Posh Beans on Toast Recipe

March 1, 2015

posh beans on toast recipeI’ve been living in England for 5 1/2 years now and there have been more cultural differences than I think I was originally prepared for. One thing that I prepared myself for before moving here was bad food, and I was relieved to find that the food in London is diverse, plentiful and yummy. There are food combinations that have taken some getting used to like scotch eggs, black pudding, and what I’m featuring today, baked beans on toast.

Beans. On. Toast. What was even more odd is that beans on toast is a breakfast food! My British readers are probably saying, “yeah? And?” It’s just odd because in the States you’d have baked beans at a barbecue, not for breakfast.

Anyway, lately (after 5 years of avoiding) I’ve been coming around to the traditional English breakfast and have recently become a fan of beans on toast. Now being me, I don’t eat any old beans out of any old can– I like mine the posh way! So today I give you my recipe for Posh Beans on Toast (slightly adapted from here).

Ingredients

(3-4 servings)
1 can cannelloni or butter beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock
1 red onion chopped in thin slices
1 pack of lardons or 1/2 pack of bacon, chopped
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp thyme
sourdough bread slices
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Directions

Put around a teaspoon of oil in a pot and fry your bacon and onions until they go soft– around 5 minutes. Then add your chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, brown sugar, thyme and salt/pepper. Bring to a low boil and let simmer for around 5 minutes, then add your beans. Once your pot comes back to a low boil, let this simmer anywhere from 10-15 minutes to cook off excess water and thicken your beans.

Once your beans are ready, heat up a frying pan. Instead of putting oil in the pan, lightly drizzle/brush olive oil on both sides of your toast and then lay in your hot pan, flipping and toasting on each side.

This goes very well with a fried egg, and I loved the recipe so much that I just made a giant batch that I’ll be carrying to work to have for breakfast this week! Very yum.

What to put over my desk…

February 11, 2015

Originally I was planning on putting pegboard above the workspace in my office, but after being honest with myself, I’m not sure I’d actually use it to stay organised the way I do in my decorating fantasies. Sometimes it’s hard to be honest about these things when you fall in love with an idea, but I’m pretty sure that would be a waste of money for me.

Our office is narrow with a small window, so not much light gets in the room. It occurred to me that maybe it would be a good idea to hang a large mirror above the desk to help bounce some light around. Finding a good mirror is trickier than it seems, and it’s hard to know if I should go for an ornate or a simple frame. I’ve found this one, which is simple and fairly affordable, so I’m thinking of going for it. I’m just wondering if this is a boring idea? I feel like our office needs more oomph. I know I’m not showing a picture of the office, so that’s not much help. This is one of the last few things we need to get for the house, and I’m ready to be done with it already!

What do you think of these example rooms? I couldn’t find many examples of mirrors hung above desks, but I quite like these. Decisions, decisions.

Via 1 and 2

DIY Valentine’s Heart Piñata

February 9, 2015

how to make a heart pinataI’ve been wracking my brain trying to decide what I wanted to feature for Valentine’s Day and, having wanted to make a glamorous piñata for some time, I’ve decided to share a DIY for a heart piñata as inspiration for you to give your sweetie. The thing I love about this idea is that it works as a fun way to give treats to a group of people as well. If you want to bring treats to work or if you’re hanging out with friends for Valentine’s, you could have a blast bashing one of these open!

This DIY is very forgiving. No need to worry too much about measuring if you don’t want to, which is exactly my style.

You’ll need:
a flattened box
a gluestick
something to write with
scissors
a pack of tissue paper
masking tape
string
a bowl (or a heart template or your eyes)

I used a bowl to start off my heart outline. In a fairly freehand way, I overlapped two circles and connected it at the bottom to complete the heart shape. You can do this however you like! Once you cut your first heart, you can use it as a template to cut out a second heart so they match. You’ll need to cut a flap in one of your boxes which will allow you to fill your piñata with treats after it’s built.

Next, cut a long strip that will go around the edge of your box. My strip is about three fingers wide. Don’t worry about making it the perfect length– cut a long strip and you can cut off the excess later. If it’s too short, you can add another strip and tape over the seam.

My strip had a few folds in it, so I placed one of those in the dip of my heart as a starting point. To start, sit one side of your heart on the table and tape the strip around the edges in what will be the inside of the box. Sit the other heart on top and then tape everything in place to form your heart box. Don’t forget to tape your string on for hanging at this point, as well!

IMG_2502

Now to the glamorous part… Cut your tissue paper into long strips about two fingers wide. Cut slits along the length of the tissue paper strips and then glue them onto your heart, starting from the bottom (the point) and work your way up (to the humps). Finally, add tissue strips to the sides.

Et voilà!

diy heart pinata

Take your leftover tissue paper and cut it into confetti to add to your candy filling– it adds a little drama to when you bust your piñata open! To elevate your piñata even more, I suggest filling it with nicer chocolates like Ferrero Roche, which I’m obsessed with.

This took me a couple of hours to make, so I reckon this is a great project to do while watching a good movie and drinking a glass of wine.

Happy crafting!

What’s Your Shade? #lipstickchallenge

January 28, 2015

lipstick-shades

Five months ago, I made the decision to start wearing lipstick every day. Prior to that, I only wore lipstick when my band had shows or a photo shoot, so that was a pretty dramatic switch for me. Naturally, I’ve missed a few days here and there, but for the most part, lipstick has become a staple for me and when I don’t wear it, I get asked where it went. Even thought it makes me slightly less kissable, my husband has gotten really into the look and sometimes makes colour requests (he likes the red).

I’ve found that lipstick can tie a look together and, when combined with good hair, can make even sweatpants look good! I started out just wearing red, but as the months have rolled on, I’ve opened up my colour palette. These are my new lipstick staples…

flat out fabulous mac

Flat Out Fabulous by MAC
I bought a cheap hot pink lipstick a long time ago that I loved the shade, but it didn’t have any staying power– it didn’t go on evenly and didn’t last very long. I’ve discovered that matte lipsticks give a bolder colour, so I went to MAC to find a matte pink in a similar shade. I grabbed several colours that looked like what I wanted and the make-up artist in MAC suggested one that I thought looked a little too purple. After trying them all on, the one’s I chose looked NUTS and the purplish hue turned out to be what you see here. It’s amazing how much a colour changes once you put it on!

I’m so glad I found a pink for my skin tone. It’s such a fun colour to wear and makes me feel playful! I’d say that finding a good shade of pink can be as tricky as finding your red, so make sure to stick with it and test plenty out.

taupe mac

Taupe by MAC
The day I went to the MAC store looking for pink, I ended up getting a nude shade as well. The story is similar to the pink, where I was surprised about how differently the colour looked when I actually put it on. It’s very close to my skin tone, but it has a slightly pink hue, which keeps me from looking washed out. Occasionally, you might not feel like going bold on your lipstick, and a good nude can be your best friend. I find that it makes you look really fresh-faced and natural.

rebel and cyber mac

Cyber and Rebel by MAC
This is a combination of cyber around the edges, blended with rebel in the centre. I wore Rebel occasionally, but I always wished it was a bit darker. Without the addition of the Cyber, it goes on as an underwhelming shade of pink– the Cyber ups the fierceness, which is always a good thing.

I tried wearing Cyber on it’s own, and I found it way too dark. For me, the blend is a match made in heaven when I want an almost-black shade of lipstick, without going too dark.

russian red mac

Russian Red by MAC
Last, but never least is Russian Red– I wear this colour the most (though my new pink may change that). It’s classic, it goes with most outfits, and it makes my lips look plush. If the pink makes me feel fun and playful, then the red makes me feel sexy and fierce.

Between all of my shades, I can play up whatever attitude I want to give off on any day, and that’s what make-up is all about to me– expressing yourself!

Would you ever do your own #lipstickchallenge? What are your go-to colours and brands?!

ArtCream Needs YOU!

January 26, 2015

Are you a DIY genius?
A culinary whizkid?
An interiors aficionado?
Then, for heaven’s sake, ArtCream needs you!

I’ve worked to build this as a space with my own flavour and (hopefully) inspirational content. Now that I have a grasp of what that looks/feels like, I’d like to work with other contributors to help this become an amazing reading destination with more tips, news & stories than ever.

There are TWO WAYS that you can get involved:

Submit Your Home for a House Tour

Have you been working hard to decorate your house and now you’re itching to share it? Everyone loves a house tour!

To submit your home to be featured, please send an email to ferren@artcre.am along with a few sample shots (they don’t need to be professional).

If selected and you are unable to do your own photography and live in the greater London area, I can possibly come photograph your space. If you live elsewhere, please be prepared to shoot your self or arrange your own photography. Photos must be shot to a good standard.

Have a look through the other interiors features on the site to judge if you think your home would make a good fit for the site– if so, then email away!

Become a Contributor

I’m looking for writers that can commit to writing at least one feature per week. The topic of the feature is up to you, but must be in-keeping with the ArtCream style (no personal diaries, sorry!).

An ideal contributor will have a solid feature idea and be able to shoot or organise their own photography to a good standard. You can live anywhere in the world!

To apply, please email ferren@artcre.am with your idea, a sample of your writing/photography, and a link to your blog, if you have one.

As ArtCream has a distinct point-of-view, it won’t be possible to accept all submissions and contributors, but I encourage you to apply and look forward to growing the site with you. It will be exciting to see what the next wave of ArtCream shapes up to be!

Image 1 via