Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Recipe: Winter Warmer – Chunky Minestrone Soup

recipe-minestrone-2When it is cold, miserable and generally gloomy outside I kind of retreat into a little ball, well not quite but I do have a need for home comforts, warm blankets and more cups of tea than an average human should consumer to get through the day. Another winter warmer of mine is to cook up a big bowl of chunky minestrone soup from a recipe that I used to make with my mum.

I promise it is easy to cook, healthy and above of tasty – if this doesn’t help keep the winter blues away I don’t know what will!!!

Chunky Minestrone Soup
A delicious chunky winter warmer of a soup that is easy to prepare and cook. Best served with crusty bread, next to a roaring fire and a great book!!!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
  1. 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  2. 2 large potatoes, roughly chopped
  3. 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  4. 2 tbsp tomato purée
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil
  6. 200ml vegetable stock
  7. 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  8. 2 x 300g can cannelloni beans
  9. 2 large handfuls of macaroni or soup pasta
  10. 2 garlic cloves
  11. sprinkle of mixed herbs
  12. crusty bread, to serve
  1. Heat the oil in a large casserole pan, add the onions, garlic and herbs, and fry off for five minutes until softened
  2. Add carrots and potatoes, stir in the tomato puree, stock and chopped tomatoes. Bring to boil and then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes
  3. Add the cannelloni beans, cook for a further 10 minutes, and then add the pasta and let it bubble nicely for another 10-15 minutes
  4. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread
  1. When cooled section off the rest of the soup for freezing - for a quick and easy fix when you are in need of a winter warmer
Fashionista Barbie http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/

Store Loving: Inside Osprey London’s Regent Street Flagship


There is something special about Osprey London, not only because it makes great handbags that I adore, or the fact that it really does champion British manufacturing and design, but because it is very much a family run business with founder and creative director Graeme Ellisdon at the helm, his wife Alex curating the amazing jewellery collections, and even his son Jack is on hand in the store’s Saddlery Cafe.

Much like the brand’s St Alban’s store, the Regent Street store utilises the amazing Grade II listed building, which was once a Barclay’s bank, to showcase the eclectic mix of leather accessories, jewellery, interior pieces, even knitted toys and food. Everything about the store interior is divine – from the solid oak doors at the entrance to the exquisite chandeliers and the stainless steel staircase and that’s without talking about the brand’s diverse selection of interior pieces such as gorgeous arm chairs, antique picture frames and a fun choice of cushions.

There is very much a “home” feel to the store, which is apparently the vibe that Graeme was going for, with the upstairs set out more like a fashion store with its walls covered with gorgeous leather bags and display cabinets filled with handmade jewellery, while downstairs brings a slice of the countryside into central London. I love that the store is a destination, I think I could have spent hours just picking up every last item, there is really so many things I didn’t even know I wanted for the house!!!

As well as buying gorgeous handbags and pieces for the home, the flagship also houses an informal cafe area in the style of the Saddlery Cafe at St Albans, think cute bone china tea cups, delicious cakes and one of the best hot chocolates ever. I also love that the sitting areas are situated within the former bank’s vaults – super cosy and I can’t wait to do tea and cake there soon.

If you are down the Piccadilly Circus end of Regent Street then trust me you have to pop by for a look, not only will you probably leave with a new handbag or necklace, but you will pick up lots of pinnable ideas for your home, I have my eye on a £5k multicoloured sofa.

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How cure is Boris? This beauty was knitted in the UK and I love how each one comes with their own mini Osprey London cross-body bag. I seriously need one of these beauties. osprey-london-regent-st-12osprey-london-regent-st-3 osprey-london-regent-st-1 osprey-london-regent-st-18

Love these metallic handbags – so different for the brand but they really do make a statement.

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Osprey London, 27 Regent Street, London (on the corner of Regent Street and Jeremy Street, opposite Lilywhite’s).

Inside The Cath Kidston House


If Cath Kidston sold houses I think it would pretty much look like this, with walls of course, decorated out with just the right mix of florals, birds, mushrooms, penguins and polka dot prints.

I love it when brands make their press days more of a presentation, something to grab my attention, something to get me excited, and this make-shift house set in the middle of central London certainly did that, the only thing that was missing was the fictional Cath Kidston family!!!

Known for its quirky English sensibility, there is something about Cath Kidston that makes it universally liked, I think practically everyone has something from the shop – whether it is a floral bone china tea cup, a dotty handbag, a strawberry cover iPhone case, or even a cowboy mug. For me Cath Kidston is the ultimately gift shop, you can always pick up something cute and memorable for a friend or family member.

What do you think – would you like to move into a Cath Kidston clad house?

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For more pictures inside the Cath Kidston house head on over to my Facebook page.
[Pics: all taken by me, Fashionista Barbie]