Monday
Feb232015

q&a with Libby of Libby London

It is a true pleasure to welcome to the chic, smart and beautiful founder and CEO of Libby of London, Libby for our Salt and Sparkle q&a interview.  

I had the pleasure of meeting Libby at university, and remember her effortless stylish grace, and the fabulous bags she designed and made.  It has been a joy to see the brand she found Libby of London which sells British womenswear for the career woman, with beautiful, smart, office appropriate dresses, become a great success.  

Libby’s collections are defined by timeless designs with distinctive edge, underpinned by British craftsmanship. Each piece is made and hand-finished exclusively in London, and there is the opportunity to purchase pieces made specifically to order for your body.  Libby London's garments are investment pieces at an accessible price.  You can connect with Libby London on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or pinterest and view and purchase beautiful pieces from Libby London's website.


 

1. Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

I’m Libby and I run womenswear label www.libbylondon.com It’s a rollercoaster being me - no 2 days are ever the same.

2. Where are you from, where are you based ...

From Hampshire now based in London, our studio is in Battersea.

3. Talk about your work ...

We design clothes for the executive modern woman, beautiful British made tailored dresses for work, our ethos is investment dresses for everyday.

4. What are your future plans ...

World domination of course. what else is there?

5. How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...

Inspired by our brilliant customers, we are lucky enough to receive the patronage of some truly inspiring ladies.

6. Describe your space ...

My desk is a tiny corner of calm in an otherwise chaotic very colourful studio packed full of creativity.

7. How are you feeling today ...

Determined, we are in the middle of our Summerproduction and its hard work.


8. A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Enough time spent with my husband

9. Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

Your nailing it… from one of our brand ambassadors

10. Your work life philosophy is ...

Earn your time off

11. What is your favourite smell ...

Orange blossom

12. Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

Classic FM at home, but nothing in the studio, work is for work.

13. Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

Best meal recently was Lobster & Truffle macaroni cheese at a London restaurant, favourite 3 ingredients would be olive oil, Burrata & Avocado.

14. Three things or products that have changed your life...

Batiste dry hair shampoo – literally life changing

Meeting my husband

My iPhone – Mr Jobs really was a genius

15. How do you relax ...

Watching the west wing currently

16. What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

In bed, preferably late on a Sunday morning with the papers, especially if my husband has made me a cup of tea.

17. What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...

I hate the traveling too part but I really want to go to India. Right now I would love to go back to the Maldives.. for about a month

18. What do you most value in your friends ...

Loyalty, understanding, reasonable-ness (is that a word?) and a very down to earth relaxed attitude. My friend Emma actually optimizes these things now I think about it.

19. What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ..

Words – what’s the worst that can happen? I say this to myself almost daily

Reading – I can’t remember, I always fall asleep before the bottom of the first page.

20. Share some words of wisdom ...

What goes around comes around……. It really does!!

Libby what a pleasure it was to interview you, thank you for joining us.

That's it for now ...

 

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

 

Thursday
Feb192015

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Kung Hei Fat Choi! Gong Xi Fa Gai!

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Kung Hei Fat Choi! Gong Xi Fa Gai!

May year of the goat bring you joy, laughter, love and prosperity, and time to enjoy around the table eating delicious food with friends and family.


That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt and Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Tuesday
Feb172015

Crepe Recipe and suggestions for toppings

 

Speckled and golden, thin and crisp, crepes are a beautiful type of pancake, that are just as delicious sweet as savoury.  My favourite way to eat them is just out of the pan warm with lemon and sugar.  I love the sweet sour combination.

Crepes Recipe

 

  • 6oz plain white flour
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 dessert spoon caster sugar, (omit for savoury pancakes)
  • 2 largefree range eggs
  • One pint milk/buttermilk, or  ½ water ½ milk for very light lacy pancakes
  • Optional zest of lemon or orange
  • 3-4 dstsp melted butter

 

Method

 

  1. Sieve the flour into a bowl with the sugar and pinch of salt, make a well in the centre and drop in the lightly beaten eggs
  2. Beat well, the mixture will go lumpy, immediately add the milk a little at a time and continue to beat on high, until all is mixed in and a smooth batter, that is covered with bubbles has formed
  3. Stir in the orange or lemon zest is using, and let the batter stand in the fridge for 10minutes to 24 hours depending on time
  4. Take out of the fridge and stir in the melted butter
  5. Heat a non-stick pan over a medium/medium high heat and pour in the batter to just cover the base of the pan in a film, the batter will begin to cook immediately, cook for up to 30 seconds to 1 minute each side, depending on how crispy you like your pancakes, flip or turn using a spatula and fish slice
  6. Serve immediately with lemon and sugar, or your choice or toppings.

 

Suggested Toppings for Crepes

Lemon and sugar

Maple Syrup and lemon

 

Bananas and salted butterscotch sauce

Marshmallows and nutella

Nutella and banana

Honey and pisatachios with a squeeze of orange

Cinnamon butter and cinnamon sugar

Butter mixed spice sugar apples

For American pancakes or Scotch Pancakes, or drop scones check out my Best pancake recipe in the world ever and never forget the Secret Pancake Ingredient

 Salted Caramel Sauce - is delicious smeared over pancakes or melted and the pancake quickly fried in it.

Orange, sugar, and orange liqueur to make crepe suzette.

 

Maple Butter – mix 4oz softened butter with two tbsp maple syrup until well combined

Maple Butter and crispy bacon

Maple Candied Bacon

  If you don't have time to make your own batter Marks and Spencer, have a delicious savoury batter.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Feb162015

q&a with Denis from yoga with Denis


Welcome to the flexible, fabulous, fit and fun Denis Jackson from yoga with Denis to the Salt and Sparkle q&a. I had the joy of meeting Denis about a year ago, andwe have become firm friends.  Denis is full of energy and vitality, he is a deep thinker, who has some fantastic insights about the world.  We have enjoyed some great conversations.  His passion for his work is inspiring and is is simply wonderful to hang out with.  He is the yoga instructor at Brain Injury Matters- a charity that provides services to those who have acquired brain injuries. Denis has delivered yoga for ADD-NI Northern Irelands only charity dedicated to providing services to children and young adults with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.  This spring he will be prepping professional dancers during a rehearsal  period in March for EVOLVE - a choreographic platform to be performed at the MAC on 2 April.  You can get in touch with Denis or follow him on Facebook or take one his classes at at Flow Studio Belfast, DW Sports Newtownabbey, and David Lloyd Gym- Dundonald which I'd highly recommend you do! Denis also takes private classes and long form workshops.

Who are you, what’s it like being you…

Hi! My name is Denis Jackson. I’m a 30 something yoga teacher, doggy daddy, fiancé who loves seeing people happy. 

Where are you from, where are you based…

Originally hailing from Derry and based now in Newtownabbey

Talk about your work ...

My work is more of a vocation or a calling. I teach yoga in a variety of settings. From public classes, private students, retreats & working for charities bringing yoga to those in the community who desperately need healing and calm. I help facilitate this by empowering people to follow their breath and cultivate ease; not only during yoga, but in their day-to-day lives. It’s got very little to do with flexibility at all and all to do with feeling good about themselves.

What are your future plans ...

To get married, travel quite a bit, buy a house in the country, continue to practice & teach yoga and maybe go on a pilgrimage to India.  


How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...

I find inspiration by meditating. The simple act of sitting down, following the flow of breath and consciously slowing down my breath, allows me to quiet my thoughts. The mind is a VERY busy place and if I can quiet this chatter I can hear my intuition and follow it. I’m inspired by people who commit their lives to serving others and making a positive contribution to their happiness, without thanks or recognition. People who make their own rules rather than following others blindly. Your opinion always matters.  

Describe your space ... 

 Nurturing, homely, loving & fun!


How are you feeling today ...

Happy

A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Love

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.

Your work life philosophy is ...

Work to live, don’t live to work. You don’t want to look back and regret 40 odd years of a career you hated everyday. 

What is your favourite smell ...

The beach or sandalwood. Earthy tones.  

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

London Grammar is playing now. I love all music. I had quite a musical upbringing and appreciate every musical genre. 

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

Hmmm with this weather we are having- homemade Stew, wheaten bread and butter. I love butter. Three ingredients- Avocado, tomatoes & olive oil.  

Three things or products that have changed your life...

Yoga (see a theme here?) travelling alone, the Internet. 

How do you relax ...

spending time with my partner and dogs on a trip to the beach or forest. Yoga at home, essential oils, Epsom salt bath and ambient tunes. 

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

Being with family & friends. Seeing everyone happy and having harmony. 

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...

There are a good few places I want to visit. Japan for the cherry blossoms, Canada for the awesome landscape, California for the sun, Paris, South of France & India.   

What do you most value in your friends ...

knowing that they are always there no matter what. Even if we don’t speak often. The best friendships are easy and don’t need any explanation. 

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

I’m not really good at committing to a book at the moment. I do love reading about Space and how vast the universe is lol The mind boggles! 

Share some words of wisdom ...

Always know that you can’t really go wrong in life. Follow your own path, listen to your heart and build the life of your dreams. It’s easy when you just decide to do it.

 

Denis is was a joy to interview you and have you at Salt and Sparkle, thank you.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

Saturday
Feb142015

5 Ways with Mini Pancakes

Mini Pancakes were a surefire hit with the children I was cooking for this weekend.  They all took turns to drop handfuls of them into melting bubbling butter, and each had a turn to stir the pan, bringing lots of smiles to their little faces.

Fried in a little country salted butter, then tossed in warm sugar, we served them with Percy Pigs, and chocolate sauce.  The children came back for seconds and thirds.  These mini pancakes from Marks and Spencer are as good for adults as children.

 

These mini pancakes from Marks and Spencer are a sure fire hit.  Little mouth sized bits of goodness that can be eaten in lots of different ways.  They are a quick, easy and fun breakfast for children on Shrove Tuesday.

 

They can be warmed in the oven, and then served in the most traditional pancake way with maple syrup and lemon.  A mix of sweet sour tastes and soft billowy pancakes.

 

 

Toss the mini pancakes in a pan with some Marks and Spencer Salted Caramel Sauce, fudge cubes and bronze honeycomb for a mix of textures and flavours.  This works well, also as a dessert.  

 

 

Melt a handful of marshmallows into chocolate sauce, toss the mini pancakes into the sauce, serve with more mini marshmallows - this one is a huge hit with children, who just seem to love anything involving marshmallows.

 

Percy Pigs have to be the quinessential sweet from Marks and Spencer, they work brilliantly with pancakes, either slightly softened in a pan or added to mini pancakes, marshmallow and chocolate sauce.

How do you like to eat your mini pancakes?

That's it for now ...

Nics 

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

Saturday
Feb142015

Crepe Suzettes with a G and Tea Twist - recipe

Crepes Suzette was the desert of the 1970s anyone who was anyone served it, and gave a bit of a show, lighting the alcohol in the pan at the table.  

This is a dramatic and delicious desert, and the story goes a young French waiter created them at the turn of the 20th century who was serving the Prince of Wales, and then named for the prince’s companion, Suzette.

Marks and Spencer G and Tea Twist is a blended liqueur gin with flavours of lemongrass, tea, gin, caramel and apple.  It packs and fruity balanced punch, and is absolutely perfect to use in a crepe suzette recipe.  it is also full of edible golden sparkling glitter which I just love.

Grate in a little Marks and Spencer caramel salted milk chocolate over the warm crepes just before serving to add an extra richness.

 What is it about orange zest that makes everyone who smells it and eats it, so very happy?  It is a joy to use.

These are a perfect pudding for a romantic dinner, or when you want to show off a little at a dinner party, and its alright to show off a tiny bit, just don't do it all the time.

 Setting the G and Tea alight is showy and dramatic, it puffs up into an immediate flame.  By lighting the alcohol the flavour is intensified into the crepes.

Recipe

Crepe Suzettes with a G and Tea Twist

Ingredients

  • juice of 3 oranges
  • zest of 3 orange
  • 175 grams salted butter softened
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • shop-bought crepes or you can make them yourself
  • 1/2 cup or just over Marks and Spencer G and Tea Twist or any other orange flavoured alcohol
  • 1 tin of mandrins drained

Method

 

  1. To make the orange butter zest the oranges, and melt into the butter, pour into a bowl and use as needed

 

For each crepe follow this process

 

  1. Using about a teaspoon and a half of orange butter for each crepe, heat the orange butter until it is about to start to caramelise, add a tbsp of orange juice, then add the crepe shaking the pan to get the crepe evenly coated.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of mandrins, and shake around until broken
  3. Fold the crepe into quarters and sprinkle with sugar
  4. Pour in the Marks and Spencer G and Tea, then set alight (stand back at this point you don't want to singe your hair) Gentle shake the pan until the flames subside
  5. Serve immediately on warm plates, spooning the sauce over the crepes

 

 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
Feb122015

Five foodie ideas for Valentines

When I see the word love I smile. It is a word full of power, and one that should be shared. Life needs to be lived with love. Valentine's is simply another day you can tell people you love them. People need to hear the words, 'I love you.' 'You are loved'. Being loved and knowing you are loved is an essential part of life. It is impossible to tell someone to many times that you love them. 'I love you' are words that should be shared with abundance.

This year for Valentine's I am keeping things light and fun. Pink heart lights, and these fabulous heart shaped Marshmallows and heart jelly beans from Marks and Spencer, are the perfect sweet snack, that brings a smile to everyone's face. These sweets are brilliant tucking into children's lunchboxes with a note telling them they are love, or that they are awesome.

These Marks and Spencer red and pink chocolate hearts mixed into the heart shaped marshmallows and jellybeans create a little candy bag for the one you love.

These love bug heart tins from Marks and Spencer are filled with milk chocolate bugs, which when you bite into them ooze rich caramel.

This Marks and Spencer Valentine card will have pride of place on my wall, declaring to all that come in that love is central in my home.

Perfect for the boys, little caramelised chocolate peanuts, which have a good combination of crunchy caramel, and smooth chocolate, over fresh crunchy nuts.

Pink fizz and coloured drinks abound at this time of year, but without the summer sunshine, there's something about the pink that just doesn't taste quite right. Instead I am recommending a Marks and Spencer Chardonnay which is refreshing, crisp, with bright green apple. Its racy acidity is balanced with a firm minerality. It is a bright white wine, far removed from the over oaked chardonnay's of the late 90s, early 00s. Made by the Josef Chromy winery in Tasmania chablis with style, romance and panache.

These beautifully boxes chocolates from Marks and Spencer made by local Irish chocolatiers are divine. Opening a special box of chocolates from pretty box is thrilling.

On Valentine's when you are in the mood for. Glass of red make it a light floral bouquet like this Marks and Spencer French fleurie which is light and buoyant, it will revive rather than send to sleep.

On a day that's filled with hearts is to celebrate your friends hearts with delicious heart shaped chocolates from Marks and Spencer. And know to boot your supporting a local Irish business.

Happy Valentines. Spread the love.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt and Sparkle