1. Sunday thoughts…

    As I sit on my sofa at home, legs curled up underneath me, coffee in hand - I suddenly have an urge to be on the beach with JMG.

    These photos were taken mid-May on Heacham beach, Norfolk, just before we flew to France to check out potential Marry Me in France wedding venues, and eventually settled on something closer to home instead. Taking time out from the craziness of our everyday lives and spending some quality time together is something that we, and every couple, can benefit from hugely. Having a break away without evenings spent with laptops on knees in front of the TV and a bit of sea air in your lungs is brilliant!

    Heacham beach looks out over The Wash, which is a square-mouthed bay and estuary on the east cost of England. We were staying with JMG’s mum and Grandma at their little holiday home by the sea. Every night the Norfolk sky treats you to a beautiful sunset and we always try and head to the beach to enjoy it at its best.

    I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to be like so I packed an old pair of DIY Levi’s cutoffs, my cotswold blue Dawson D Rose Lonsdale top - which has comes in a cute Toile de Jouy print, and my Danielle Foster Caity black leather rucksack (which is now on Sale at Young British Designers).

    Photos shot using my Olympus Stylus XZ-10 compact digital camera with Pinhole-effect filter selected.

  2. Lucie Loves… Dessert

    Tried and tested | Dunelm’s candy rose collection ice-cream maker

    There’s a heatwave in town and my favourite way to cool off is with ice-cream. Whether in a bowl, cone or on a stick. You can’t beat it!

    When the guys at Dunelm got in touch and asked if I’d like to put their pink little ice-cream maker to the test, I wasn’t going to say no. Although, after hearing how much other ice-cream makers usually cost, I was a little dubious at how well it would perform.

    My first attempt…

    After sticking the ice-cream barrel in the freezer for the stated 13 or so hours, and then preparing my ice-cream base (double cream, whole milk, sugar and vanilla essence) in a food mixer, I was a little concerned after a good 20 minutes or so of churning that my mixture wasn’t actually thickening up like it was supposed to. Argh!

    I decided to Google my problematic ice-cream making experience, and after searching through some helpful comments on a forum, it appeared that I should have left the freezing barrel in the freezer for at LEAST 48-hours prior to use. Duh!

    Reluctant to throw away my initial mixture, I poured it into a container and popped it in the fridge ready to have another go once the recommended 48-hour period was up. My fear was that this little beauty, having only cost so little, was too good to be true…

    48-hours later…

    I brought my pre-prepared ice-cream base out of the fridge and then removed the previously troublesome freezing barrel from from the freezer. Almost as soon as I poured the mixture in I could see a difference. It started sticking to the sides and, within 15 minutes of turning on the machine, had begin to stiffen and look like proper ice-cream.

    Choosing a flavour…

    I decided on a vanilla base and doubled the quantity of the ingredients that the instruction manual/recipe book (which actually comes with the ice-cream maker) recommended. One batch of ice-cream was going to have chopped up pieces of fudge, with dollops of chocolate ganache, and the other would have fresh raspberries and a drizzle of maple syrup. 

    Yum!

    Once I’d made my two flavours of ice-cream, I spooned them into tupperware bowls and popped them in the freezer. A couple of nights later, I then scooped each flavour into bowls to enjoy as dessert after dinner. Once I’d got the freezing barrel temperature right, I was onto a winner! This is the easiest thing to make ever and, I must say, certainly impressed JMG and my friend Melly when she came over to see us. It’s really easy to clean between uses too!

    I would definitely recommend buying one of these little beauties. At £29.99 it doesn’t matter if you just want to dabble with making your own ice-cream but don’t wish to fork out £70 to £100 in the process. I can’t wait to try making lemon sorbet with this thing or crumbling pieces of chocolate brownie into my next batch.

    Top tips…

    • If you don’t own a proper measuring cup, just use a normal size cup and be sure to use the same one when measuring out all of the ingredients.
    • Blend the raspberries or fresh fruit so that they aren’t too crunchy when you take ice-cream out of the freezer.
    • Keep your ice-cream barrel in the freezer at all times (if you can afford the space) this will make your impromptu ice-cream making sessions effortless!
    • Experiment with weird and wonderful flavours and share them with me if they work out so that I can try them too!

    Shop the Dunelm Candy Rose Collection Pink Ice Cream Maker

    Photography © Lucie Kerley

    Disclaimer: Thank you to Dunelm for allowing me to test out this new home kitchen appliance. I now can add ice cream making to my list of skills.

  3. Lucie Loves… Meet fashion designer Nzinga Russell.

    Behind-the-scenes at the Dawson D Rose studio in Notting Hill | part one

    I recently met Nzinga Russell, the incredible lady behind the exquisitely tailored label, Dawson D Rose, at her studio in Notting Hill.

    From the start I knew that this meeting could just have easily not taken place. Had Nzinga not had had the balls to send a second email, I would have missed out on this very special encounter on her West London rooftop. And also the chance to add Nzinga to my growing roster of young British designers who I class as ‘ones-to-watch’.

    Everyday I receive emails from brands, designers, pr & marketing agencies and web developers all vying for my attention with their (sometimes not so snappy subject lines). As most bloggers, who work their blogs around full-time jobs, will know - time is precious. 

    To me, if an email strikes a chord on a personal level, I am already halfway there to pressing the reply button and getting involved. There has got to me something in it for me and I don’t mean on a materialistic level. With Nzinga, it was a chance to meet and help support a new young British designer whose work I felt was worth shouting about a little louder. It was a chance to photograph her in her studio space - something that most certainly appeals to the curious-natured documentary photographer in me. And, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

    Having taken a look at the Dawson D Rose website, and hearing Nzinga tell me a little about her love of Portobello Rd (which was how she had come across me as a fashion & lifestyle blogger, after spotting a post that I had written about a visit to the Portobello area.

    So, after setting up a meeting, I was keen to find out more about her work. We sat down and had tea and a good old natter, whilst JMG set up the cameras and got to work filming the interview.

    I wanted to find out why she does what she does, hear about her current collections and her hopes for the future of Dawson D Rose.

    "At the heart of everything that any creative person does is inspiration." said Nzinga.

    Nzinga, wearing The Colville round neck shirt with bow collar from her own collection, describes her younger self as full of energy, chatty and rather girly with a huge love of clothes. It’s no cliché.

    From an early age she had a love of vintage stuff. It all started as soon as she was old enough to go out shopping with her friends in Camden – which is really good for vintage. 

    “I’ve always loved finding odd little things and mixing it with something like Topshop or Miss Selfridge.”

    Find out more about Nzinga’s story wait for part 2 of this blog post. I also get to try on a few of my favourite pieces from the Dawson D Rose collection and gather a few top tips for setting up your own vintage stall.

    www.dawsondrose.com

    Photography © Lucie Kerley