man, he knows who he is.

Current fascinations?
Studying Mind Over Matter, a practical and brilliant book that everyone should read. Even if they don't seek or need cognitive behavioral therapy.  I'm also learning Italian.

Favourite Restaurant?
Castello in Verduno, in Verduno, in Piemonte.

Failsafe supper recipe?
Everything in Tamasin's Kitchen Bible, which was it's intention. It was for my children and cooks and learners of all ages and skills...

Can't live without?
Olive oil, lemons and eggs.

Perfect holiday?
My cottage in Mayo.

Favourite London hangout?
Manicomio, Melanzana, Bentley's, Malabar and Quo Vadis.

What annoys you?
Pretentious cooking.  Bad cooking. Bad ingredients. Over-written menus.  Chefs who think they're artists.  Bad writing and wrong usage of words.  Rude people, arrogant people, bossy people and showy offy people.  I could go on and on and on...

What impresses you?
Excellence in anything and everything.   The devotion to art or craft.  Kindness and generosity of spirit. People willing to take time to help people practically.

What would you do with a day to yourself; no work, no children?
Ski.  Walk the wild empty beaches in Mayo.  Listen to my son singing. Read.  Hang out with someone special anywhere. Go to the movies. 

who do you admire?
Unsung heroes and heroines; Marie Colvin and Christine Asnagard.  People who come through adversity/depression/tragedy positively.  The old who love life.  My children and my father.

Secret culinary tip?
ALL of Tamasin's Kitchen Bible.  But best of all, don't try to impress, faites-simple so you can enjoy the guests as much as the food.

Is there a reason you've chosen to publish your new book Smart Tart through Unbound rather than with your usual publisher?

As an alumnus of King's College Cambridge and at Bedales school before that, I have always been independent minded and spirited and loved the maverick way of doing things. John Mitchinson who started Unbound was my old boss at my first publisher. I only want to work with people I have fun with and who want to meet over a good lunch. And who have spades of enthusiasm, knowledge, quirkiness, wit. Enough said. There is no money in it but PLEASE pledge at any level!

If you would like to pledge, go to

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Dietlind Wolf

I'm researching for a new book I'm writing at the moment and came across a new designer/stylist/photographer this weekend.  She's called Dietlind Wolf and is from Hamburg, Germany.   I absolutely adore her work and wanted to share some of my favourites.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Baba Blog Interview

I was very flattered to be interviewed by the Baba Blog for their 'Mumpreneur' column today.

This week, we interviewed the wonderful blogger Willow Crossley. Willow blogs about people, places, food, recipes, fashion and interiors that that inspire her. She lives in the country with her husband and two gorgeous cubs. 
You live with your family in the country, could you imagine living anywhere else?
We’ve only been here for a year, so yes, I guess so. We were in the South of France for four years before here, which was wonderful, but with babies it got a bit lonely. Chaz and I are always dreaming to relocating to the sun though.
Where is the best market in the world?
Jaz de Roberts outside Grimaud in the South of France on a Sunday morning.  A dusty brocante selling everything and anything. There are three stalls I make a beeline for every time selling vintage fabrics, lace, ribbons and grain sacks. In the Uk, Kempton is great.
What’s your favourite family recipe?
Tamasin Day Lewis’s Chicken Savoyard. I dream about it. With baked potatoes and a green salad. 
Tell us about your beauty regime.
I’ve recently become addicted to a Clarisonic Mia. It’s properly magic. I cleanse morning and night with that and Dermalogica Ultra Calming cleanser, Tone with Dermalogica and then a Skinceuticals B5 serum and eitherJurlique or Origins moisturiser.
What’s your typical ‘look’ and has it changed since having a baby?
Quite floaty. I’m not good at anything tight. Every day, either jeans or a mini skirt with tartan converse and a Chinti and Parker cashmere jumper. Since having the boys I don’t have as much time as I used to to shop or think so much about what I put on. I love the idea of really making an effort but usually by the time I’ve got them in bed, there’s five minutes until we have to leave the house and I have a full on panic/meltdown about having nothing to wear and end up wearing the same thing as I’ve worn the last ten times I’ve been out. 
What would a perfect day consist of for you?
A lie in. And having slept all the way through, a cup of tea in bed with Chaz and the cubs - we'd be allowed to watch Saturday Kitchen rather than Mike the Knight. Then, maybe an outing to Worton Organic Café for hot chocolates with all the papers with the cubs being angelic and well behaved the whole time. Then we’d go home for a huge lunch where my bothers /sister in law and friends would be too. There would have to be some sort of retail excursion somewhere later where I’d find a gorgeous bit of bargain furniture, and a pop-up Isabel Marant sample sale. Then we’d go home again with a lot of cakes and make pizza with the cubs for their supper. Then that night we’d have a big dinner, probably chicken savoyard. Finally, a magic fairy would come and wash up.
What’s the one baby product you cannot live without?
Sudocream, and Calpol.
Tell us about your favourite charity.
Marie Curie Cancer Care.  It’s a wonderful charity that provides specialist homes - hospices for the care of cancer patients and also nursing for patients at home. It means patients can be surrounded by their families and at home rather than in a hospital in their last few weeks of life. 
What’s your favourite rainy day craft activity for kids?
The Dinosaur Museum in Woodstock has become our second home. If it’s a Monday when it’s shut, Cotswold Wildlife Park is a brilliant alternative.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Over-sensitive, creative, driven, loyal, totally impractical and caring.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Beach Escape

This morning's school run was a little more eventful than normal. In order to get home, I had to spend an hour pushing a skidding, snow clad car out of the way .  My feet are frozen through and my Christmas Isabel Marant boots are looking very sorry for themselves too.  I do love a bit of snow.  Give me a weather drama any day -  but I'm over this now. What I'd give to be lounging around in this heavenly Brazilian beach house right now...

These images of  designer Sig Bergamin’s house are from Elle Decor

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Pancake Day

There's something so comforting about pancakes.  Not the big flat ones -  the nice little chunky ones.  American style.  My Granny used to make them for us every time we went to see her for tea and we loved it. I was given Alice Hart's cookbook for Christmas and it happened to fall open on the pancake page yesterday.  The bigger Cub's latest love is to cook. So we decided to try out her recipe together.  The addition of a few too many whole eggs thrown into the mix meant things took slightly longer than it should have done - but we got there in the end and they were a sensation.  They are amazingly quick to make so perfect for impatient small boys.  And me.  Perfect for freezing January afternoons.

100 g self raising flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
an egg
125ml of milk

Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
Make a well in the middle of the mixture, crack in the egg and slowly pour in the milk. Mix with a fork until it's smooth and the consistency of double cream.  Heat a heavy bottomed pan and melt a little bit of butter.  Then with a ladle or big spoon pour a dollop of the mix to make roundish pancakes.  When they start to bubble flip them over.  The cooked surface should be golden. Cook for another minute and then serve with butter, joy and jam.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

43 days and counting

The laptop saga did not end well.  They wanted thousands to fix it and said it would be cheaper to start again and buy a new one.  Post Christmas extravagance, this has not gone down well.  My kitchen consequently looks like NASA headquarters.  Since meltdown, I have been lent four laptops and an ipad.  I flit -  rather technically I feel -  from one to another depending on what Im doing.  One for Topshop, another for Net-a-porter type thing... I imagine quite like a trader might do.

So, I'm starting again.  As far as Im concerned, yesterday was January 1st.  I'm giving myself a clean slate and forgetting everything that's happened so far this year.  Onwards and upwards.  Although the next thing on my horizon is my thirtieth birthday.  I wont lie, I am slightly freaking out about it.  I've been planning an extravaganza for the last five years and now it's here - in precisely 43 days - I actually don't want it to happen.  I like being in my 20s.  Thirty feels a bit too grown up.  People who are 30 should know how everything works.  Be properly responsible. And wear suits.  
I might spend the next six weeks doing twenty-year-old-things.  Not quite sure what this might entail but then when the big 3-0 actually happens I'll be well and truly exhausted and ready to wave goodbye to my youth.  

Friday, 4 January 2013

Happy New Year...

According to the horoscope I read last weekend, 2013 is meant to be 'my year'.  Not quite sure exactly what it meant by that;  But I was fairly sure it was a good thing.  I was envisaging everyone being happy and healthy, my book becoming a best seller and I'd win the lottery a few times.  Nothing major. So far, not so good.  In fact, this year couldn't really be going any worse if it tried.  I know Christmas technically, was last year but I'm still including it.  This was spent mopping up snot/sick and administering Calpol to the bigger Cub.  We had then had to cancel our New Year plans with friends to look after the smaller Cub who was also at death's door.  New Year's day passed by in a tearful, snotty blur and I told myself it could only get better. 

How wrong could I be?  January 2nd saw me throwing a cup of tea over my laptop.  Not just a tiny spillage; we're talking full on flood.  Just as I was sitting down to write the proposal for my new book.  After hysterically grilling about twenty Apple technicians the only proposed solution was to leave it off and leave it by the AGA overnight to dry out.  As hard as it was, I did as I was told and left it alone.  I came downstairs on the third to find, guess what, an icy cold, broken AGA. And a wet cold laptop.
As I write a nice man called Gary is trying to fix my computer and a second plumber is working his magic.  (The first couldn't help and gave up leaving us oven-less and with a bill of £300.) I'm ignoring the passing mention of a £900 computer repair bill and instead hoping that my luck is going to change.  And if things do magically mend themselves, I'm going to buy myself some Isabel Marant trainers.  Which will technically be free.  I'm mentally down £900 already so actually, even with the shoes, I'll be £500 richer...
Things are definitely looking up.