Motel Rocks S/S '12 | Event

the motel rocks logo in neon at their launch event
Last night, bloggers from around the UK flocked to the Motel Rocks showroom in Central London for the S/S '12 bloggers' evening to take a sneak peek at their latest collection; after a quick early dinner with the lovely Rachel at Lotus Leaf in Westfield Stratford (I really do spend too much time in that place!), we headed to the event, just off Oxford Street, and I soon found myself falling for far too many pieces, naturally.
a selection of floral print dresses from motel london as part of their spring summer collection lipstick print dress from motel rocks
Motel are well established for their gorgeous prints, so the fact that the new collection is bathed in them is nothing surprising, but I have to admit, they've outdone themselves with some of the gorgeous patterns and tones in their latest offering.
lace black and white bardot dress from motel rocks red floral print trousers from motel rocks in london
Gorgeous necklines (like the one on this Elsa dress!), and box pleats crop up pretty frequently amongst their new cuts, which I'm pretty excited for, too.
a selection of rock n rose jewellery from their summer collection, including scrabble rings and gem rings
We also got to browse through some of Rock 'N Rose's gorgeous jewellery - I'll admit, I only recently discovered the brand, but I'm already hooked!
nail rocks nail transfers on display girl wearing nail rocks nail transfers gold leaf design
Nail Rocks were also at the event, showing off some of their latest designs - I didn't get to try any out as I had falsies on, but the lovely Shabna gave me some serious nail envy with the design she chose!
a selection of pink, white, and blue macarons from Glossybox heart and star blue and pink helium balloons
Special mention goes to the divine macarons on offer at the Glossybox table, which I'd quite happily have eaten all to myself, and these gorgeous balloons which were floating around (and yes, I might have seriously considered the possibility of taking one home on the train with me...)
a 'I heart motel' tote bag from motelrocks

Summer Berry Pie | Recipe

a frreshly baked summer fruit pie, with crispy brown crust
Cherry pie is my mother's favourite thing on the planet. No, really. She could quite happily eat half a pie in a sitting (if not more), and, upon deciding my present to her for Mother's Day this year would be a thoroughly homecooked breakfast, dinner and dessert, a cherry pie seemed a natural choice for the latter, even if it was to be my first time making anything of the sort from scratch.
a selection of berries, including raspberries and blueberries
Of course, being me, it wasn't until I'd bought everything else required to make a good pie that I realised it was not the best time of year to try and buy cherries (£14 for the one bag I could find locally? No thanks!), so I decided instead to settle on something a little different, although opting for the same tart flavours, opting for a blueberry/raspberry combination instead.
freshly rolled pie crust in a pie dish, ready to be filled
After stumbling around for a while to find the best pie crust recipe I could, I settled on this one from The Pioneer Woman Cooks (one of my favourite blogs, hands down, if you're into baking/cooking I'd definitely recommend a peek!), although I altered it slightly due to having a serious aversion to baking with lard (see my version, below).
a freshly rolled pie dough in a pie dish, filled with blueberries, raspberries, butter, and sugar

Once the pie crust is rolled out and lining the pie dish (or, if you're in a last-minute craze like me, a flan dish), the fun begins; making the filling. I hunted my local stores for all the berries I could find, and stumbled home, tired and a little outraged, with a bag full of a meager selection of raspberries and blueberries - not quite what I'd had in mind, and in only half the quantity I'd have liked, but, luckily, just enough. I mixed the selection with a handful of sugar, the odd spice, and some corn flour to thicken it all up, before setting it in the bottom of the pie dish, alongside two or three generous tablespoons of butter (as if you were under the impression this was a sin-free recipe!), before topping the pie off with the remaining pastry.
a freshly topped pie with fresh pie dough, ready to go into the oven
And decorating just a little. Because, before anything else, I find comfort in making things pretty.
freshly baked berry pie, just out of the oven, with a brown, crispy, crust
Also, occasionally, I forget to brush on my egg wash and have to whip it out of the oven, super-quick, in an attempt to remedy this...and end up with a slightly uneven finish, as a result.
But then, it tasted good, so who cares, really?
How did you treat your mother this weekend?
And have you ever made your own pastry?

Summer Berry Pie: For the Crust:
  • 300g flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter (cubed)
  • 60ml water (cold)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water 
  1. Whisk 250g of the flour with the salt and caster sugar, until just combined.
  2. Use a pastry cutter or food processor to combine the dry ingredients with the butter. If, like me, you possess neither, rub the butter together between your fingers to break it apart, but be careful not to overwork it; the butter should look like large crumbs in the flour mixture. 
  3. Add another 50g of flour, mixing it until it just coats the butter. 
  4. Pour in the water, a little at a time, until the dough just about holds together. You may not need all the water (I ended up using half). 
  5. Split the dough into two balls and set one aside. Place the other on a lightly floured sheet of baking parchment, sprinkle more flour over the top, and place another sheet of baking parchment over the top. Use a rolling pin to flatten the ball, between the two sheets of baking paper, until it is even and large enough to cover the base of the pie dish. Then, carefully, peel off the top layer turn the whole thing upside-down over the pie dish, coating it. Use your fingers to push the pastry into the base of the dish, leaving no air bubbles.
  6. Pour your desired filling on top of the pastry (the recipe I used is below, if you're stuck for inspiration!), and repeat the above instructions with the second half of the pastry dough to cover the pie, pinching the edges of the base and top layer together, to ensure no pie filling escapes. Cut three or four slits in the top layer to allow the steam to escape.
  7. Combine the egg and tablespoon of water in a bowl to create an egg wash, and dab onto the pie with a pastry brush.
  8. Bake at 220ÂșC (gas mark 7) for 35 minutes, or until brown, then cover the pie with foil and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and thoroughly hot all the way through.
For the Filling:
Note: Ideally, I'd double this recipe, as I didn't find there to be quite enough filling in the final product, but I worked with what I had. It was still good, so it's up to you!

  • 185g blueberries
  • 155g raspberries
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon 
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Stir the blueberries, raspberries, corn flour, cinnamon and sugar until just combined, being careful not to squash the fruit too much.
  2. Pour the filling into the pie crust, spooning the unsalted butter liberally over the top of the filling. Top with the remaining pie crust.

Tortilla Mexican Grill, London | Restaurant Review

Something a bit different for on-thebias today; whilst most of my posts are fashion/beauty related (with the occasional weekly round-up or recipe), I don't post a lot about one of my other loves in life: travel. Being on a student budget doesn't allow for the luxury often, but I am lucky enough to have been born in one of the most diverse cities in the world, London, and spend a substantial part of my time in one of the most gorgeous cities in England (in my biased opinion), Canterbury. I am, therefore, constantly travelling up and down between the two, so I figured it was about time I started writing up about some of my favourite places to shop/eat/people-watch in the cities!
tortilla mexican grill in westfield, london shepard's bush
'Tortilla' is a London-based 'California-Mexican' restaurant which aims to 'serve fresh cuisine, individually prepared to your taste, within a minute...all for about a fiver'; with seven branches in the capital, as well as a delivery service for those lucky enough to live or work within close proximity of one of their stores, they're quickly becoming one of the best known Mexican restaurant brands in the city, and it's not hard to work out why.
a foil wrapped burrito from tortilla mexican grill in london westfield an unwrapped burrito from westfield white city brand of tortilla
An afternoon wandering around the Stratford City Westfield on an empty stomach is enough to leave anyone desperately craving sustenance, and, not being much of a 'fast food' fan, my friend and I quickly found ourselves lured toward the promise of a fast and filling burrito, brimming full of authentic, fresh Mexican ingredients (i.e. nothing like the oil-drenched wraps which are often passed off as 'Tex-Mex') - and, both being students, the £4.95 price point looked pretty good, too.
a vegetarian burrito from tortilla london mexican grill, with two bites taken out of it
As I'm observing the Greek Orthodox Lent right now (which means either going vegan or vegetarian - I opted for being a temporary veggie!), I settled on the vegetarian burrito, filled with Mexican rice, peppers, onions and cheese - super filling, absolutely delicious, all for £4.95 - but there are also fajitas, tacos, salads and the 'naked burrito' (all the fillings in a bowl instead of the tortilla) up for grabs, as well as some gorgeous sides, including guacamole and tortilla chips, yum!
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