Friday, 19 December 2014

CROWN & GLORY GLITTER BOWS

I love December for many, many reasons, but one of them is definitely how easy it is to find an excuse to dress up. Red lipstick all the time? It's festive, go for it! A velvet dress? Yes! Massive glittery accessories? Ahhhhh, sign me up!

I've been aware of hair accessory superheroes, Crown & Glory, for ages, but despite spending the summer daydreaming about being the kinda girl that could pull off a massive flower crown, I shied away. But it's Christmas! And this year, I've definitely been a lot braver about wearing what I want, without worrying if I looked silly (or like I was reverting to dressing like a primary school child!).


So I bought a bow! Three bows actually (this is obviously the start of a dangerous habit). I went for Crown & Glory's medium-sized hair bow - they also make tiny ones if you want to start out small, and huge ones if you are very, very brave!

This shameless selfie was taken the morning of my work's Christmas party (I was feeling my look! Can I live?!) and it was just so nice to feel super festive & glittery, and like I'd made a really big effort... when all I'd done was curl unwashed hair and put on a £10 ebay dress.

Crown & Glory - Medium hair bows - £6
The medium-size bows cost £6 each (which I reckon is seriously good value) and come attached with a crocodile clip to snugly attach to your hair. The bows are sort of bendy too, which means you can shape them to sit nicely on your head. I've worn them clipped into the side of my hair (as shown in the massive photo of my face), clipped over the band of a ponytail and at the front of a topknot... so far, so versatile.

I'm pretty sure Crown & Glory have stopped shipping for Christmas, but this could be a cute thing to wear on New Year, if you were so inclined!

Tis the season to wear glitter, tra la la la la...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

BLOOM & WILD

This time last year I was selling my house, which was exhausting and stressful, and something I'd really happily avoid doing again for a very long time. But there was a nice side to it - as my house had to be spotless and looking pretty ALL THE TIME (in case a potential buyer requested a visit with no notice), the house was always filled with flowers, and I loved it.

Since then I've been on a mission to buy myself fresh flowers whenever possible... which can surprisingly be a bit hard to find without paying a fortune! There's a beautiful little florist just round the corner from my flat who sell gorgeous (and affordable) flowers, but they seem to mainly sell to trade so they're only open once in a blue moon. Supermarket flowers are a bit hit and miss - when tulips are in season, Tesco is the best best best, but their pre-made bunches are a bit boring and often don't last long.

So, that's why my latest internet find is SO exciting. Say hello to Bloom & Wild...

 
Bloom & Wild deliver a regular sized bouquet of flowers in a flatpack box that is small enough to fit through your letterbox. They source their flowers directly from growers (cutting out several stages that hold up supermarket and florists' flowers), which means their bouquets are normally only three days old by the time they reach you (and will remain fresh and pretty for much longer).

Each bouquet is designed by professional florists and comes with simple arrangement instructions, so if you have no clue what to do, help is at hand.


Aaaand did I mention, you can order it as a subscription? As well as one-off bouquets (from £20), you can arrange to have flowers delivered weekly, fortnightly and monthly. Subscriptions start at £50 for three months, £100 for six months, or you can set up an ongoing subscription for £15 a bouquet (which essentially is the cost of one takeaway per month).

They've also got an introductory offer, so you can get your first bouquet for just £10 (BARGAIN). 

I'm seriously skint from Christmas shopping, but come payday, I'm going to order some to arrive in January - if there's ever an excuse to treat yourself to something colourful, it's the start of a new year!

Monday, 15 December 2014

PERSONALISED MARSHMALLOWS

If you're a bit instagram-obsessed, you might have heard of Boomf - a company that prints marshmallows with your instragram photos. It's a bit ridiculous (of course it's a bit ridiculous), but it's also a cute, quirky idea, that might be good if you're still feeling a bit stuck for Christmas present inspiration!


A little while ago, Boomf got in touch to offer me a box to try out. Each box contains nine mallows, measuring 4 x 4cm (fitting perfectly in a mug of hot chocolate, as you can see above!), and I have to say, it is surprisingly difficult to choose what ones to print!

Boomf box* - £15
In the end I went with a photo of my best pal Steph (as I knew she'd find it hilarious to be on a marshmallow), as well as a few food-themed instagrams (I loved the idea of a fried egg marshmallow!).

The printing quality seems pretty good overall - photos were a wee bit fuzzy, but I think that's got to be expected! The marshmallows taste nice too (assuming you aren't put off by eating your own face), and have a slight vanilla flavour.

A box costs £15, which is pretty pricey for marshmallows, but I think they'd be an ace one-off treat or super personalised sugary gift. Yum!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

There are a million christmas gift guides in blogs and magazines right now, so I figure one more won't hurt!

I've chosen a few of my favourite things and (where possible), have picked things from independent shops and designers, as well as a few things from bigger stores (to be honest, this ENTIRE list could have been made up solely from Anthropologie, but that's another story).

I hope this helps... happy shopping!

£5 and under...



£15 and under...



£25 and under...



£50 and under...



£100 and over! 



Monday, 8 December 2014

HOW TO:
Make a candy cane garland

Yankee Candle have released two new Christmas ranges this year, and to celebrate this they are soon going to be running a series of Yankee 'How To...' Guides for Christmas, based around the different candle ranges.

As part of this Yankee kindly sent over a couple of DIY guides for me to give it a go (as well as some candles to make my crafting experience suitably festive!), and I thought I'd share a simple guide to making a candy cane star. 


Except.. well, my star didn't quite go to plan. So instead, here's how to make a candy cane garland... (so simple that people who are incapable of gluing things into a star shape can do it). 


To make my garland I used candy canes, brown twine, sellotape and some blue wrapping ribbon.

I started by attempting to glue pairs of candy canes in a heart shape. However, before I started this DIY, I took all the plastic off the candy canes (thinking to myself smugly - why would I check this? OF COURSE the plastic comes off). Um. I don't think the plastic comes off. 

Turns out, superglue will not glue sugar together. Is that obvious? After attempting to glue my canes together, and holding them patiently for AGES feeling completely complexed, I then thought I should check that the superglue worked (....) and GLUED MY FINGERS TOGETHER. Goodness me.

Anyway, it was that point that I gave up on the super cute star that Yankee had suggested I make (you can see what it is meant to look like in this lovely blogger's post!) and instead, sellotaped them into heart shapes, and used blue wrapping ribbon to tie the hearts together. I then tied brown twine to each each so I could hang it up across my window. 

Small jar candles* - £7.99
I'm not going to lie, it wasn't the most relaxing crafting experience I've ever had (especially as I am STILL picking super glue off my fingers), but now my garland is up (and hasn't fallen apart), my christmas tree is sparkling, and my candles are twinkling away, I'm starting to regain my festive spirit.

I was sent two of their Christmas candles: Angel's Wings (a sweet, flowery scent) and Candy Cane Lane (a seriously minty, christmassy scent). At first sniff, I thought Candy Cane Lane would be too minty for me, but my house smells amazing! 


And look! My mongrel of a Christmas decoration actually looks really sweet next to the tree. Hooray for Christmas!


So if that's inspired you (ha! If I can do it, honestly anyone can), then keep an eye out on Yankee Candle's twitter and facebook to see more.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

GO #BOLDINTHECOLD
& WIN A HOLIDAY!

I love winter holidays (like Portugal! It was ace!). You get all the fun of summer at home (and manage to avoid holidaying with millions of families), and then as soon as the weather turns dark and miserable, it's holiday time!

So I'm also a fan of Virgin Holidays' new competition, 'Bold in the Cold'...


#BoldintheCold challenges you to do something summery this winter (the bolder the better), and share it with them for a chance to win a holiday for four to Dubai.

All you've got to do is take a photo or a short (vine-style) video of yourself having fun and flaunting in the freezing winter weather, and share your entry on twitter, instagram or vine using the hashtag #BoldintheCold, or upload your video to the Virgin Holidays website.

Virgin Holidays invited a few bloggers to kick-start the competition, and as I am basically always open to doing slightly idiotic things, OF COURSE I said yes.



You can't really tell, but it was SO BLOODY COLD on the day I filmed this (and it turns out you get loads of weird looks if you wear a box on your head in a public park!). 

I had really wanted to do a rainy day video (where water poured into a cocktail or I paddled in puddles), but it didn't rain at all the week I was planning to film, so if you fancy entering and are a bit stuck for ideas, feel free to use mine! Good luck!

Monday, 1 December 2014

NOVEMBER INSTAGRAM

What a fun month! I adventured in the sunshine, ate super tasty food, saw lovely friends, hibernated under a blanket on freezing nights, and managed to start my Christmas shopping like an organised person. And now it's the December (the best month of the year!). YES.

Here's what November looked like for me...

Instagram username: @eversojuliet
1. I started the month on holiday in Portugal (and blogged about it here and here if you want to read more). We found a fish market in Lagos and cooked an amazing feast for our last night (well, Joshua cooked it. I made chips). It was lovely, I'm so happy that I have forced myself into liking fish!

2. We also cycled along some cliff tops, swam in the sea, lay on a secluded beach, and watch the sunset from this beach, glass of sangria in hand. I'd like to be on holiday every day, thank you.

3. Back to Scotland, and I went to a work thing with Visit Scotland, to look ahead to Scotland's year of food and drink. For breakfast (?) they served these AMAZING melty tunnocks things, which I declined (as it was 9am!), in the hope of eating one at lunch instead. To my horror, they didn't appear at lunchtime, and since then I have been dreaming of how I might recreate my own melty tunnocks wonder.

4. Being a blogger definitely has its perks, and one of those this year was working with No7 on their #tadah festive campaign. I was sent a few early Christmas presents (packaged up in seriously cute No7 snowflake paper), left to play, and I put together this so-easy-it's-cheating festive makeup look.

5. I also went along to a Christmassy event at Yuu Beauty, a lovely wee (and award-winning!) salon in Edinburgh, for a wee explore and to watch some treatment demos (which included getting my face scanned in a UV light thing that highlighted dry patches - weird!). I think I'll be back soon to try out a facial, so a more detailed post will be coming soon!

6. Aaaaand Christmas again! Each year I say to myself that I'm going to start my present shopping early, but I think this is the first year I've actually managed it! I've been on a mission to try and buy as much as I can from etsy and local shops, and it's so nice knowing that I don't have to spend my entire November paycheck on panicked present buying!

7. One of my missions this year was to have fresh flowers year-round, and I've done pretty well. These are surprisingly pretty flowers I picked up in Tesco, and they've lasted for ages too.

8. Edinburgh's Christmas celebrations officially started, and I went up to St Andrews Square to drink some mulled wine, and watch Scotch & Soda, a seriously cool gypsy circus act. Two days later, we were back for more hot toddy (I love hot booze!), and mildly terrifying ice skating (I didn't fall over though, hooray!).

9. We have a couple of 3D printers at work, so I printed the cutest fennec fox (I love foxes)...

10. ... and this, obviously very sensible, foxy business card holder! 3D printers are SO COOL - did you know that you can print things with moving parts? And you can print with sugar? Whaaaaaaat. So cool.

11. Aaaand, back to Christmas (sorry). I didn't have a Christmas tree last year, so I was super excited to get a real tree again (and even more so, because Ikea have the very, very best deal going). I decorated it this early (a bit early, I know), but I love it and it makes me so happy.

12. Foxes again! There's a lovely shop near me that sells all sorts of interesting wine, beers and spirits, and I'm on a bit of a mission to try out all of their craft beers. This one didn't disappoint!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

WIN AN ARRAN AROMATICS
GIFT SET!

I haven't had a giveaway for AGES, so here's a nice Christmas treat for you!

Arran Aromatics are a Scottish beauty brand (based, unsurprisingly, on the very lovely Isle of Arran), who make luxury candles, bath and body products infused with original fragrances inspired by the landscape and scents of the island. They are good guys too - all of their products are cruelty-free and they are dedicated to caring for the environment and being super enthusiastic about recycling.

I am currently obsessed with candles (as soon as I turned 28 I suddenly understood why people spend a fortune on nice candles), so I've picked one of their candle Christmas gift sets to give away.

Perfumer Collection: Travel Candle Collection - £32
The Perfumer Collection is a super cute set, inspired by their travels and fragrances from around the world, all infused with the essence of Arran. In the limited edition gift box you'll receive: Wild Gorse, Ultimate Fig, Just Grapefruit, Jasmine & Philadelphus, Amber Wood, Cedarwood & Citrus, Bergamot & Geranium, and After the Rain.

To enter, just follow the instructions below...


The competition ends on December 3rd and is only open to UK readers. I'll email the lucky winner to get their details. Good luck!

Monday, 24 November 2014

DIY WISHLIST

I have recently become a bit of a Pinterest junkie, and have been pretty obsessed with pinning away in my quest for a super-cute, pastel-coloured life. There's things I want to eat, things I want to wear, things I want to own, ombre things, sweary things, and things to cheer me up on seriously scowly days - it's just the perfect scrapbook (and if you aren't using it and like all those things, get on it!).

But one of the things Pinterest is particularly good for, is keeping track of crafty DIYs that you'd like to try one day. Here's a few of my favourites that I have pinned (which, er, may or may not be part of my Christmas crafting list - so pals, look away now!).


1. Caroline from burkatron has long been one of my favourite bloggers (beautiful nail art & easy DIYs always win me over), and I love how her bunny trinket dish is super cute, but also seriously simple to do.

2. Wrapping up presents is one of my favourite parts of gift-giving, and I love these honeycomb gift toppers. SO CUTE.

3. I'm getting some prints to put up on my bedroom wall, and this glittery wall hanging caught my eye.

4. I like the moon and I like anything with even the smallest hint of mustard, so this moon clock ticks all my boxes.

5. I'm also obsessed with cacti and succulent plants. I won't let myself buy anymore (I really own more plants than a one-bedroom flat can hold), so a cactus pillow might be the answer.

6. Aaaand, look at this hanging planter! I reckon it would be seriously good Christmas present material (you always get extra brownie points if you craft things yourself!).

If you want any more crafty inspiration you can also follow my board. If you've got a Pinterest account please comment with the link too!

Friday, 21 November 2014

HOW TO: EASY FESTIVE MAKEUP

There's only five weeks to go until Christmas (aaah!), so I reckon it's definitely time to start sticking up some fairy lights and thinking festive thoughts.

This time of year always brings parties, fancy work lunches, and the excuse to be a bit more glittery than normal, so here's a super easy makeup tutorial that should help you out if you're in a festive face fix!


I was very kindly gifted some makeup from No7, so I could have a play around with their new #TaDah makeup looks. To be honest, I think I always walk past No7 in the shops (it looks so grown up, and I still shop like a teenager!), but I'm a new convert - and some of the products are so easy to use, I feel almost a bit guilty for badging this as a tutorial.


For this look I used the following:
  • Benefit Porefessional primer
  • No7 concealer (in Deeply Ivory)
  • No7 Stay Perfect foundation (in Deeply Ivory)
  • No7 cream blush (in maple silk)
  • No7 Instant Radiance highlighter
  • No7 Stay Perfect Shade and Define eyeshadow pencil (in Glistening Ray)
  • No7 Stay Precise liquid eyeliner
  • No7 Lash Impact mascara
  • No7 High Shine lip crayon (in Statement)


To start, I tidied up my eyebrows (using products from my everyday makeup), moisturised and used my favourite Benefit primer to smooth out my skin. Then I used concealer and foundation - my skin gets quite dry easily, so I tend to look for a foundation that isn't too heavy (and doesn't mask my freckles!).


Once you've got your base down, dab some cream blush into your cheeks and blend in.

Take the highlighter stick and dot it on your cheekbones, your browbones, the inner corner of your eyes and down the centre of your nose! Less is more - with highlighter you are aiming for a lovely glow, rather than a twilight-esque sparkle (...I'm aware it's 2014 - can I still reference twilight? I'm going to say yeah. Yeah).


Then take the eyeshadow pencil and build the colour up on your eyelids, and along the lower lash line. This goes on quite sheer at first, but should build to a nice gold colour very quickly!

I get the rage with cream eyeshadows that crease quickly, so am pretty pleased with this guy - it did not budge at all and was still in place in the morning, after I'd fallen asleep with makeup on (shh, this is why I'm not a beauty blogger).


Now, line your lids with liquid eyeliner, flicking it out into a small cat's eye. If you aren't practised with liquid eyeliner, this tutorial should help, or the pen-style eyeliners are great if you don't have a particularly practised hand.


Then, take your lip crayon and colour in your lips! This goes on quite light at first, but you can build up the colour as much as you want. And that's it! (told you it was easy).


I know it's a simple look, but I seriously love it. It's a pretty classic look and is just SO quick and easy to pull together - perfect if you are rubbish at makeup, or have ten minutes at your desk to descruff and turn into a more put-together human!

I'm seriously impressed with the lip crayon too. I love lipstick, but sometimes I can't be bothered with the faff of putting it on, worrying it's wearing off weirdly, only managing to reapply in perfect light, etc - so this product is perfect if you want a nice colourful lip, but don't want that hassle. Hooray!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A TRIP TO PORTUGAL

Oh, I bloody love holidays! Last week I flew off to Portugal for a week in the sunshine (because going on holiday just before winter kicks in is the very, very best!).


Joshua & I decided our main mission was to find good food, good weather, and a chilled out spot for plenty of lazing and book reading, and Lagos, in the South of Portugal, seemed to fit the bill.

Lagos is one of the Algarve's most popular tourist destinations, but is also still a big fishing town. We visited in the off-season too, which means it was still warm, but was fairly chilled out - it was super easy to avoid the (small) number of tourist traps, and find lovely authentic people and places.


We booked an apartment through airbnb which was brilliant! I had heard loads about it, but was a bit nervous that it all sounded too good to be true - but it was ACE (and cheap). We found a flat that was on the edge of the historic town, with balconies that looked out over the old castle walls and out to the sea.

I really wanted somewhere that had quite a lot of personality, and the flat was just that - the owner is an artist, so the flat was full of paintings and books and quirky bits and pieces.


The holiday mainly revolved around eating fish, drinking sangria, and lazily exploring Lagos and its surrounding towns. We cycled along cliff tops, befriended local cats (that we smuggled sardine paste out of restaurants for!), wandered around sleepy mountain towns, high-fived after a Portuguese wine merchant said we had good taste, ate in tiny restaurants with giant portions, swam in the sea (a big deal for me - I am a wimp!), adventured through caves, cooked a feast of fish and massive prawns, and read books on a secluded beach.


It was just so lovely, and so nice to switch off from the real world, get some sunshine, breath new air, and hang out with my (very beardy) partner-in-crime. I've only been back a week and a bit, but it already feels like such a long time since we were there!

If you're keen to see more holiday photos, last week I blogged a few outfit photos from Portugal, aaand, if you're feeling inspired to go yourself - we stayed in this Lagos apartment (and you can get airbnb credit if you sign up with this link!).

Now to plan the next adventure!

Monday, 17 November 2014

WATCH & WOLF

 I'm a big fan of gastronomy superheroes, Jelly & Gin, who have a seriously good track record of taking audiences on amazing artistic food adventures. They've just announced their latest project, Watch & Wolf, and it looks like so much fun!


Watch & Wolf is cinema like you've never tasted before, as Jelly & Gin take over the National Gallery of Scotland (you know, the beautiful massive one on Princes St) for a series of multi-sensory film experiences. And because it's Christmas, they've picked festive classics (Elf - CHRISTMAS! Gremlins - Christmas! The Wizard of Oz - er not that festive, but still amazing!) that you watch, while eating and drinking along with the characters.

On arrival, you'll receive a box which holds numbered packages of bite-sized food and cocktails. The event host, Mr Wolf, will signal at specific moments in the film for you to eat and drink your treats - it sounds seriously tasty, and if anyone's going to excel at tiny movie treats, it's Jelly & Gin!

Watch & Wolf takes place at 7.30pm on the following dates in the National Gallery of Scotland (which is in Edinburgh, if you haven't guessed!).

Thursday 4 December: Elf
Thursday 11 December: Gremlins
Thursday 18 December: The Wizard of Oz
 
Tickets cost £28 and are available at www.jellyandgin.eventbrite.co.uk.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

OUTFITS: I ♥ HOLIDAYS

I'm just back from the loveliest week in Portugal (which I will blog about in a wee bit more detail soon!), and I just wanted to do a bit of show and tell of what I wore on holiday. I won't pretend to be a fashionable dresser, but I feel like I've finally found my own style - it's a bit scruffy, but it makes me happy, and that's what counts!

Dress - H&M
Vest - F&F
Sneakers - H&M (kids department!)
It was a blustery day, so we went on an adventure to Sagres and walked along the most amazing cliffs. I borrowed this vest from Steph and I really love it - I don't think I would have worn a vest before, but I loved having tassels!

Top - Primark
Skirt - H&M
Tights - ASOS
Vest -
Headscarf - Charity shop
We caught the train to Monchique, a beautiful market town up in the hills, full of winding little streets and gorgeous old buildings. I dressed like the scruffiest scruff there was. I was on holiday! You're allowed to be ripped and scruffy on holiday!

Top - H&M
Pinafore - H&M
Blazer - Urban Outfitters
Satchel - Leather Satchel Co
Shoes - Primark
You know when you get a new outfit that you obsess over, and you find it hard to wear anything else? That's exactly how I feel about this pinafore. I bought it months ago, and I still find it hard to wear anything else. I also seem to find it hard to smile in photos (one day I will learn how to take nice outfit photos!).

Dress - Primark
Satchel - Leather Satchel Co
Sneakers - H&M kids
& my other very favourite outfit! How good is this dress? (Only £15 too! Aargh, Primark, how you delight/horrify me). I used to shy away from wearing high necks as I thought they made me look massive, but I've got over my fear and I'm so excited to be wearing something with a collar. It means my dreams of collar clips can finally come true!

Monday, 10 November 2014

OCTOBER INSTAGRAM

Okay, okay, I know this October recap is a wee bit late, but I'm just back from holiday (& missing the beach already!), so you'll have to forgive me.

Here's what October looked like...

Instagram username: @eversojuliet
1. I had so much fun doing ridiculous halloween tutorials this month, and I think my favourite was my super hipster bambi-esque look!

2. Thanks to the lovely chaps at Google #CityExperts I got to spend the evening in wonderful lovecrumbs, making autumn wreaths with Pyrus. I love lovecrumbs - if you are in Edinburgh and haven't been yet, get there pronto for the cutest cafe with the very best cake.

3. This is the most excitable photo of my friend Eilidh & I, but we had just won two awards for the Science Festival at the Scottish Event Awards, & we were HAPPY. Yay science!

4. Here's the wreath I made with Pyrus - I absolutely love it! It was such a fun class. They demonstrated how to do two different types of wreaths, then left us with a massive pile of foraged treats to work with. I wasn't really sure what to do (and felt a wee bit nervous when I started), so I ended up winding round loads of branches to make my nesty-looking wreath. As I didn't use any fresh leaves or berries, it still looks as pretty as the day I made it. So pleased!

5. As it's freezing, I've started knitting again! I haven't knitted in years, so I've stuck to a super simple pattern, but it's going to be so warm and cosy. I had forgotten how relaxing it is to knit, and it's stopped me fiddling with my phone when I watch tv, which is a habit that I hate!

6. Michel Faber is one of my favourite authors (the Crimson Petal and the White is the most beautiful, clever, heartbreaking book), so I was seriously excited when his new book arrived on my door! Isn't it beautiful?! I'll do a review shortly...

7. I had already planned to go to Red Raw at The Stand with my pal Muzzy (a beginner's comedy showcase for a bargainous £2), then we found out that Dylan Moran was trying out new material. So much fun. Support your local comedy club!

8. Then it was time for my holiday, and I got to spend almost a full week in London hanging out with my wonderful best girl, Steph.

9. Steph was prepping for her next movie so we were on several missions across London, but made time to go to Tatty Devine and get bestie necklaces. This is a quote from The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, which I really love.

10. Then it was Halloween, and I looked terrifying (Steph was a 1D fangirl with glittery lipstick and all). We went out to Camden and it was SO BUSY! I realised why I normally go to house parties on Halloween...

11. One of the best things about being on holiday? Massive brunches! I wish I could have pancakes everyday.

12. Aaaand November started with a super lazy night on the sofa, watching Doctor Who, with our pumpkins happily flickering away. What a fun month!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

FRANKIE DIARY

Super cute stationery is a bit of a blogger cliché, but it doesn't really come cuter than Frankie Press - an Australian publisher that produce magazines, journals, and beautiful bits and pieces that combine fashion, art, interesting reads and pretty photography.

Frankie photo by the seriously beautiful Mackapar print shop
And, they have just launched the frankie diary and frankie calendar for 2015 - beautiful things to keep you organised, filled with lovely, lovely, lovely illustrations and prints.


I'm generally on a mission to keep myself organised (my life would fall apart if I stopped colour coding things), so my frankie diary has been one of my favourite things this year.

The diary is priced just under £15, and the calendar is a little bit more (plus postage from Australia), so they are a bit expensive, but would make the most gorgeous Christmas presents!


You can buy both from frankie's online shop, but you'll need to be speedy as they sell out super quickly!

Monday, 3 November 2014

HOW TO: Leek & potato soup

It's winter, which means it's time for soup! Here's a super easy recipe that is made even more easy because I did it all in my brand new soup maker*, that was kindly sent to me by Tower.

What's a soup maker, you say? Well, it's basically a blender that can also heat things up. Kind of ridiculous? Yup. Pretty perfect for lazy/busy/hopeless cooks? Yup!

I had been pretty sure that I would mainly be using my soup maker as a blender (as I'm currently obsessed with smoothies), but it came in totally handy when I was doing loads of baking (making this cake, in fact!), and my oven and hob were covered in cake tins and pans of icing. It was surprisingly handy being able to just chop some stuff up and then leave it to simmer away in a different part of my kitchen (although, I'm not going to lie - a simmering blender still seems weird to me!).


Anyway, my soup was delicious! Here's how you make it in my futuristic mega-blender.

You'll need the following:

  • 500g potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2 leeks (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 150ml double cream
  • vegetable stock cube (crumbled up)
  • salt and pepper
  • boiling water 


Chop everything up, and throw it in the soup maker. Blend until it's at the consistency you like (you can keep it fairly chunky if you're not a fan of totally blended soups). Then turn the timer on for 45 minutes, leave it to simmer away and that's it! Serve with a bit of parsley and some nice bread.

Friday, 31 October 2014

HAPPY THOUGHTS

It's been ages since I've done a happy thoughts post, so here's a wee update on the things that are making me smile.

1. Holidays!

Holidaying in Scotland earlier this year - we found the best ice creams on Mull!
By the time you read this I'll be in London, hanging out with my very best girl. I try to pop down and visit her as often as I can, but this is the first time in ages that we've had almost a week to hang out (and I've not had to work!). I'm planning to visit WAH nails, maybe go to the Harry Potter Studio tour (if it hasn't totally sold out), force Steph to listen to loads of Taylor Swift, and just catch up with my pal!

THEN I fly out to Portugal to meet my favourite Australian boy for a week of sunshine, staying in the most beautiful Airbnb apartment, eating loads of fish, drinking loads of wine, wandering along beaches and lazying about. Perfect!

2. Hallowe'en

Glittery pumpkins from Pinterest
Happy Hallowe'en everyone! I'm typing this on Tuesday so I'm not exactly sure what my plans are, but I know it'll involve dressing up, dancing, and feeling suitably spooky!

I have had loads of fun doing Halloween tutorials this year - if you are still stuck for a costume or makeup idea, then take a look at my how to page for inspiration. I had planned to do a witchy look, but then got sick with the world's worst cold (booo!), but at least I've got ideas for next year already!

Whatever you're doing, have fun, and I'll speak to you when I'm back!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

LUCKY DIP CLUB

I'm going to let you into a bit of a secret (that really isn't much of a secret any more!). Say hello to the Lucky Dip Club - personalised surprise boxes that turn up on your doorstep once a month!


Run by Leona (who you might remember as the mastermind behind Lady Luck Rules OK and Thrift-ola), Lucky Dip Club is a super fun world of handmade and vintage all packaged up into lovely parcels.

Each monthly box has a new theme, and inside is packed with unique products such as handmade jewellery, an original homewares design, fun stationery and a crafty kit for you to make yourself! Each box also contains one personalised item especially for you (or for your pal, if you are feeling generous!).


There's a whole world of subscription boxes out there now, but I think Lucky Dip Club is definitely one of the best. Leona's got such a good eye for design, so they are even a treat to unwrap... it's just all put together so perfectly.

There's a few subscription options so you can pick one that suits you. A one-off box is £18, or a monthly subscription is £15 (and there's extra treats for long-term subscribers). You can also purchase old boxes and individual items from the shop (which gives you a good idea of the type of the thing you can expect!).

You've got to be fast though - the boxes launch on the 1st of the month, and they sell out SO QUICKLY, so go go go!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

HALLOWEEN HOW TO:
Bake a spiderweb chocolate cake

I love an excuse to bake, so I was pretty pleased when Waitrose got in touch to tell me about their ultimate chocolate cake recipes, challenging me to pick one, and incorporate a secret ingredient into the recipe somehow. Obviously, being the Halloween-obsessive I am, I picked their ultimate halloween cake - a red velvet sponge, with a spiderweb finish. Yum!

Here's how you do it...


You'll need the following:

For the cake -
  • 200g salted butter
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 375g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 284ml carton of buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 x 10g packs of Dr Oetker red gel food colouring
For the filling - 
  • 120g salted butter
  • 120g philadelphia
  • 120g icing sugar
For the icing - 
  • 300ml double cream
  • 250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 50g white chocolate


Start by heating your oven to 170 degrees, and get your cake tins. The recipe recommends using a 23cm cake tin - I didn't have one this big, so I improvised with two slightly smaller ones instead. Grease these and line with baking parchment.

Mix together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar, and set aside. 

Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add in the vanilla, and stir again.

Now, beat in a quarter of the dry ingredients, then a third of the buttermilk, and repeat until it's fully combined. When you are mixing each time, don't do it for too long - you don't want to mix all of the air out of the cake batter! Just do it until there's no lumps.


Mix the vinegar and red food colouring together to make a gloopy paste, and mix this into your cake batter. Add the batter into your cake tin (or tins!) and make sure it's nice and level.

Put it in the oven and LEAVE IT ALONE. Cakes have a bad time if they are exposed to cool air when they are baking, so keep your oven door shut for as long as possible. It took my cake about 50 minutes to cook - if you are baking it in one big tin it might take longer. Just leave it until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed, and when a knife comes out of the sponge clean.

When it's ready, get it out of its tin and leave on a wire rack to cool.


Once it's cool you can make the filling by mixing the butter, philadelphia and icing sugar until it's nice and smooth. 

The original recipe suggested making the cake in one big tin and cutting into three layers. I obviously didn't do that, which means my cake has the BIGGEST FILLING EVER. Just look at it (I'm pretty okay with this, to be honest). Leave to set (Waitrose suggest putting it in the fridge for 20 minutes, I have always preached against cakes in fridges. Do what makes you happy!).


Time to make the most glorious chocolate icing! Melt the chocolate, cream and liquid glucose but putting them in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water). Stir gently until it's all melted.

Then, put the cake on a wire rack (over a tray to catch the drips), pour the chocolate icing over the middle of the cake, and smooth out the icing across the top and down the sides. I realised at this point that because my cake is a monster (with uneven sides), I was not going to achieve the perfect even coating of my icing dreams. It's okay. I'm embracing my muckle cake. 


Melt the white chocolate (you can do this in a bowl over a pan again, but I just used a microwave), pour into a sandwich bag and snip the corner off to make a piping bag! Pipe circles on the cake.

Then take a cocktail stick and, starting from the centre, pull it through the white chocolate to the edge of the cake. I've seen this cobweb effect done before and felt a bit nervous about trying it, but it's exactly as easy as everyone says. SO easy. 


Then it was time to incorporate my secret ingredient from Waitrose - which turned out to be gold leaf. I excitedly imagined making loads of little gold spiders to creep across my cake... and then I attempted to use gold leaf and realised it is SO TRICKY and fiddly. SO TRICKY. SO SO SO TRICKY. It crumbles at the slightest touch, and it sticks to everything, and oh my goodness.

However, I managed to very carefully cut out a shape and get it onto the cake. It's not the most artistic spider (or even, spider-like spider), but I'm really pleased with it!


And here's the world's most decadent halloween chocolate cake in all of its glory! YUM.

Disclaimer: Waitrose supplied me with a giftcard to buy ingredients and some nice baking things to use in this challenge. Thanks guys! 
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