How to bake Eccles Cakes.

So over the weekend I caught up on the Great Sport Relief Bake Off, and as part of one of the episodes they made Eccles cakes, now either my memory failed me or I have never had these brilliant baked goods. So to entertain my curiosity of this baked treat I made some using my mum's trusty Delia Smith cookery book and adapted the recipe to the allsortment of ingredients in out house at the time...

For the Quick Flaky Pastry:
255g plain flour
175g butter
a pinch of salt

For the Filling:
75g butter
150g demerara sugar
150g currants
1tsp of cinnamon or more in my case

  1. To make the pastry, weigh the butter, then wrap it in a piece of foil and freeze it for 30 minutes.
  2. Then sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
  3. Remove the butter from the freezer, and grate it in to the flour and salt. Stir/cut it in with a knife.
  4. Mix in a little cold water to create a dough, and chill in the fridge for 30minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
  6. Now for the filling! Melt the butter and sugar together in a pan, then stir in the currants and cinnamon.
  7. Roll out the pastry, and cut in to circles.
  8. Place some of the filling in the middle of the circles and create parcels.
  9. Make 3 slits in the top of the pastry and brush with milk and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  10. Bake for 15minutes.
  11. Eat with a cup of tea as with all baked goodies!

XO, Miriam

P.S. Did you know I am on instagram? @ englishmademoiselle

Do I have to be Skinny to be a Fashion Blogger?

This stems from many things: experience at secondary school, pop culture and a recent #fbloggers chat. I want to talk about body image, and our perceptions of beauty and what is normal within blogging and the fashion industry.

Now, I must admit I am not exactly big nor am I stick thin, but as someone who struggles to find shops that cater  for my slimmer build I think it is time we questioned the uneven production of clothes sizes. Please discuss this and feel free to criticise my point of view I am being curious about the industry that I am interested in.

Within Blogging 

I find that being skinny has a stigma attached to it, and that people ask questions and make judgements about your personality about your size internally but never to you:

She doesn't represent a 'real' woman

Now I know the above comment is slightly sexist and that boys have their size questioned along with their muscle tone, but I find that generally women are more judgmental about the way people look. There are skinny bloggers and there are normal bloggers, I must have missed when being slim became abnormal. I will give you an example: I was charity shop shopping with my friend earlier after a coffee, and she said "you go look at your freakishly small clothes while I look at the normal one" now from her I don't mind as we do occasionally laugh at the sometimes comical size difference, but I didn't know being small, slim or skinny was freakish or weird.

But juxtaposed to this are bloggers who consider themselves to be bigger saying I need to be skinny to create #OOTD posts. Number 1: no you don't need to be skinny or smaller than you are, there is always someone who will be a similar size that will take inspiration from your blog. Number 2: but if you want to lose weight that is a personal thing that you can share with your readers but not just to create a different style of post.

The is also the Pro-Ana community on blogging platforms such as Tumblr, which although most people oppose them I think are okay, I have scrolled through the tag recently, and yes the people there suffer from eating disorders but they are finding other people like them to help them through it, and if one of those people recovers and tells the others then it might just help. Non? But on the other hand there are posts like this:

I also find that if you are smaller you are just another fashion blogger in a sea of many.

My last comment on blogging: You don't have to be skinny to blog, you can be who ever you want to be, just so long as you are happy doing what you do.

My Experiences

I know I have already talked about one personal experience in this post but there are a few others I think I ought to mention. At secondary school in about Year 8 I was called anorexic, now being 12 I thought nothing of it, but now looking back I cannot work out if it is meant as a compliment or an insult about my then very skinny body shape?

The second it that I found that it is okay to insult smaller people because the have "nice bodies" but if you insult a bigger person it is instantly bullying and must be dealt with. It doesn't make anysense to me, or maybe its because I am small.

I also find it a real struggle to find anything in a size 6 or 8 in things I like, there seem to be less of these sizes made, esspecially for tall gals like me shops assume that because you are tall you should be size 10+ hence my preference for Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch jeans.

One quick note on models: can we stop saying that ultra skinny models aren't real women?

 I have wanted to write this for a while, I feel I ought to say that I don't mean to offend anyone I just don't understand the stigma attached to being smaller. I also want to apologise for using the word skinny so much, but I think slim is considered to still have some nice curves (just me?)

xo, Miriam

P.S. What do you think? Tweet me at @coffeechanel

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink.

I didn't meet anyone in my year at school who hasn't watched Mean Girls including all the boys, such a pity we had school uniform as I am pretty sure quite a few of us would have followed this rule.


Mean Girls, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging and Wild Child were my film bibles as a tween and young teenager even if they weren't entirely accurate, they were good films and gave people like me hope in a clique filled secondary school!

So in honor of the fact that Mean Girls is turning 10 on the 30th of April of the year I have created a very pink outfit, using my pink checked shirt from Crew and my sisters lacy skirt from H&M, 10x preppier than Karen Smith and Co. ever would. I just wish I had my new Chelsea boots when I took these photos last weekend, they would have matched perfectly, especially with some frilly socks!

There are certainly perks to being that same size as my sister, I get to wear her clothes!

Now I really Must get back to studying if I am ever going to pass this course, wish me luck *cries at the amount of deadlines I have*  no but seriously I must go and study!

XO, Miriam

P.S. How do you wear pink? and will you be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Mean Girls?

P.S.S. I know it is a Sunday ;)

Rainy Days Playlist.

I find that on those rainy days spent indoors with a duvet, hot chocolate, and a good book, there is always certain songs/artists that I gravitate to. Songs to block out the sound of rain on the window panes, and songs to just sit and listen to, and ones that remind you of days spent exploring new places.

So here are my Top 7 Songs (7 is my lucky number) for rainy days:

Number 1:

Orelia Has Orchestra - Suggestions

Number 2:

Lianne La Havas - Au Cinema

Number 3:

Lorde - Buzzcut Season

Number 4:

Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah 

Number 5:

Coldplay - The Scientist 

Number 6:

You Me At Six - Loverboy

Number 7:

Trent Dabbs - Counting Sleep 

XO, Miriam

The Small Things: A Penny Watch

I am sad to say that this is not mine, and that I have only worn it once. It is actually my boyfriends and if you have seen my other recent posts you will know he has another gorgeous watch neither of which I can keep for myself, I joke I wouldn't want to. Anyway you can't tell the time that well on it but the penny you see inside it is REAL, and from 1927, pennies were huge back then! And all I can think of is that similar coins would have been being produced by the mint during the time frame in which Downton Abbey is set.... must find a new addiction!

xo, Miriam

There is a hole in my soul.

I have re-discovered the wonder that is Bastille over the last few weeks along with some other amazing artists, who's lyrics will probably become blog titles over the next few weeks and months. It can't just be me who finds a new artist every week of the year and can't stop listening to them. Anyway the point is that these are some of my favourite outfit post photos I have even taken using the timer because I was dancing by myself and singing as loud as possible, because you have to when you are home alone right? Right?

Ahh a normal pose, but just you wait!
I picked up the cute panda printed tee in the sales from Urban Outfitters, and I have loved it ever since! I have worn both the blazer (old school uniform) and the skort (Zara) in posts before but I couldn't help myself and just had to share this outfit, plus I haven't worn them together so it counts right?
I learnt this from a Micheal McIntyre show on telly a few weeks back, say "prune" instead of "cheese" in a photo and you will pout...
Can we just take a moment to realise how long my legs are?
PANDAS! You don't understand my love for these creatures I mean just look at them, also Google Baby Pandas!
The peace sign with my fingers means smile in Japan!
XO, Miriam

P.S. I know the calender is last years, I haven't got a 2014 one yet....

In A Perfect World.

If you follow me on twitter you will know that I have an exciting trip later on this year to India, that is all you get to know for now until I have paid it all and am on my way to the airport (don't quote me on that). I have been watching JacksGap YouTube videos for a while now, and I have enjoyed their rickshaw run videos, and the title of this post comes from the song played at the end: In a perfect world by The Sam Chase.

The temptation to get on this train to London Waterloo was unreal!

So today is a Thursday *OMG 1 more day to the weekend* I managed to roll out of bed and create an awfully nice outfit, if I am allowed to say so? I pulled on some jeans as I so often do on a college morning then I pulled out this sheer shirt with amazing cuff and collar details!

XO, Miriam 

The Book Club: IT

 If this isn't on almost every fashion enthusiasts bookshelf in the country yet, we are doing something wrong! I admit it not a novel in anyway shape or from, but it has taught me a thing or to about looking effortless:
"Looking effortless takes a lot of effort"

And heartbreak and most importantly how to get dressed in the morning when you aren't Little Miss Super Organised, I have my whole weeks worth of outfits hung up ready to go in my wardrobe kinda gal.

I also discovered that it is okay to take your summer clothing ideas from books, and how to wear eyeliner from rock bands in the 60's, 70's and 80's, but under no circumstances will I ever dress like I am from the 80's or 90's blugh please, I won't even wear a scrunchie again!

I wish I could say more on this darling little book, but I feel I might give away too much, or become boring so I will stop here and say, that you can read this in 40 minutes, but you will keep coming back to it, I know I will!
A* for Alexa

XO, Miriam

P.S. If you have this book, comment what you thought below!

I was enchanted to meet you.

Today I have been home ill due to a early morning fainting incident, so I have finally written up this posts the photos for which were taken on Saturday.

1 Chinese dress, a girl and some sunlight:

I adore this little area down the side of the house where my parents store the wood for the wood burners inside.
Ooo slits up the thighs, its a good job I like my legs... hehe.
The neck detail is just gorgeous sorry about the hair!

This photo demonstrates my new found skill of doing my eyeliner properly without trying about 5 times and going for the gothic look..
I picked up this stunning dress in my local Oxfam shop while browsing with a friend and I just had to try it on, and for a £10 it was an absolute bargain. As much as I adore the way this dress fits me, I would have no where to wear and I am now in the process of either creating a shorter dress of a top and a pair of shorts so I can wear it on a more day to day basis.

I styled it with my black chunky ankle boots and my leather jacket to toughen up the dress and create a look that isn't too"Memoirs of a Geisha"

XO, Miriam

The Small Things: My 1920's Bag

I think this is the start of a new style of blog post/series for this blog, as you all know I enjoy posting and talking about what I wear but the accessories don't really get much of a look in. Oh and by accessories I don't mean just jewelery and bags, we are talking which coffee I enjoy having in my hand as a walk across town to my favourite magazine that month.

So naturally I would start with a bag, I got this amazing one from my parents last year for my 17th birthday, I believe it is 1920's style, but either way I love it, it did have a chain so you could wear it over the shoulder, but I took it off and have temporarily misplaced it *cough* *cough* lost it *cough* *cough*.

 Great Gatsby Much?!

The beading and design of this bag is amazing, it fits really well with a lot of outfits, and even a jeans and tee combo, it makes you look put together without too much effort!

xo, Miriam

The Book Club: The Book Thief

My English teacher set this on a reading list for books that will make you a better person over the summer holidays last year, I only got around to reading it in December because my sister wanted me to read it before the film came out and I finished it on Tuesday. It is by far one of the most enchanting and hopeful books I have every read about WWII, but maybe that is due to it being more about Liesel (The Book Thief) than the war. When is came to the end of the book I can safely say I cried about 5 times, not just a couple of tears but full 5 minute sessions of sobbing over fictional characters that I only met 2 days before in the reading process.

"It's a small story about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery"

I can safely say some of my favourite bits in the book were the illustrations that were drawn by one of the characters Max, they are simple but oh so beautiful.With the story being narrated by death it prevented the situation from being morbid as you hear his perspective, and the fact that every soul he collects has a colour, based on the colour of the sky at the time of death. He also gives an honest but truthful note on humans:

"I am haunted by humans"

I like to think that something like this happened during the war as it would have made a place like Himmel Street near Munich a much better place to be than previously though. I hope you read this little gem of a book, and I appologise for being so awful at book reviews.

I read while listening to:

I can't be the only one who has a soundtrack to every book they read?
XO, Miriam

P.S. If you want to see sneak peaks at my fashion posts follow me on instagram: @englishmademoiselle

In the stillness of remembering.

So earlier on this year I had a good old rummage through my parents music collection both records and CD's and found Dark Side of the Moon, Rumours and other such gems. I have also made good use of their record player listening to my Vampire Weekend record, and many of theirs.

I was only really sparked to write this post when the new year arrived with a glow of energy and renewed hope, and my mum rediscovered her scrap books full of gig tickets and festival bands. She saw The Who, U2 and Tracy Chapman to name but a few! Not only that she attended Glastonbury festival 3 times, and has told me green fields are the best place to be if you have a hangover/headache or if you are a hippy..

This collection isn't all of the people she saw, it is missing Pink Floyd and The Who...

Having been to the Proms I was shocked to see that it only cost £4.50 for her too she them, and The Jam cost here £3.75, that's crazy!

I also just found this gorgeous cover of Dreams originally by Fleetwood Mac. This version is by Gabrielle Aplin and Bastille and I can't get enough of it. Hence the title of the post:

xoxo Miriam

P.S. What great covers have you heard? 

Scared of My Own Two Feet.

So 3 days late and I finally wish all you guys a Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful time I know I did! I also had some exciting news this morning, well it was exciting for me, I reached 20 bloglovin' followers which after the move from Wordpress to Blogger and losing 150 followers is really nice!

Moving on, I have been watching several YouTube videos on how to make getting dressed easier in the mornings! So I took on one of the tips that kept coming up:

"Choose a piece that you want to wear and create an outfit around it"

So today I chose this statement tunic top and paired it with my old school blazer and my brown leather trousers, for shoes I chose my converses because I wear them with everything...

This is just the best umbrella as it acts as a wind break as well! If I had waited just a few more minutes and there would have been blazing sunshine!

Going for the windswept look today, not that there was much choice.

I find that a black blazer is a staple in your wardrobe I just haven't found the right one, so I have taken to wearing my old over-sized school blazer with rolled sleeves.

I adore this combination of the small charm bracelets and my boyfriends watch, it looks so timeless to me.

This is my favourite necklace even if the chain only stays on because I have ties 4 knots in it..

So recently I have been rearranging my room due to the arrival of my new bed frame and a much needed not flat-pack set of drawers! So I have taken to making my room look very neat and tidy as well as very "fashion blogger" if there is such a style for a bedroom.

xo, Miriam

P.S. How do you get ready in the mornings without any last minute panics?

New Found Ideas.

Looking back at last year not only through my blog but through my journal and all the photos I took (not enough) I have found some new ideas, the main one being that I don't like the word resolution. It makes it sound like you can change over night, plus there is a connotation of lost hope and unrealistic goals. AKA. no longer for me.

who knew Theory of Knowledge lessons would do me good?

So instead I have come up with a set of ideas I would like to carry out in January and which ever ones make me feel better as a human being I will continue to do throughout the rest of 2014.

and what if you don't like any of them at the end?

Numbre 1: Write letters to people, using a pen and some paper. Spend the time to write words to the people I care about instead of relying on social media sites like Facebook.
I want to do this as I have a pen pal in The Netherlands, as well as other wonderful people I know in other places first and foremost France... Time to brush up my French and fast!

Numbre 2: Take 1 photo a day of daily things, considering home is where the heart is and as I might be leaving for university this year seems only right to remember my surroundings.

Numbre 3: Smile more. I recently discovered the Law of Attraction, and as a believer in karma it fits in quite neatly. I am going to take time to be more positive and smile more, in the hope that I will worry less.

Numbre 4: Write what I read down. I always think I don't read enough but I reckon if I write everything I read in one month or more down I will realise my head is stuck in a book more than I know.So naturally I started with IT by Alexa Chung, I read it in 30 minutes I think and I will probably read it many more times this year!

Finalement Numbre 5: Go for long walks, now I know this one sounds weird but I find that walking at a pace for a long time relaxes me and clears my head and saves the need for 2 hour long showers due to thinking.

xo, Miriam

P.S. Which of these ideas do you like the most?