Friday, 29 November 2013

Alternatives to chocolate advent calendars

We're mere days away from December. Then the count down begins. Oh my.

Have you got to that age where although chocolate is still awesome, you feel like chocolate advent calendars are a little done? There was a time where eating chocolate first thing in the morning was exciting. It felt naughty. Now it seems to have lost its novelty. Each year more and more brands are jumping on the advent calendar band wagon. Admittedly mostly beauty brands / products. But as you will see below, there are some lovely other little surprises to be found behind each door:


Body Shop advent calendar: I've seen this featured on some blogs lately and the selection looks amazing. I haven't managed to locate any online or in my local store though. Not sure if it sold out, or if it was just a blogger promo / sample type dealio.

Yankee Candle advent calendar: Fill your house with the smell of Christmas on the days leading up to the holiday - to me, this feels like the most festive of all the advent calendars I've seen. But then I have major candle bias. Love 'em.

Benefit advent calendar: A great way of trying out new beauty products

Boots advent calendar: A more affordable version of the Selfridges one (below)

Whisky advent calendar: If you like whisky and you've got more money to spare, this would be a very merry count down!

Ciaté nail polish advent calendar: A nail polish a day. Genius.

Selfridges beauty advent calendar: Always sells out in record time. But with daily delights from Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent, etc, this is hardly surprising. Each year I um and ah over the price - trust me, it's a LOT. I decide to give it a try and what... it's sold out? Well I guess that answers that then.


What would your ideal advent calendar contain?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Heaven is a place on earth

I first mentioned here about how Pinterest was inspiring me to give my room a good ol' sort out. My room is still a work in progress, and I am still obsessed with interior design. There is something about penthouse suites that fascinate me - and this is perhaps exacerbated by the fact that I will never be able to afford staying in one.

How amazing would it be to stay in a hotel suite instead of the cheapest available room? Or have your very own penthouse for that matter. Imagine the space. Those large rooms. Minimalistic, simple design. Exposed brick walls. Interesting geometrical shapes. Your own cinema room. A library to house the classics. Panoramic views of the city. Breakfast bar with marble worktop. And your very own roof garden.


I better get cracking with my best seller then. 
It will have to be a damn good book, I'm telling you

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Party on with ASOS

Awards night with work is just two weeks away and I literally have nothing to wear. With ASOS currently offering 30% off all party wear, it was meant to be:

TFNC maxi dress -  £45  £36   //    TFNC prom dress£35  £26   //   AX Paris prom dress - £40  £20   //  Same as before

I love the elegance of the maxi dress - although the shorter length dresses are more playful and very me - and how gorgeous are those embellished dresses? It was too difficult to decide so being the crazy person that I am, I ordered them all. Shop now, decide later. Fingers crossed, one of these will be The Dress!

Which dress do you think I should keep?

Friday, 15 November 2013

Christmas wish list - in association with The Watch Hut


The Watch Hut have joined forces with e-tail PR and are inviting bloggers to create a Christmas wish list for a chance to win £100-300 worth of vouchers from ASOS. All you need to do is pick out a watch from their website and feature it in your wish list. I have been longing for a Michael Kors watch for ages now so knew I wanted to centre my wish list around this. I used to wear a Baby-G watch when I was younger but it broke and I haven't owned a new watch since :'( I love rose gold jewellery so I was instantly drawn to the rose gold watches Michael Kors has to offer. And what better way to count down the hours until Christmas day than with a Michael Kors watch from The Watch Hut? ;) The rest of my wish list is based around the things I love most about Christmas. Festive scented candles, chunky knits, hot chocolate, moisturising beauty products, the perfect Christmas party dress, and cosy faux fur collars to instantly update last season's coat.

What's on your wish list this year?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Once Upon a Time - Charlotte Olympia Fall 2013 Collection

Charlotte Olympia. A brand that has undisputedly taken the fashion world by storm. Famed for its idiosyncratic footwear collection favoured amongst the A list, for most of us it was the iconic kitty flats that first caught our attention. Ever since, numerous high street stores and online retailers have been inspired to produce their own Charlotte Olympia kitty flat dupes bringing a more purse friendly alternative to the masses. Charlotte Olympia are certainly no one trick pony. Oh hell no. Their Once Upon a Time Fall 2013 campaign is stunning - so much so, I couldn't resist sharing with you. Inspired by fairy-tales and legends, the campaign itself is edgy and very fashion forward:



Forever inspired by Alice in Wonderland, fairy-tales, and anything vaguely whimsical, this campaign really spoke to me. Whilst I still can't afford anything from the collection - what is my life - a girl can still dream:








How cute is the gingerbread house box bag? It opens and everything! The story book clutch I officially need in my my life. I never imagined I'd turn away from the kitty flats or be so quick to forget, but now it's all about that clutch.

What are your favourites from the collection?

Image credit: Charlotte Olympia website

Friday, 8 November 2013

Fall in love with fall

Autumn is officially here. Whilst I don't exactly relish the thought of it getting colder - I really can't handle the cold - there are so many amazing things to look forward to:

Hot drinks aplenty


Especially vats of hot chocolate topped with cream


Toasty nights in with films, fairy lights and candles


Chunky knitwear


Nature at its most beautiful


Going for walks with leaves crunching under-foot


Layering


Roaring log fires 


Chunky knit socks and knee highs

All images - source: WeHeartIt


What are your favourite things about autumn?


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

How to make: pizza from scratch

I love a pizza takeaway as much as the next person, but do you sometimes find that your ideal pizza isn't out there? That your local doesn't stock the one topping you really love? I've recently been making my own pizzas from scratch and I have to say, I'm a convert! It's not as time consuming as you'd imagine and the decorating part is usually lots of fun

You will need...

- 600g flour
- 14g yeast
- 350ml water
- 6 tbsp virgin olive oil
- 3 tsp salt
- 3 tins of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp sugar
- Seasoning to your taste
- Mixed herbs
- Your toppings of choice, sliced
- Mozzarella
- 2 onions (for the sauce)
- Tomato purée (optional)

Makes 5 / 6 small rectangular pizzas

Method

1) Combine the flour, yeast, salt, oil, and water in a bowl. Mix together to form a dough and knead until dough has some elasticity to it


2) Leave in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave for a few hours.

3) Meanwhile you can start preparing your various toppings. We used peppers, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and then chorizo for the meat eaters.


4) To prepare the pizza sauce, chop a couple of onions and cook on the hob until softened.


5) Add the chopped tomatoes and season. I like to add a little tomato purée also. Sprinkle in a teaspoon or two of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes.


6) Add as many mixed herbs as you like. Simmer. Add corn flour if it still needs thickening.


7) Let the sauce cool and keep to one side until the dough is ready. Knead all the air out of the dough then roll out into small rectangular shapes (to give you an idea of size, we fit two pizzas per baking tray). Top generously with pizza sauce.


8) The fun part! Decorate your pizza with your choice of toppings then add the mozzarella on top. You can either slice the mozzarella yourself or buy grated cheese.


9) Cook for about 20-25 minutes on gas mark 6. Keep an eye on them though as some ovens do vary.

I cooked for six of us and they seemed to go down well. Cheaper than a takeaway plus healthier - what's not to love?