On this occasion, I would like to introduce you to the talented Carolina Ronderos. A Colombian Fashion Designer based in Cali, who loves to tell stories with her designs, using pristine materials whilst embracing traditional techniques. To achieve this, Carolina is set up to invest in the community, as the bespoke pieces are partially produced in the slums and jails from Colombia, where she trains the inmates in different techniques, contributing towards their resocialization. The great news is that Carolina Ronderos can be found now in Wolf and Badger!
Inmates working on intricate embellishment pieces
Preferred project you’ve worked?
Working with the inmates of a jail in Colombia.
Key Accessory or something you never leave the house without
Every time I want to look impeccable, and ready to conquer the world I take out one of the key items of my wardrobe. A pristine white shirt, a classic cut that is forever on trend and versatile as you can imagine, but more on that in my post about how to style a garment in three diverse ways for 3 different occasions.
Any who, what is more iconic than a white shirt, when is wore by no other than Carolina Herrera. This Venezuelan fashion designer moved to New York where she established her brand in the 1980s. Since then the brand has been known for sophisticated clean cuts that addresses the needs for the modern woman who takes her life in her hands while looking fabulous.
This time, the House of Herrera brought to us an amazing intake for SS16 season; here are some of my personal favourites!
Cheescake… Oh my life… I’m a big, big, big fan of them! For a long time I’ve been using this recipe, obviously adding here and there different components to give it a bit of a twist from time to time.
300g philadelphia cream cheese
250g mascarpone cheese
300ml double cream
2 x 300g white chocolate bar. You can use any type of chocolate and even use less
500g biscuits e.g. digestives
Few knobs of butter
Crush the biscuits until completely ground. Add butter (either in food processor or gently heat on hob) until desired crumbly consistency.
Add the biscuit mixture to a cake tin and pat till flat. TIP: Key is to use the right amount of butter to bind the biscuit together; too little, and it will be really crumbly; too much and it will become soft. Leave to set in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.
Begin melting the chocolate in a glass bowl over a a small pan of hot water on a low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Mix the philadelphia and mascarpone cheese together with a whisk; hand or electric. Add double cream and whisk. Finally, add melted chocolate to the mixture and whisk. The mixture may seem slightly ‘curdled’ just continue whisking.
Spoon the mixture over the cooled and set biscuit base. Return to the fridge to cool for as long as possible, until the topping is set.
Add the biscuit mixture to a cake tin and pat till flat
I add a layer of Dulce de Leche
And some chocolate chips
Add the white chocolate-cream cheese-mascarpone mixture on top and leave to set!
I think is fair to say that chicken is one of the easiest proteins to cook, as although it flavour on it self can be a bit bland, it is easily enhanced with a sauce. On this occasion, I would like to share with you my recipe for a creamy mushroom sauce. You will need chicken breast, mushrooms, 1 onion, coconut oil, seasoning, white wine and double cream.
Lets start first with the preparation. Dice the chicken breast and season it. Dice the mushrooms. Then, finely chop the onions or if you prefer, do it in chunky pieces.
On a frying pan, put a teaspoon of coconut oil, and seal the chicken. When it’s golden put it on the side. Then proceed to fry the onions, scrapping all the bits that are stuck on the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook them for a bit. Pour the white wine and let it simmer to reduce a bit. Add the double cream and mix it well. Finally add the chicken, cover the pan and put it in low heat for 15-20min.
For this saucy dish I like to have it with rice and my usual favourites sweet potatos fries and avocado!
I love the way a photography can transport you back in time, inspire you or even cheer you up when nothing else seems to work. This time I want to introduce you to an amazing photographer very dear to my heart, Anai Bharucha. Having a keen eye for detail, Anai’s work always has a narrative, were she indulges the viewers through her lens. Currently she is based in Mumbai working non-stop for different publications.
Favourite project you’ve worked
My favourite is soon to release. But my final major project in uni still remains quite close to me – The Boiling Point
Key Accessory or something you never leave the house without (fashion orientated)
My vintage Hermès watch
Song you are listening to?
Livewire by Oh Wonder
Are you currently reading any Book?
Dior Couture by Patrick Demarchelier. Reading images does count right?
Favorite place to eat
Home, with the family
Name one of your guilty pleasures
What/who inspires you
So much does! My mom’s closet, Tim Walker, my grandma, the textures on a beach, an orange! Everything really inspires me in some way.
Honestly I can say I love dating! That feeling while doing make up, trying to decide either to wear your hair up or down and finally which clothes to wear for that especial night. Although we were on holidays, that is not an excuse to not have one of our specials nights in Rhodes. I love surprises, and this time my boyfriend took me to a lovely place in Rhodes, Wonder Restaurant. Don’t judge too quickly by the name, as I did, but once we arrived to the place, it literally took my breath away.
The restaurant is located on a side road in the new town in Rhodes, it compromises a lovely garden lighted with fairy lights, which gives it a magical and even more romantic feeling to the night. The menu has enough choices for picky eaters like me, so that’s great, it’s more a Mediterranean cuisine, and to be honest I was glad about it as eating Greek everyday got a bit overwhelming.
So, I look at the menu and I read one of the best words in the world: Avocado. I mean, you’ve seen how crazy I am with avocados, I pretty much eat them in every meal, and since we arrived in Rhodes I haven’t eaten it, so, praise Zeus, this was heaven! They were kind enough to serve me a side of only avocado! We share a carpaccio starter, olives, tzatziki and bread. For the main I ordered Beef Gorgonzola, a very tender steak with Gorgonzola sauce and rigatoni pasta. My boyfriend ordered the Fish and Mussel Casserole, which I didn’t try because, you know, picky eater! But he said that it was amazing. By the end of all this we were so full that we didn’t even look at the desserts menu, but I caught a glance on the next table and the sorbet looked delicious.
Whenever I’m feeling blue, I always crave sweets. The issue is that I don’t want any kind of sweet, I want something that brings me back home, even if its just for a couple of hours. Hence today I bring you a recipe to prepare Flan. Flan is something like a milk pudding, really easy to prepare, rich in flavour and not so healthy, but delicious!
You will need 6 eggs, 2 tins of condensed milk and the same amount of whole milk and a spoon of vanilla essence. Separately you’ll need 1 cup of sugar for the caramel and water.
Start by preheating the oven to 200 Celsius. Then start preparing the caramel. I prefer to do it in a light colour sauce pan so I can see the colour the caramel is taking, as you don’t want it burnt but not too light yellow. Put the sugar on the sauce pan and then add enough water to cover the sugar. Put it on the stove and wait until the caramel is the right colour.
Put all the other ingredients in a blender and put it on the side.
Once the caramel is ready, pour it in the foil tin. I like to do it in the one with a hole, as that’s the way my family prepares it, but whatever you like would be fine. Although you shouldn’t use the one that you can remove the bottom, as the mix is too runny and it will just make a huge mess. Once you have covered all the inside with the caramel you can pour the mix from the blender and just place it in the oven for 45min and check if its ready by placing a toothpick and see if it comes
out clear. If its still not cooked, leave it for 10min extra at the time, always checking as you don’t want to overcook it!
When it is finally ready, let it rest somewhere in the kitchen to cool down. After it is at room temperature, place the fan in the fridge and leave it as long as you can, minimum for 6 hours. I tend to prepare it the night before I plan to serve it so it will chill properly.
Finally when I’m ready to serve, I pass a knife around all edges to help to unmold. Find a plate that will fit your flan, place it on top of the mold and turn it around. Gravity will work its wonders and the flan will come out beautifully. With a spoon take out the rest of the caramel and pour it on top of the flan… and enjoy!
Perfume “is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion… that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure,” Coco Chanel once explained.
For me, perfume is the final touch to any of my outfits. My mom has always been obsessed with perfumes. When I was little she will buy be those children eau de toilette with strawberry flavour, but I still remember the first time she gave me a proper perfume, probably so I would stop stealing hers, but anyway, it was Dolce & Gabbana light blue. It was fresh, citric and so light, that literally I couldn’t have enough of it, probably that’s why I finished it so quickly but it was worth it every single spray.
Once I attended a lecture at Uni about perfumes, about the history, the way they produce them, but most importantly, about the different layers. They explained that perfumes have layers of essences, which develop through time after you apply it. That’s why you never, ever rub when you apply perfume. When you rub it, you mix the layers and then the whole essence of the perfume is ruin.
Having so many options to choose from, its always essential that the perfume that you buy, you can embrace it. Not just buy it because of the brand connotation or because it the most fashionable at the moment. I’m sure many of you has at least once tried a perfume to then, after 5 min have to take a shower, because the smell instantly hits you in the wrong way, giving you a headache or making you feel nauseated.
My latest obsession is Chance by Chanel, although personally its not an everyday perfume as I like to use it for special occasions and not everyday for the office!
Brunch, that lovely word that allows you to indulge with breakfast delights even in the early afternoon and as well to drink mimosas before 12! Walking around my beloved Fulham, I came across this little restaurant Manuka Kitchen.
Constantly I’m looking up to the people I’m surrounded by, and how in very different ways they inspire all the time. I would like to introduce you to some of them, and invite you to see their work and what they are up to at the moment.
Firstly, I would like to introduce you to Lilly Brando. She is a multitalented actress and model who recently launched an online series called Sessions (check it on Facebook, they are very funny). Lilly is originally from Portugal, but has lived in many places throughout the years. She is a fighter, she is a chameleon always embracing any opportunity life throws in front of her.
Favourite project you’ve worked
I’ve been lucky to be considered for very different roles and projects in various formats (TV, Cinema, Theatre, Web, Fashion Films, Documentary, Voice Over and Photography projects). There’s a lot of pressure for actors to find out which category they fit in and that has been my mission since I left school. I started collaborating in as many projects as I could to find my typecast. I knew drama was my comfort zone so I found myself cheating a little as I was applying for auditions. For instance, I would think, “I wish I could play this character, but I´m not gonna apply for it because I´m not good at comedy or at improvising”. I would find excuses to avoid certain auditions. Unconsciously, I already knew my style but I was afraid of trying something different. I remember being always inclined to read and play vulnerable and naïve characters, characters like Nina from the Seagull by Anton Chekhov. I would see the world through her eyes and I would completely relate to it. The doubts and fears, the romance and delusions, the trembling voice, the lack of confidence. We´re all a bit like “Nina” in the beginning of our careers. “Clotilde” was the name of the character I played in a Portuguese Soap Opera: “My Angel” or “Anjo Meu” in Portuguese. Clotilde was a supporting character, a warm, kind, naïve and curious maid. Thanks to her I got an intensive year of multicamera work experience, observing established Portuguese actors on set as they rehearsed, shared ideas and performed scenes right in front of me. I got an idea of the business behind the show as well and I learned to manage my anxiety and frustration of wanting to see my character growing but having little control over that, wanting to have a voice but not having the chance to say more than two or three words in a scene or in a day after waiting for long hours for my turn to record. Clotilde was a sort of an internship for me. Today, I look back and I can understand that I wasn’t prepared for a more complex role with a potential stronger impact to the audience. Much less was I prepared for everything that would eventually come with it: recognition and press. You need to be sensitive to be an actor and to have a tough skin to handle everything else that comes along with it, it’s almost as if you need to have two personalities and back then I wasn’t mature enough to find that balance.
Eventually, I started building up my confidence or learning to fake it when necessary. The first time I challenged the “Nina within me” was when I had the chance to play Irene from “The Blue Room” By David Hare, right after the ending of the Soap Opera and before moving to London.
Irene was a very carnal, impulsive, provocative and unstable character, full of emotions but deeply longing for a true sentiment. I felt really exposed when I was playing her but she was a trigger for me. After Irene I could finally see myself playing more confrontative and confident characters. I found a strength and volume in my voice that I didn´t know I had before.
In 2013, I was lucky to play a vindictive, dark and mysterious journalist, Abigail Sens, a leading role in a thriller called “The Archivist” which was chosen to be part of the London Short Film Festival.
But something was missing in my acting and performances. Humour was missing. Finding a touch of humour and releasing the tension through humour even when we´re playing the most dramatic role on earth was key for me. I wanted to learn it. Luckily, my partner’s speciality in contrast is comedy, and through his comedic sense always comes up with a punchline after we fight or right after anything I say in general. He never takes the dramatic version of me too seriously, and now, neither do I. This interest in comedy began when I lost an important role, an important medium term acting job in May. I got so angry that instead of moaning about it as I used to, me and my partner, George Felner, we decided to write and create our own work. Maybe the Webseries “Sessions” came out as a sort of a “punchline” to release the tension after such a frustrating and hopeless moment.
It was a very impulsive project. Until then, we’d thought of doing something together but we could never agree on anything really. Suddenly, on a Friday night, we came up with an idea of a mismatched couple – Frank and Joanne – doing therapy. We wrote the first draft on a Sunday at 7.30 pm, we shot it on a Monday and we reshot it on a Tuesday. In less than a week we created the first episode of “Sessions” which has been an extraordinary writing and acting exercise for both of us. Joanne is a very experimental character. She is temperamental, sarcastic, sometimes less likeable, controlling and logical. This is only possible thanks to the contrast with George who plays Frank. Frank is opinionated, shameless, silly, always in his own world, awkward and inventive. Joanne is a combination of Earth and Fire and Frank is Water and Air. Most fights are real, they actually happened between us at some point in our relationship. Off course that we exaggerate and mix everything up a little with some new topics, everyday life observations of other couples and stories we read and hear, here and there.
Skills are always transferable and I’ve been able to transfer this humour to other roles and situations, real and fictional ones, serious ones too, using comedy as a survival skill in such an unpredictable career and a short life.
For sure, Clotilde, Irene, Abigail Sens and Joanne were turning points in my life as an actress helping me on this emotional journey, on establishing and finding my confidence and voice as an actress, on understanding different storytelling styles and formats, on finding the balance between the personalities required for the show and for the business, keeping my sanity, consistency and integrity.
Key Accessory or something you never leave the house without:
Basics in my bag: lipstick, concealer, mascara and blush; my agenda, phone, computer and an extra battery.
Song you are listening to?
Another Love by Tom Odell and soundtracks, Jazz soundtracks from Woody Allen’s films, for instance “I’ve heard that song before” by Helen Forrest & Harry James from the film “Hanna and Her Sisters”.
If I’m in a Spanish Guitar mood, I listen to Vicky Christina Barcelona’ Soundtrack. I like all kinds of music. Recently my best friend sent me a link on whatsApp of a song that we used to listen to 10 years ago and suddenly I found myself spending the whole week hearing “Touch me” By Sharon Phillips. I like the song “Reality” by Lost Frequencies feat Janieck Devy.
Are you currently reading any Book?
I have some manuals on auditioning, on comedy and on screenwriting too in order to be able to develop and polish my own scripts. I studied Psychology so that’s my first section as soon as I go into a bookstore. “The Examined Life” is a wonderful book written by the psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz and follows a collection of conversations between Stephen and his patients.
Favorite place to eat:
In London, I always choose Italian or Asian Cuisine when I go out for dinner. “La Divina” in Angel, “Pizza Metro Pizza” in Battersea Rise and “Rossopomodoro” in Wandsworth are my favorite pizza places. For a good Currie Laksa or Asian food in general, I prefer the restaurant “Ekachai”.
Name one of your guilty pleasures: I can’t
resist eating candy while watching movies and I love chocolate truffles too and having a big brunch o Sunday morning.
What/who inspires you:
I feel completely recharged and inspired after a week in Portugal with my family and friends, between lunches and dinners, walking by the sea or in the countryside, reconnecting with some old memories. I’m a nostalgic person by nature and I need to travel in time, to those places where I truly belong to give meaning to my present and better organise my plans and future.
My list of references are endless:
I love Diane Keaton, her Style, Smile and Simplicity and,off course , her character Annie Hall.
The uncomplicated writing style of Woody Allen and his detachment from all the criticism around him;
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her confidence, which is contagious.
I wish I could speak as articulately as Cate Blanchett, her voice and speeches are music to my ears;
Greta Gerwig and Brit Marling and how proactive they are on writing her own films;
Sofia Vergara and how she makes fun of herself, enjoys and celebrates her life, success and age graciously.
Best Advice you’ve been given?
Resist comparing your life to others. Everyday, friends, celebrities and strangers we follow for some reason, display their amazing holidays, accomplishments, houses, products, relationships, bodies, awards and pets on Instagram, Facebook, blogs, but it’s important to remember that we’ll never know what’s behind the filter.
Another advice a teacher gave me after a play I’ve done. “In your professional life as a performer choose two to three people maximum to give you an opinion, people you know and who will never pat your back but who will always tell you the truth in the first place. In a world of 7 billion people and 7 billion potential opinions, three of them are more than enough, the rest is noise”