Thursday, 31 October 2013

Chinti and Parker Collaboration

I was incredibly flattered - and ridiculously excited - when my all time favourite cashmere label Chinti and Parker asked if I would like to collaborate with them. Here is some of what they've just posted on their blog.
photo 1Willow Crossley, author and blogger, wears Chinti’s One Pocket Sweater
Bloggers don’t come much better packaged or qualified than Willow Crossley of Willow Rose Boutique. The very definition of English Rose with an enviable fashion figure, she’s also a twice published author and influential style blogger. Oh, and did we mention she has a penchant for Chinti? We caught up with her for a little insight into what makes her tick on the style front.
willowWillow glams up in Chinti’s Mirror Fleck Skirt and Printed Pocket T
Tell us a bit about your blog, Willow Rose Boutique, and what inspires it?
I started my blog when we moved to the South of France and I needed some kind of a creative outlet.  I’d left my job in London and wanted to write.  So I started blogging about my daily life, my finds – things I love and it all started from there. I’m inspired by everything – interiors, fashion, my two small boys, food, people, nature.
How would you define your personal style?
A bit of a mix. One day I’ll do floaty, pretty, girly and the next I’ll be in boyfriend jeans, a baggy jumper and high-tops. In a dream world I would only wear bohemian floaty, 70′s-inspired paisley numbers, but it’s too cold for that here.  And wearing long styles around the boys just doesn’t work! My everyday get up at the moment is a mini woollen kilt, Chinti cashmere jumper and Isabel Marant flat boots. Comfort and warmth is very high on my agenda.
Unknown-8Chinti’s Elbow Patch Sweater gets the eclectic treatment
Do you have any golden rules when it comes to dressing well? 
I try and only wear things that make feel comfortable – If I feel self-conscious and uncomfortable I can never really concentrate on anything else.
You mentioned you have a second book coming out. Could you tell us a bit about this? 
It’s called ‘Inspire’ and is coming out in March, published with CICO books. It’s an interiors and lifestyle book that (hopefully) inspires you to bring nature into your home as a way of decorating.
willow3Every day chic in our Breton T
Who is your ultimate style icon?
I think Clemence Poesy always look great.  Nicole Ritchie in her boho days. The Isabel Marant catwalk models.  Vogue’s Lucinda Chambers.  Jenna Lyons creative director of J Crew.  Is that too many?!
Lastly, which are you favourite pieces from Chinti and Parker’s AW13 collection?
I adore the slouchy boatneck jumpers – especially the navy and cream with the pink pocket.  The Aran jumpers are ridiculously luxurious and I also love the neon patched pieces.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Prettiest of Pumpkins

The Cubs love Halloween.  In fact they actually only really love the pumpkin part of it - they're still too small to really understand anything else about it.  The bigger Cub insists on filling the kitchen window sills with an assortment of the orange balls from the end of September until he then swaps them for sparkly Christmas paraphernalia come December.   This mass of orange in the middle of my kitchen distresses me more than it should.  The selfish joy I feel when they start going mouldy and have to be relegated outside- I keep to myself.
I have suggested that we swap the glaring orange for a chicer pale green variety for the last two years but he's having none of it.
If I lived in a more girl friendly environment this is what we would be having dotted down our table.  

Courtesy of Erin Boyle at Gardenista.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sarah's Wardrobe

I always thought the size of my wardrobe was quite impressive.  Until I met my soon-to-be sister in law, Sarah, whose collection of shoes, clothes, hats and bags is so sensational it requires three different locations to house it all.  She does run a vintage clothing business - 'Sarah's Wardrobe'- so technically most of it is of course, 'work'.  
She's just been featured on the very  brilliant website 'Never Underdressed' which shows her slinking around looking visionary in pieces she's collected on her travels around the globe.  If you haven't already found her blog and/or website, have a look for some wardrobe inspiration.  

Some shots from and her website.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Loonie Mary

Mary Katranzou's latest collection is - as always - a sensation.  It's particularly exquisite this time and making me wish I had a money tree growing at the end of the garden more than ever.  Although I do feel if I strutted downstairs, ready for a night out on the town in some of these, Chaz would laugh in my face and and check me into the nearest loonie bin.  

If you do have access to a money tree, you can pre-order the collection for two more days on Moda Operandi.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Lorraine's Carrot and Apple Cake

I feel cake is an essential all year round but now it's getting chilly and dark again it's back to being one of my five a day again.  I came across some recipes from Lorraine Pasacle's new book, 'Guilt-free cakes and bakes' in a supplement last weekend and have been thinking about them ever since.  I do get a bit stuck in my ways when it comes to cooking - I've been making the same 'rich moist chocolate' number for the last fifteen years - convinced there can be no better.  So baking outside the box this weekend was quite a step.  I went for Lorraine's carrot and apple cake- first name terms; she's from my local town so feel we could actually be friends - and it was seriously delicious.  I followed her recipe to the letter, she says even a slight bit of wandering off piste could end in disaster and it was worth it.  Not only was it better than I hoped for, it's also a diet cake which obviously means you can eat twice as much. 

Here is the extract taken from her new book telling you how to make it;

Carrot cakes are often more healthy than regular cakes due to things like the addition of, er, carrots! They also often include other fruit and use oil rather than butter, which cuts the saturated fats, etc. So the task with this recipe was just to gently reduce the sugar and try and reduce the oil, while still ensuring that the cake is as tasty and as yummy as ever.

  • spray oil
  • 150g (5oz) wholemeal flour
  • 150g (5oz) self-raising flour
  • 150g (5oz) carrots, peeled and roughly grated
  • 125g (41⁄2 oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 175ml (6fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and roughly grated
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 medium egg white
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 18 pecan nuts


  • 300g (11oz) low-fat cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp crème fraîche
  • seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

● Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C), 350F, gas mark 4 and set the shelf in the middle. Grease two 20cm (8in) sandwich cake tins with a light spray of oil, line the bottoms with discs of baking parchment and set them on a baking sheet.
● Put all the cake ingredients (except the pecan nuts) into a large bowl and mix everything together until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the sponges feels springy to the touch and they are shrinking a little from the edges of the tins. Once the cakes 

are baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins.
● Next, to make the frosting put the cream cheese, icing sugar, crème fraîche and vanilla seeds or extract into a medium bowl and mix together until smooth and well combined. Then cover and pop into the fridge to firm up a little while waiting for the cakes to cool.
● Once the cakes have cooled, carefully remove them from their tins. Sandwich the cakes together with half the frosting, then put the rest of the frosting on top. Arrange the pecans around the outer edge of the top frosting and serve. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Knitwear Edit

I love the fact that it's now October.  Despite September heralding the end of holidays and start of school, to me it's definitely still a summer month.  I got excited when it got cold for the first time a few weeks ago and excitedly put on my thickest tights, wooly kilt and my two most missed favorite cashmere layers.  Hours later the sun had decided to reappear and I was left in the middle of Oxford, sweltering in my winter get up. Now it's October I feel I can count on real, proper, crisp, cold days.  Time to bring out the thickest, polar arctic ready wardrobe.
Every day my emails are full of visionary new winter layers with my name all over them. The problem is that everything seems to cost a million pounds.  When did everything get so ridiculously expensive?
 I've done a bit editing to bring you my top favourites.

Madeleine Thompson 
cashmere split side jumper.

Me & Em 
chunky cashmere scarf.

Chinti and Parker 
Pink pocket vision.

Cashmere poncho from London-Boutiques.

Zara handmade cape.

Madeleine Thompson 
Colour block cashmere.

Chinti and Parker
Neon elbow, navy cashmere cardigan.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Christmas come early...

 Christmas has come early - the wondrous Outnet has just put up a whole new batch of Chloe visions with 70-75% off... 

 Floral embriodered lace top 
was £1040 now £260

Applique cotton blend lace skirt 
was £1265 now £380

Asymetric silk twill midi dress, 
was £1760 and now £528

Wool crepe coat, was £1310 
and now a bargain £327

Asymetric silk twill midi dress in Tomato, 
was £1760 and now £528