Fashion is Freedom book review
How a girl from Tehran broke the rules to change her world.
That is the tagline of Fashion is Freedom by Tala Raassi. I rarely review individual books anymore but with all the turbulence in the world today this one deserves a standalone mention. It's going to be a difficult one not to give away everything so I'll make it short & sweet.

Tala Raassi is an Iranian American fashion designer and now also a book author. Her new book called Fashion is Freedom describes her journey from the very beginning when she was a 16 year old girl at her birthday party wearing a miniskirt. With the strict Iranian culture this was something unheard of and Tala was punished with jail time and forty lashes (this IS a thing - even in this day & time, lashing women for wearing short skirts is a thing). 

The book follows Tala from Iran to the USA where she moved to (sprinted to as she calls it - and who would blame her?!) after her 16th birthday. Tala went on to pursue her dream - fashion was freedom for her (see what I did here?) and she became a successful fashion designer with two clothing lines and a title of 'one of the most fearless women in the world'. 

There's a lot more to the book and the story of Tala - it's a story of culture, strength and a power of one woman who decided to do what she wanted to do no matter what the rest of the world thought. And that's the kind of story we need every day! 

It's an easy book to read as Tala writes in a very friendly blog kind of tone, but it makes you think well deep about the world we live in. You can get yourself a copy here for just £8.99.

Have you come across Tala's story before? 


Fashion is Freedom

How to wear a jumpsuit like a blogger
I've read a lot of magazine articles on how to wear a jumpsuit correctly. Jumpsuits are bloody hard to pull off you know - you only meant to wear them with heels apparently (honestly, I read that!), with a blazer and a chunky belt. Hell no. None of the articles gave me what I wanted to hear. I wanted the simplicity of a blogger's outfit. Yes, I wanted to hear that I can wear a fancy jumpsuit with a pair of white trainers and a cross body camera bag. Thank you blogger world, you are the best!

The ultimate jumpsuit
I find it ever so difficult to find a good fitting jumpsuit (half of the blame lies on my short legs but still). The one I'm wearing above is, believe it or not, from Primark - the fit's fantastic but the material is a bit pants - it's really thin so unless it's a warm sunny day outside (yet it must not be more than 23 degrees because then you start sweating like a beast) it's rather difficult to leave the house in it. I came across this beautiful black longline jumpsuit on the Coast website (click here) - it's cinched at the waist which gives an incredibly flattering figure & the back is actually tie up so you can play about with it and create different shapes & patterns. How gorgeous, man! And I bet you won't feel a breeze in it either!

The blogger bag
Now to style up such a gorgeous (and traditionally an evening) piece you need a bag that's more on the casual side of things. A cross body will do. I must have been sleeping under a rock but who knew there's a YSL Blogger bag (see here)??! It won't even remotely fit in everything you need but hey - a lipstick & an eyeliner is all a girl can live off for the day, right?

The simple accessories
Keeping the accessories simple means you're less likely to stray from the casual sporty style. About 90% of the time I pick silver over gold - just because I feel like it is A) more casual and B) suits my skin tone better. Even if you're to pick gold then I do recommend that you stick with overly simple shapes - a pair of dainty hoops, a classic watch and perhaps a little pendant for good luck. You can find all these on the F.Hinds website (click here) - including the most gorgeous St Christopher pendant I've ever laid my eyes on.

The cover up
A blogger would most likely wear a leather jacket from Zara (because those are apparently the leather jackets to live for) but I'm more of a baggy duster coat kinda girl so I'd wear this pinky duster from Coast (click here). It looks so so comfy - it's asking for the sleeves to be rolled up and to be thrown on over the jumpsuit!

The Stan Smiths
The ultimate pair of white trainers that I've been coveting for a good few months - I may have or may have not ordered a pair online as we speak. Just saying.

How do you feel about dressing down evening fashion pieces?
Is it really true that white trainers go with EVERYTHING or is it just a myth?

How to wear a jumpsuit like a blogger


How to wear a jumpsuit like a blogger

Pesto soda bread with pesto & olives recipe

Lately I have been really enjoying my weekend dose of cooking & baking (the Real Housewives of the Black Country coming to your screen soon!). I have posted this recipe originally about two years ago now but thought - you know what, I bake this bloody bread at least once a month so might as well brush off this old recipe & repost it for you to enjoy (with a touch more experience of a seasoned baker - yeah, right - me). Here it is - my ridiculously delicious (yes I've said it!) soda bread with pesto & olives.

Originally I found the recipe in my favourite cookbook - it's called Step-by-Step Cook's Encyclopedia (bought in it Asda for a fiver almost a year ago - now I can only find it on Amazon here for £23). If you're a beginner then I can't recommend this book enough - the recipes in it are fairly simple (you don't have to go out and buy 5234534 ingredients you otherwise wouldn't need), they show you every single step in a photograph and although it's not specifically called a budget recipe book, it's definitely at least pocket friendly.


Soda Bread with Pesto & Olives
Especially delicious with homemade butter & a pinch of salt!
  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp pesto of choice
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 55g pitted olives
  • a dash of olive oil
  • a cup of milk
1. Mix flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
2. Mix pesto and buttermilk together and add into the flour mix together with olives. Add water if needed (must be lukewarm, not cold).
3. Shape the dough into a ball and then squash it into a super thick pancake. Make a deep cross cut with a knife across the loaf. Brush with milk & bake in a preheated oven (200ºC) on a baking paper greased with olive oil for 30 minutes.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: One loaf

Have you tried baking bread before?
If so, what your favourite bread recipe?     

Pesto soda bread with pesto & olives recipe


Baked figs in wine sprinkled with cheddar Sweet & crumply blueberry cake Crispy roasted chickpeas Image Map


Soda bread with pesto & olives

Latest in beauty from Yves Rocher
Have you missed my borderline regular posts on my love affair with Yves Rocher? I bet you did! And they are back in full force! When we were in the Czech Republic in August I had the chance to peruse a few high street branches of Yves Rocher in Prague - and they were all so bloody pretty, full of beautifully smelling perfumes & potions, lipsticks in shimmering shades and pearlescent nail polish bottles. I'm always so smitten with their products, it makes me wonder why are blogs not yet overflowing with them! Especially with all these new products they've added to their range!

Well-being & nutrition
Not many probably know that Yves Rocher also offers a range of well-being products. I've tried their tea which was so different from what you get in a supermarket - the teabags come in those adorable silk pyramids & they are a joy to use! They now have a new Rooibos blend (click here), yum! Plus they now also have a candle (see here) in their range - how pretty is that!

Body care products
There are two new collections worthy noting - a bourbon vanilla (click here) & coconut (explore here). Everything vanilla scented I've tried from Yves Rocher smelled good enough to eat - from their perfumes to shower gels. And I'm especially tempted by these new shower oils (see here)!

Hair care
I can't recall whether I've ever tried their shampoos but they do have some new intriguing additions in the hair care department - like this Combing cream (buy here) & the Exceptional serum (click here).

Make-up & palettes
The golden packaging of these gets me every time - there's something very luxurious about products that come in golden tones, isn't there? The most recent additions to the Yves Rocher range are this Lipstick palette (see here) & a matching Eye shadow palette (admire here).

The new Botanical colour polishes (explore here) look exceptionally intriguing - they promise sparkling nails for the festive season, all that with an extreme shine finish & a new fan brush. Yes please.

Don't forget - Yves Rocher do the most tremendous sale events! The Black Friday sale this year will have up to 70% off on a selection off 70 products so if you're thinking about placing an order, it might be worth the wait (and you can throw in a few more things whilst waiting!).

Have you tried Yves Rocher yet?
What's your favourite products?

Latest in beauty from Yves Rocher


Latest in beauty from Yves Rocher

Cafe Rouge Birmingham review
There has been so many new bars and restaurants popping up around Birmingham that sometimes you forget about the staples we already have (& love) in the city. I mean it's not every day that you want your cocktail covered under a veil of a heavy white fog or your dinner to come in those tiny terracotta dishes smothered in oil. Sometimes you just fancy a roasted duck, a glass of red wine and a belly-bursting amount of cheese. Well, Cafe Rouge's got your back. And their restaurants are placed rather strategically around the whole Birmingham city centre - in the quaint Brindley Place, in the manic Bullring and in the high end Mailbox. 

French cuisine at your fingertips - and now the leaves have coloured red & yellow Cafe Rouge has revamped the menu to suit the foggy mornings, chilly lunch walks & nights that come too early. The autumn menu features a couple more steaks and hearty options to give you the warm and fuzzy belly feeling we're all after these days.

From their starters I'd pick the Champignons a L'ail any day. They remind me of those childhood family trips to an abandoned castle somewhere in the middle of the Czech Republic where we spent the whole morning picking mushrooms and then we'd eat them fried on toast until our bellies were so full that we'd just snuggle up in front of the telly with a cuppa and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. Dishes that remind you of your childhood are they best, aren't they?

I'm a duck obsessive so when I spot it on the menu there's no going back. Cafe Rouge makes an exquisite Confit de Canard. It's so ridiculously tender that you question all your previous eating out decisions. I could eat it every day. On the weekdays I'd eat with their orange sauce because it gives it a spicy kick to wake you up and on the weekend I'd dip it in their cherry sauce - it's oh so sweet and comforting.

You must not forget to try their Selection de Fromages (a cheeseboard if you like). I have found my personal goats cheese favourite through this very cheeseboard. It's called Rond du Cher & I urge you to specifically request this one kind if goats cheese is your cuppa tea. It's so buttery and soft and makes you want to smother your face in it.

Oh and have I mentioned the Creme Brûlée? You'd be a fool if you didn't try it! The gentleman sat at the table next to us shamelessly shouted that this is the BEST brûlée he's EVER had (and he was only half way through his cup).

Have I swayed you for a spot of French cuisine next week?

If the answer's YES (or even if it's a no but you just like when others pay for your dinner) then head over to my Twitter (HERE) to win a dinner for two at one of the Birmingham Cafe Rouge restaurants! 

T&Cs for the giveaway:
🍴The meal for two is up to the value of £60 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers
🍴The prize can be only be redeemed in one of Café Rouge’s three Birmingham restaurants: Brindley Place, The Bullring and The Mailbox
🍴Must be redeemed by Monday, November 28th 2016
🍴Prize will be drawn on Monday, October 31st 2016
🍴If we do not hear from the winner within 24 hours then another prize winner will be chosen at random
🍴The prize is as stated and cannot be transferred, sold or exchanged. There is no cash alternative

Cafe Rouge Birmingham review
Cafe Rouge Birmingham review
Cafe Rouge Birmingham review
Cafe Rouge Birmingham review
Cafe Rouge Birmingham review


When in Cafe Rouge for the Confit de Canard (& WIN a dinner for two!)

How to prune a fiddle leaf fig
Fiddle leaf figs have become the ultimate Pinterest houseplant. You want a Pinterest-esque living room? A FIDDLE LEAF is the answer, obviously! You might know that I'm completely and utterly in love with fig plants - my life goal is to collect all 500 species. Yes, I know, that's a lot of figs but you gotta dream big, right? I've had my two fiddle leaf figs for a few months now (in fact it's probably close to a year!) and, touch wood, they are making their momma proud! Today I thought I'd show you how I'm pruning them to get the oh so pinnable tree-like trunk with a large crown & humongous leaves.

🌿 Despite the general belief that it's dangerously easy to overwater a fiddle leaf fig, I water mine very very generously (to say the least!). I believe that you need to take into consideration how dry the air in your room is and how much sunlight the fig gets. Mine are right next to the window sill and the house is quite cold so we often have the heating on - this means that the soil dries out very quickly!

🌿 I've repotted mine once since I got them but I do think they will need bigger pots before winter comes, they are getting pretty damn big & I can now see their roots poking out of the soil a little bit!

🌿 Don't be afraid of pruning! I was dead scared the first time around. Horrified, to be honest. They grew so big & beautiful but started bending because they were essentially just a long stick with loads of large heavy leaves on it. In June I took the plunge and chopped off the tops off. I took at least 3-4 leaves worth off the top (aim the cut just above the leaf or one knuckle up)! The figs branched out almost immediately!! It took me by surprised how quickly they grew their new side branches.  

🌿 The second time I pruned was a few weeks ago. The side branches started growing really tall again bending the stem to the side. I just chopped off the tops of the side branches just like I did during my first pruning. It's important you prune your fiddle leaf when it's in the growth period which is apparently June-August.

🌿 I also chopped off a few leaves from the bottom to allow the stem to grow stronger & wider to get the signature crown shape at the top.

🌿 Now the hardest thing for me was to throw away those beautiful leaves. Well, it was so hard I didn't. I thought - if you can propagate one kind of fig tree (see my post on the full process here) then you can surely do the same with another kind. And you can!!! I've put the leaves in a cup full of water for a few weeks and boom! I've got about 20 new fiddle leaf plants!

Don't forget to check out my guide to fig plants here! There's also a picture of my fiddle leaf from a few months back.

Would you like me to giveaway some of these?
I know fiddle leaves are ever so expensive to buy!  


How to prune (& propagate) a fiddle leaf fig

Follow @CITYSCAPEBLISS on instagram

Translate to Czech

English to Czech
© Cityscape Bliss. Design by Fearne.