Laura for ASOS (and coffee cake!)

la coco noire katie leask photography surrey photographer 010

A few images from my shoot with LBL Boutique a little while back. During these shoots, I always try to take a few more 'creative' pictures of my own that I can use for my personal portfolio, as well as photographing the clothes for ASOS and the brands website. I also have exciting news about a fashion show event coming up that I will post as soon as I know more about it!

In other news, last night I baked another coffee cake. Baking at my house is so much more stressful than baking at Mikey's. At his, everything has its own specific place, and the cupboard is arranged in boxes and tubs (the neat-freak in me rejoices!), whereas at mine it's a bit of a free-for-all and only if you're lucky will you make it through the whole recipe without having to go out and get something mum was so sure you already had. This time, it was eggs. I had to go out, in my pyjamas, and get eggs. Thanks mum.

The recipe for this coffee cake is here but this time I got funky, threw the boat out, and in a mad fit added chocolate chunks on top. Mental. AND, this time I managed to photograph the finished piece before my Dad got his mitts on it, smiles all round!




Coffee Cappuccino Cake Recipe!

As you can see, I didn't even get a chance to photograph this thing before it was already half way gone. Vultures, I tell you, vultures. But. This was sooooooo easy to make - the whole thing was mixed up and in the oven within 15 minutes. Considering how good it tastes, I cannot recommend this cake recipe highly enough for anyone who wants to eat cake but can't really be bothered to spend hours slaving in the kitchen. Aka me. This cake is for me (but you're welcome to try it too).

Ingredients: (Cake) 225g soft butter  //  225g muscovado sugar  //  225g self raising flower  //  1 tsp baking powder  //  4 large eggs  //  4 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp of boiling water

(Icing) 175g soft butter  //  350g icing sugar  //  4 tsp instant coffee dissolved again

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and butter two round cake tins. Mix all of the cake ingredients together - except the coffee - and when they're smoothly mixed...add the coffee (I'm serious...that's literally it). Divide between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes.

While that's getting its bake on, mix the butter and sugar together for the icing. When mixed add the instant coffee again. Voila.

Nowwwwwww when the cake is out of the oven and cooled down, you can either leave it as it is or cut the cakes in half and make a four tier cake. Your choice! We made a three tier cake because one of the layers didn't make it to the icing process before being eaten. We couldn't wait for it to cool down and it looked and smelt SO GOOD. No regrets. Anyway, If you do make this, I'd love to know what you thought of it and how it went down with a cup of tea in the morning. I've got my eye on a Zebra cake from Lily Vanilli's Sweet Tooth book this Wednesday too...



BTS #1¦ Utopia Magazine Shoot

After almost eight hours in the same room, four different make up looks, four different hair styles and about 1,500 photographs, we all started to lose the plot a little and were crowded round the camera in hysteria over Jess's 'come hither' eyes. This shoot was so much fun; radio on, bags of make up and clothes everywhere and some great conversations about airbrushing Naomi Campbell's face into all the pictures. This is what happens when you put 5 girls into a small room and leave them there all day.

Anyway, the shoot is for Utopia magazine  - an upcoming publication that will be on sale somewhere very exciting (that I'm not allowed to say yet, but I'm itching to!) very soon. It is going to be a bi-annual women's beauty and technology magazine, in print format and a downloadable app, full of thought provoking content and eye-catching editorials run by the lovely Alex Stone.

The magazine draws inspiration from two very influential people. Firstly, Lucy McRae and her exploration of technology, science and the body (if you want a better idea, have a look at this video - it's fascinating). And secondly Chris Troumazou, a scientist, inventor and director of the Centre for Bio-Inspired technology. He's won loads of awards for science-y things and is, by all accounts, a pretty impressive chap. As you can probably tell by now, the magazine aims to fuse beauty with technology and will explore the opportunities that science has to offer to womens long-held quest for 'perfection' through beauty products. Hence the name 'Utopia': an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. 

These editorial images will run alongside engaging articles as well as interviews with designers. I cannot wait to share the finished, retouched images when I'm allowed to, or to get my hands on the first edition of the magazine (the wait will kill me!). Very, very excited!  But for now, the behind the scenes pictures will have to do!




katie-leask-photography-la-coco-noire-fashion-portrait-08Model: Jessica Brewer  //  Styling: Alex Stone  //  Make up and hair: Georgia Chabrel at G.L.C Makeup 

** blogpost features words by Alex Stone.

The softest knitwear from ASOS

If you buy one thing this week, can I urge you to make it this jumper from independent seller Little by Little on ASOS marketplace? It is now officially the softest item in my wardrobe, not to mention the most adorable. I was genuinely taken aback at the quality of this jumper considering the price, which is £32!!!! Oh! the things I'd do if my bank account would let me...I'd stock up on these enough to last me till 2050!

You can buy it on ASOS here or on the site website here.




Chocolate Orange Boston Cream Pie Recipe!

This. Was absolutely marvelous. If I tell you that my Dad laughed in the face of seconds and carried straight on to fifths, you might be half way to understanding how delicious this cake was. Especially with our impromptu chocolate orange topping (which you can leave normal chocolate if you prefer). Make this cake. Really, truly, seriously, have a bake.

Ingredients for the cake: 225g plain flour  //  1 tbsp baking powder  //  pinch of salt  //  115g softened butter  //  200g caster sugar  //  2 eggs  //  1 tsp vanilla extract  //  175 ml milk

Ingredients for the filling: 250ml milk  //  3 egg yolks  //  90g caster sugar  //  25g plain flour //  1 tbsp butter //  1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for chocolate glaze: 25g Terry's chocolate orange  //  1 tbsp butter  //  50g icing sugar  //  1 tbsp vanilla extract  //  1 tbsp hot water

Method:  (Cake) Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Grease and line two cake tins. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and then add the eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract and milk. Slowly add the sifted flour and then the baking powder. Divide batter into the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. Simple.

(Filling) Heat the milk to boiling point in a small pan. In another heat bowl, beat the egg yolks and gradually add the flower. Add the warm milk to the yolks and the flour, beating constantly. When mixed in, put this mixture into a bain marie and stir constantly until thickened (this takes a while so be patient!). Then remove from heat. Stir in the softened butter and vanilla extract and leave to cool.

(Chocolate glaze) Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie. When melted, remove from heat and add icing sugar and vanilla extract. If needed, add some hot water to give a spreadable consistency.

Allow everything to cool properly and then assemble your cake (you may need to flatten the tops of the sponges by cutting them off if you're a fussy cake maker!). Sponge,  custard filling, sponge, then chocolate glaze. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top for effect. We put some more Terry's chocolate orange segments ontop too because who wouldn't want more Terry's. And there you have it, my dad's new favourite sweet treat. FYI - the cake it makes is quite small (for my standards anyway), so I would advise baking two, or three or four if you want to be eating it for days - which you do - because this lasted about 3 minutes in my house.



BTS #3¦ Utopia Magazine Shoot




Angel Cake recipe

Ever since I was a little'un, I always had a thing about angel cake. Something about the pink and yellow colouring that appealed to my little six year old self and made my younger years so prettily, sweetly satisfying. Anyway, until recently I hadn't eaten any for years, but when out shopping with my mum I saw it on the shelf and the mini-me inside rejoiced. This was short lived though, because it was soooo dry and completely unlike the heavenly sponge I'd built up in my head.  Gah. Sooooo, I decided that in order to curb my cravings, I'd just have to bake my own. Et voila, here we have my precious little angel cake which, if I do say so myself, is reeeeeeeally bloody good. So good I have had 3 slices so far today already. Angel cake is once again angelic in my mind.

I had soooo much trouble finding a recipe for this online (why don't people bake angel cake?!) so will post my method on here. I swapped it up a bit because we didn't have all the ingredients and there didn't seem to be enough filling mixture with the one I found online -  but I can confirm that even with the slight adjustments, it came out peeeeeerfect so you can trust me, promise.

Ingredients for cake:  200g soft butter  //  270g caster sugar  //  3 beaten eggs  //  270g plain flour  //  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder  //  1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract  //  225ml buttermilk  //  red and yellow food colouring

Ingredients for filling: 120g soft butter  //  280g icing sugar  //  1 tablespoon milk  //  1 teaspoon vanilla extra

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. In a bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar. Add the eggs bit by bit. Then add half the flour, followed by half the buttermilk. Stir up! Then add the rest of the flour and buttermilk.

Divide it into three and add yellow food colouring to one and red to another. Bake for 30-40 minutes. When they're done, leave them to cool. You can neaten them up and cut the sides into perfect lines and stuff if you're OCD, or you can throw them all together in a rustic mess like me (the more cake the better!).

Then you gotta make the buttercream. Mix the butter and the icing sugar together in a bowl, add vanilla extract and if it's too stiff add a little milk to loosen it up. Then slather it in between the layers of the cake and lick the remainder out of the bowl. Sorted.

Voila, and incredibly delicious angel cake that won't last more than five minutes.




Follow me on Bloglovin'

While these cookies may have no relation whatsoever to following me on Bloglovin', they also looked too cute and tasty for me to deny them space on the blog. (Their brother photos are here if you fancy some cookie lovin'.)

ANYWAY. I don't know if many of you use Bloglovin but I have been obsessed - and I mean obssessed - with it for well over a year now. All my favourite blogs in one easy, endlessly scrolling feed. HEAVEN. If you haven't got it - what are you waiting for!? And if you have got it - do you love it as much as me? (No). And why aren't you following me yet?! Go on, not only do I know you're desperate to receive regular updates from me, but I know you're gonna love the angel cake recipe I've got brewing for this weekend...

But, back to the point - after finally upgrading to a new domain name I had to reclaim my blog on bloglovin', so here is my new feed. Follow follow follow! Aaaaaand if you've got an account, please link me it! I'd love to read them (especially if they contain food in any form).

❤ links i love


What have I been loving online this week?

  • This blog post featuring my dream apartment and basically everything I aspire to have in life. So beautiful.

  • These gorgeous tablescapes making me never want to use a table for eating on again.

  • This other apartment I would happily occupy if the other one wasn't available.

  • And this amazing photographer who has made me desperate to get my teeth back into wedding photography this summer!

the BEST pancake recipe!

Happy pancake day!

It took many years of enduring my Dad's runny, mangled, un-aesthetically pleasing pancakes to realise that pancake day didn't have to be ugly. A few years ago, in stepped Nigella Lawson and her American breakfast pancakes that changed my pancake experience for the better. It makes the thickest, most delicious pancakes that don't fall apart and are so easy to flip (because what else is a pancake for?!)

The recipe for the batter is: 2 beaten eggs  //   30g melted butter (+extra for frying)  //  300ml milk  //  225g plain flour  //  pinch of salt  //  teaspoon of white sugar.

Mix it all together and cook each side for around 1-2 minutes and I promise you won't ever look back. Then I like to absolutely coat mine in maple syrup and sugar - but bananas and nutella is a close second. The other thing is these are SO if you have one (or six) for elevenses, you'll probably be fine until dinner with no snacks. Which practically makes them healthy. Amen.


Valentine's Dinner

It is with great joy that I post these pictures. Great, great, great joy. Because I am proud to declare that I am going out with Jamie Oliver. Not the Jamie Oliver admittedly, but the Whyteleafe-builder equivalent, who as far as I'm concerned is better looking and just as equally talented behind an oven. He's called my boyfriend and yes I might be biased but the pictures do not lie! I've written before on this blog about how amazing he is at cooking and if anything, he's actually got better at it over summer. We realized how handy he was with a frying pan after moving to Paris when - surprisingly seeing as my mum's been a cooking teacher since I was born - it was him that cooked dinner practically every single night (and I'll gloss over the fact he once fried frozen chicken nuggets in a wok after a night out in Montparnasse).

You know there are some people that just cook and it works, and then there are some people who fuss about over a menu and get stressed about messiness? Well, he's type 1 and I'm type 2. To the point where when he's cooking, I stress and tidy up around him and he gets annoyed at me for washing up things he hasn't even used yet.

Anyway, without further ado, here is what we had for dinner on Saturday; Mikey is obsessed with pâté at the minute so for starter we had some of that lovingly smushed into (apparently Tesco didn't have a heart shaped cutter) with soda bread and caramelized onion and raisin chutney. Adiowefujbsduvshfiaf, indeed. After that we had steak cooked in the way that only Mikey knows how, with honeyed carrots that no one does better than Mikey, and potatoes à la, you guessed it, Mikey. He also gets annoyed at me when I insist on photographing things he's cooked and complains that it will get cold but I point blanc refused not to document this angelic meal.

valentines dinner katie-leask-la-coco-noire-005

valentines dinner katie-leask-la-coco-noire-006

valentines dinner katie-leask-la-coco-noire-008

We got a pizza the next day and I ate my body weight in chocolate, drank wine, and laughed my ass off to Jon Richardson's stand up DVD. An understated, inexpensive and absolutely perfect Valentine's weekend with my favourite person in the world.

valentines dinner katie-leask-la-coco-noire-009

valentines dinner katie-leask-la-coco-noire-010

valentines dinner katie-leask-la-coco-noire-011

Laura for ASOS CLR

On Friday, I shot the latest clothing for ASOS's multibrand, Little by Little. This is a shoot I normally do around once a month as they get new stock in and a lovely, relaxing way to spend a morning. This particular shoot was even better than normal because the clothes list contained so many jumpers and if there's one thing I can't's a good old reliable jumper. I live, eat, sleep and breathe in them. And they were so soft. It was positively heavenly.

Anyway, this shoot had a really fun, playful feel actually as the brand manager had brought along all these pretty pastel ribbon decoration things. Despite the fact they fell down in between practically every shot (a reminder to invest in stronger cello-tape next time!) they looked so cuuuute as the backdrop.

The lovely model is Laura who I've shot with quite a few times before: for a Little by Little shoot last October, the LookBook, and aaaaages ago in Richmond Park to name a few.  She's sick at modelling.

la coco noire katie leask photography surrey photographer dual 3

la coco noire katie leask photography surrey photographer 002 la coco noire katie leask photography surrey photographer dual 1

All clothing will soon be available to buy on ASOS.

Valentine Smarties Bouquet

There are a lot of things I could have decided to make Mikey this Valentines Day. But this, well this is something else. May I proudly present to you THE SMARTIES BOUQUET. If there's one thing that really screams I LOVE YOU, it's 24 tubes of smarties cello-taped to cocktail sticks  and wrapped in tissue paper. I don't think it's possible to declare love any more than this. This is the pinnacle of love declaration.

I am very, very lucky to have the most loving, generous and downright bloody great boyfriend in the world who deserves nothing other than great big gestures of chocolate-smartie-bouquet-loving. After our early Valentine's dinner last night because we just simply couldn't wait (pictures soon, prepare to salivate!), our actual Vals day might be spent under a duvet with a takeaway and the huuuuge Red Velvet cake we baked yesterday. Best Valentine's ever? Yep.
valentines idea bouquet katie leask photography la coco noire 001

valentines idea bouquet katie leask photography la coco noire 004 DUAL

valentines idea bouquet katie leask photography la coco noire 002

Valentine's Cupcakes

Happy Valentines! 

These are some beeeeautiful cupcakes I got given today at a photoshoot. I love photoshoots and I love cupcakes so overall, today was a good day. No, actually today was a GREAT day because I came home from the shoot and Mikey cooked me an (early) Valentines dinner. And then we baked a red velvet cake. And then put Jack Whitehall's stand up on and died laughing. So basically, today has been brilliant and the weekend hasn't even started yet.

Here is a recipe to a strawberry flavoured cupcake (because it tasted absolutely unreal and I can't believe I've never had one before). I think I might also be trying this recipe if the finished red velvet cake tastes as good as the batter did earlier.

cupcakes katie leask la coco noire 03 small

Reading List #1

Seeing as I'm big into reading, or at least I am when I can find the time between reading 16th century French psychological novels by Flaubert (oh hey there fourth year French student), I thought I'd start a small 'reading list'. Now, I love book recommendations. I love how when someone tells you to read a book that they love, that book always reminds you of them somehow - as if you've got inside their mind by getting inside their favourite book. I know, I'm inherently odd but it is really is kind of true. I also love how when I finish a book and it was really, really good, I pester my mum until she reads it as well. Shared book love, it's a magical thing. So instead of just sharing books with my mum and incessantly asking her if she's got to [x] part yet and oh my god what did she think of [y], I'm going to share them on here. Because everyone needs some more books in their life. 

So, welcome to Reading List #1. Hopefully the first of many books that I will force upon you until you've read them and loved them as much as me. No problemo. So my first book.....

book club reading katie leask photography la coco noire 002

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Now, please be aware that I know exactly how generic and tumblr and typical and oh-my-god-i-love-john-green ish this is as the first book into my reading list. BUT also please be aware that I really, really, really do not care. And that there is a reason why people gravitate so heavily towards John Green and all of his wonderful writing. Especially this book.

It genuinely made me laugh, and then it genuinely made me cry. I was sitting on a crowded metro in Paris with tears flooding down my face and sniveling into my jumper. What a total catch, I know. The film is great, yeah, and I'm not ashamed to admit I cried right the way through it, but OH MY GOD the book is just so much better than any film could ever be. John Green just has this way with words that makes all of his books so easy to read, but then between the lines there is just so much more to get from his stories and this is so much more than a simple novel about a young girl with cancer. Seriously. It's a beautiful book, it's beautifully written, it's beautifully funny and it's beautifully beautiful.

I promise that my book choices won't always be this obvious - I've read some really abstract nonsense in my time and they will all get their due. But, John Green, I - and almost every young adult in the western world - salute you wholeheartedly for one of the most delightful and heart-breaking collection of pages ever written.

book club reading katie leask photography la coco noire 003

book club reading katie leask photography la coco noire 004

book club reading katie leask photography la coco noire 005