Thursday, 28 February 2013

Caseables - A Review


Oooh swanky!  You know how I have been moaning about the lack of cute iPhone 5 cases since I upgraded? Well this lovely iPhone 5 case has been gifted to me by caseable and I have to say it is pretty cute!  They have a fab selection of ready made cases but also the option to design your own which is exactly what I did.  I used the skills of Sarah and Gillian (Sarah drew the image and Gillian turned it into a header for me!) and ended up with a portable advert for a million dresses! Result!!


The design software was really easy to use and shipping was really speedy.  If you're looking for a unique phone case they've got my recommendation.  You can get 15% off your order using code milliondresses15, valid til 15th March 2013.

♥♥♥

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wednesday Wants

Oooh hello midweek! You've come round nice and quick this week... thank goodness! I haven't slept very well so far this week and am so tired, not even going to get a lie in this Saturday either but I am off to London for fun times.  Best arm myself with a few matchsticks!

Top of my wishlist this week is this Topshop pinafore, yep it's the same style as my burgundy one in a lovely teal colour.  I really enjoy my pinafore and wouldn't mind adding another to the collection.

Dress: Topshop

I shy away from swing dresses and smocks as I don't find them that flattering on me, I need something to highlight my waist.  I am drawn to the print of this asos one though and think that because of the shape of the skirt it won't be too bad, whatcha think?

Dress: asos

I can't help it.  Hearts make me happy, I love this fabric and the shape of the dress.  It's a total bargain too!  Gray thinks our new home will be filled with hearts (it will!) and I think it should also creep into my wardrobe.

Dress: New Look

I love ugly shoes and am not ashamed to say so! These are the right mix of ugly and cute in my opinion and look lovely and comfy.

Shoes: Timeless @ Spartoo

♥♥♥

Monday, 25 February 2013

Cropped

This outfit is not that exciting, it's the kind of thing I pull on when I cannot be bothered to decide what I am going to wear the evening before.  I don't really have time in the morning to look through my wardrobe... I love sleep too much to waste precious minutes of snooze time!  I'm so happy there have been loads of long sleeved crop tops around this season, they really are fab for layering without adding bulk to an area that I don't need any help adding too ;) 


Dress: H&M
Crop Top: New Look
Flat Shoes: Rocket Dog @ Spartoo*

Another stripe/spot combination, I can see these shoes getting loads of wear come summer.  They are really comfy and super cute, so tempted to get the version without laces too!

♥♥♥

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday Sweets #19 Sticky Toffee Pudding


Sticky toffee pudding is one of those desserts that cannot fail to put a smile on your face and give your belly a big hug.  I like it served with custard for the ultimate warming treat, how do you prefer it? Custard or Ice Cream?

Ingredients
200g dried Medjool dates, stoned and chopped
250ml black tea
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g unsalted butter, softened
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
175g golden caster sugar
2 eggs

For the Toffee Sauce
100g light muscovado sugar
100g unsalted butter
150ml double cream





Method
Heat oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.

Butter an ovenproof dish or brownie tin.

  
Put the dates and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 

Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften the dates. 

Stir in the bicarbonate of soda. 

Beat the butter and caster sugar together with electric beaters until pale and creamy, then beat in the egg, flour and mixed spice. 

Fold in the date mixture and pour into a buttered ovenproof dish or brownie tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is just firm to touch. 

Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting the sugar, butter and cream in a pan over a low heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Cook until the sauce is a lovely toffee colour. 

Cut the pudding into squares and serve with the warm sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a little custard. 




♥♥♥
 

Friday, 22 February 2013

Dogtooth Delight

Loved reading the replies to yesterdays post - so jealous of your amazing sounding holidays.  Might have to go get a tent and pitch it in my garden (when I get one!) and pretend I am somewhere exotic!! Maybe a hammock is a better idea... I realised that I didn't get round to sharing this dress with you when I first bought it, it's one of my go to work dresses when I need something smart and of a more appropriate length.  Dogtooth is one of those fabrics that I find classic and never date, fits in perfectly with my current love of all things monochrome too.


Dress: River Island
Shoes: French Sole @ Spartoo Shoes*

I'm off out for a curry (again) tonight, I can't get enough of sag paneer at the moment. YUM! What are your plans for the weekend? Whatever you're doing I hope you have a good one :)

♥♥♥

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wednesday Wants

Wednesday Wants this week is really exciting for me, it's pay day!  I have been saving my pennies for the big move and am so proud that I managed to not spend a single penny of last months wages on clothes.  Think that might be a first since about the age of 16!!  I did have a bit of help as I was lucky enough to be gifted a dress and given some money to spend on some clothes by vouchercodes but it's still an achievement.  I am not going to be as disciplined this month as I already have my eye on a few must haves, gotta have some treats ;)

This dress screams spring to me, I love the polka dots and the pastel blue colour.  I'm hoping pastels will be readily available again this year.  None of those wishy washy pastels though please.

Dress: Boohoo

This is about as sporty as I get!  I have to admit to being selfish and waiting til I could order it before sharing, I was worried it might go and sell out on me... stocks are low on the website so if you too have your eye on this dress don't leave it much longer.

Dress: Topshop

You might recognise the print on this fabric, it's the same as the shirt I bought for the vouchercodes challenge.  I absolutely loved the print and couldn't resist this dress version.  I ordered it directly from Glamorous as it's not on the asos website and used code GLAMOROUS20 to get a cheeky 20% discount.  I am really hoping it is exactly the same fabric as the shirt as that is so lovely!

Dress: Glamorous

I have been eyeing up trainer wedge shoes for a while and haven't been brave enough to take the plunge and order a pair.  I am worried that I will look like a tool and know that they won't go with lots of my cutesy dresses BUT they will go with the Topshop one above so maybe it's time to take the plunge?!  Anyone who owns a pair - are they comfy and easy to walk in? 

Trainers : Ash @ Spartoo

What have you had your eye on this week? Tempt me for a change!

♥♥♥
 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Boohoo #globalstyler

I've been dying to share this outfit post with you guys, not only because Boohoo asked me to take part in their Global Styler project but because it features my very first set of outfit photos taken outside!  That's a pretty big deal for me!  Okay so they were still taken in a garden as I am not brave enough to take the snaps in public view or to go anywhere for longer than a few minutes without wearing a coat but you get the picture!  Hopefully once we move and have a garden I will be able to take more of my outfit posts outside or might have a good blank wall rather than relying on my massive wardrobe as a backdrop.

Anyway more on the Boohoo Global Styler project, Boohoo are  working with bloggers all round the UK and indeed the world and asking them to to style their favourite item from the Boohoo collection their way. I went for this cute studded dress finished off with contrasting PU collar and cuffs, pretty special don't you think?!

 Dress: Boohoo*
Boots: Boohoo


Oreo decided to get in on the action by photobombing me!

You don't need to be a blogger to enter the amazing competition that is running as part of this campaign.  All you need to do is download the #globalstyler speech bubble, fill in your location and upload your snaps to instagram or twitter using the hashtag.  The prize is honestly fantastic, one lucky winner will jet off on a trip of a lifetime with their bestie to a destination of their choice!  I told you it was amazing!  You can find more details here.


♥♥♥

Monday, 18 February 2013

Vouchercodes: How To Wear - Monochrome

It's no secret that monochrome is my favourite of the Spring/Summer 13 trends, it's featured in many of my wishlists and outfit posts already this year.  It's so easy to wear and you can either be quite subtle and smart with it or go for an eye catching print.  I love mixing polka dots and stripes too, think they look so good together.  I've tried to avoid mixing two of this seasons trends by avoiding bold stripes even though there are lots of fab monochrome bold stripe choices around. I've gone for a mix of shapes, you don't have to stick to polka dots or block colours.

Vouchercodes have given me £80 and set me the challenge of showing you how you can work the trend with your existing wardrobe and on a budget.  Monochrome is everywhere so really wasn't hard to find some amazing pieces at even more amazing prices.  I hope you like the pieces I have chosen.


Outfit One - Work

I love wearing a pinafore to work, it feels smart but a bit kooky at the same time, my favourite combination.  I love this oversize shirt from Glamorous, adding squares and triangles to the print makes an interesting change from standard polka dots.  I have been living in these asos shoes, they work so well with other monochrome items without being too much and are so comfy!


In my wardrobe:  Miss Selfridge Pinafore / Asos Monochrome Shoes

Outfit Two - Weekend

I found this cute little dress in the Divided section of H&M and thought it was perfect, I haven't seen a similar print anywhere else, little plus signs are cute.  I've teamed it with a long sleeved crop top and a pair of pumps to create the perfect weekend outfit for shopping and doing lunch.


Purchased: H&M Dress* - £20

Outfit Three - Night Out

This dress combines three of my current favourite things - polka dots, sequins and monochrome.  I have teamed it with some black heels, my favourite fluffy cardigan and a contrasting striped clutch.  I think someone needs to take me somewhere nice so I can wear this out, hint hint!


In my wardrobe: H&M Cardigan / River Island Clutch / Clarks Shoes
Purchased: Boohoo Sequin Dress* - £35

Total spent - £77

I've posted quite a few monochrome outfits recently, if you would like more inspiration you can view them here.

Other bloggers have styled different spring trends, you can find them using the hashtag #vcukhowtowear on either twitter or instagram or see the roundup post here.  Let me know what you think of my picks!

♥♥♥

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday Sweets #18 Chocolate Guinness Cake




I've been meaning to bake this cake for ages, I have heard how amazing it is and thought it would be perfect for a chocolate loving Gray.  I decided to finally bake it as a Valentines treat hence it being heart shaped.  The heart pan isn't deep enough to cook it in one layer as Nigella does so I filled the layers with milk chocolate ganache and also added a layer of this to the top of the cake before icing to give it an even chocolater kick!  I have to say this is also the best cream cheese icing I have tried.  I usually make it using butter, cream cheese and icing sugar, this recipe excludes the butter and adds cream instead and I must say it is perfect.


Ingredients
250ml Guinness 
250g unsalted butter 
75g cocoa powder 
400g caster sugar 
142ml sour cream 
2 medium eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
275g plain flour 
2 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the topping
300g cream cheese 
150g icing sugar 
125ml double cream

Method
Heat oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.

Butter and line a 23cm springform tin.

Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar.

Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.

Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.

When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing.

Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together.

Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.


Gray loved it! I had a little taste and have to admit it is a beautiful cake.  Rich and chocolatey without being sickly and I love the cream cheese frosting with it, the perfect combination.  I've also got a new go to cream cheese frosting, yum!




♥♥♥

Saturday, 16 February 2013

A Day At The Races

It's the weekend! Yay, finally.  Hope you're all spending it doing something fun.  I am going to be looking at house stuff again this weekend, it seems there is something that can stop me hitting Topshop!  Gray has formed the opinion that I am happy as long as I am shopping regardless of what I am shopping for... I couldn't possibly comment on that!

Talking of fun things to do, Cheltenham Ladies Day takes place at the end of March, Ladbrokes have challenged me to create a couple of outfits fit for the occasion.  I don't need an excuse to look at pretty dresses now do I?!

French Connection always make fabulous occasionwear so I headed straight there for the first dress.  As you know I am loving the monochrome trend right now so thought it was only right that I should base the outfit around this bold striped number.  Wedges are always a better idea than heels, you can then guarantee you won't be getting your heel stuck in the grass if the weather doesn't hold out!  I kept on the monochrome theme with the clutch bag and the subtle spots on the fascinator.  I do love an excuse to wear ridiculous headwear!

Shoes: New Look
Clutch Bag: Oasis
Fascinator: Accessorize

I've gone for a more girly look with my second outfit.  Another cute dress from French Connection this time teamed with a pretty fascinator, pink block heeled shoes and a simple clutch finished off with a massive co-ordinating bow!  I always head straight to Accessorize if I am looking for a cool fascinator, they are always a bit different from the run of the mill fascinators available on the high street.

Shoes: asos
Clutch Bag: Ted Baker
Fascinator: Accessorize

Are you planning on going to the races this year? What do you make of my picks?

*In collaboration with Ladbrokes*

♥♥♥

Friday, 15 February 2013

Purple Paisley

I bought this beauty on a sneaky trip to Oxford Circus Topshop whilst waiting on the arrival of Gemma.  I had seen it online and whilst I loved the colour I really didn't think it would be that flattering on me.  I was pleasantly surprised when I slipped it on in the changing room, not a hint of tummy bulge revealed.  I knew then it was coming home with me!  I had some vouchers left which made it even sweeter.  It's made from a lovely crepe type fabric which hangs so well.  Gray bought me the pretty Tatty Devine paisley brooch for my birthday and I think it looks fab on this dress, it deserves a plain background to show it off in it's full glory ;)


Dress: Topshop
Shoes: French Sole @ Spartoo Shoes*
Brooch: Tatty Devine

I am so glad the weekend is here again!  This week hasn't been too bad as weeks go I am just really tired and looking forward to a nice lie in.  I've got a weekend filled full of friends and family, just what the doctor ordered.  What are your plans for the weekend?

♥♥♥

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Roses Are Red

I am a very lucky girl this Valentines, not only have I got my lovely husband spoiling me Missguided and MyTights have got in on the action too and sent me lovely little gifts, how thoughtful!  I haven't worn as much red since I went copper (Sarah pulls red hair/red dresses off wonderfully) and still feel that I need the black to break it up.  I don't do sexy (couldn't if I wanted to!) so always go for the cutesy/comfy option instead.  I am so glad I bought this jumper, it goes with so many things and I wear it so often.  I am loving the French Sole shoes I got recently although the recent cold snap has made me think I should reach for my boots instead, cold feet!


Skirt: Missguided*
Jumper: River Island
Tights: MyTights*
Shoes: French Sole @ Spartoo*

The little felt heart I am holding in the full length photo is left over from our wedding table decorations, I filled a vase with them and it sits by the tv as a happy reminder.  What are you doing this Valentines day?  Gray is going to cook me a good steak when we get home from work, he is then going to tuck into the cake I baked for him last night before we head off to the cinema to see Die Hard, perfect way to spend Valentines! hehe.  The cake was so easy to make by the way, recipe will be on the blog on Sunday.  Have a lovely day however you're spending it.

♥♥♥

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Wednesday Wants

Not sure you lot are going to believe me but compiling this wishlist is the first time this week that I have looked at clothes online, that's a small miracle right there!  My obsession has currently been replaced with homeware, I have almost decided the colour scheme for each room ;)  Things are progressing with the house sale/purchase - why does it need to take so long in this country?!

Boohoo have just released their latest Boutique collection and it's mighty fine.  I think this paisley mixed fabric dress is my favourite piece, love the pearl trim too!

Dress: Boohoo

I must be longing for Spring and warmer days with this next dress from New Look.  I have avoided florals for a while after over dosing on them a couple of years ago and am ready to reintroduce them back into my wardrobe.  I love the tapestry effect and the whole colour palette. 

Dress: New Look

More monochrome, now that is a surprise.  I love the varying widths of the stripes, definitely makes these horizontal stripes more flattering, especially with the majority of the skirt being black.

Dress: asos

I already have these shoes with laces on them (you can see them here) and already want this version, perfect for the impending summer!


Shoes:  Rocket Dog @ Spartoo

♥♥♥

Monday, 11 February 2013

Bold Stripes

Monday comes round so quickly :(  I had a lovely relaxing weekend though, hope you guys did too!  You will have read this already if you follow us over on Where Are My Knees, this week I lost my first stone of the year! RESULT!!  I treated myself to a couple of potatoes with my roast and a pudding, last treat til I shift the next stone, I want to lose a further 14-21lbs in time for summer and am well on the way to getting to my target weight.

This Missguided dress is pretty similar to the Motel one I purchased earlier this year (but haven't yet shared on here, will rectify that soon!) It's more work friendly as it actually covers my butt... it's a bargain at under £20 too.  I decided to team it with my new polka dot shoes, I love mixing spots and stripes.


Cardigan: H&M
Dress: Missguided
Shoes: Rocket Dog @ Spartoo*

I have another busy week planned hopefully followed by a nice relaxing weekend, have you got any exciting plans for the week? There's also that little Valentines day to think about... I've got Gray a little pressie and we're going to see Die Hard, perfect!

♥♥♥

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday Sweets #17 Cherry Bakewell Cake


Ingredients
200g butter, well softened 
200g golden caster sugar
100g ground almonds
100g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 large eggs

For the filling and top
1/2 a 340g jar morello cherry jam
175g icing sugar
5-6 tsp water
1 tbsp ready toasted flaked almonds 




Method
 
Heat oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.

Butter and line the bases of 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins with baking paper.

Using electric beaters, beat together all the cake ingredients with a pinch of salt until smooth, then spoon into the tins and level the tops.

Bake for 30 mins or until golden and springy. Don't open the oven before 25 mins cooking time has passed.

When they're ready, cool the sponges for a few minutess, then tip out of the tins and cool completely on a wire rack. Make sure the top of one of the cakes is facing up as you'll want a smooth surface for the icing later on.

When cool, put one sponge on a serving plate, then spread with jam. Sandwich the second sponge on top.

Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the water, then stir until smooth and thick.

Spread evenly over the top and let it dribble over the sides.

Scatter with the nuts and leave to set for a few minutess before cutting.


Enjoy!

♥♥♥

Friday, 8 February 2013

Andy Pandy

Good morning all.  I am feeling particularly cheery today, The Harcombe diet is really suiting me and has made me feel so much better in general.  Almost worth doing without the weight loss for this reason alone!  Work colleagues have commented on how much 'fresher' I look and I no longer suffer from the dreaded 3pm sugar slump which used to have me almost dropping off at my desk.  I kid you not... all this without the help of caffeine, who would have thought?!

I am wearing my new French Sole shoes, I now understand why they have a cult following - they are just so damn cute and pretty comfy.  I didn't get the totally flat ones as I don't find flats very comfy, these have a very slight wedge heel which is enough to make them like slippers.


Pinafore Dress: Topshop
Top: H&M
Shoes: French Sole @ Spartoo*

I love this pinafore.  I don't care if it makes me look about 5 it makes me happy.  I really fancy rocking this at a gig but always manage to forget about buying tickets (have missed the last two Maccabees tours because of this :( ) I used to hang on the phone on release day desperately trying to get tickets to see all my favourite bands.  Haven't had time to go to many gigs recently, last band I went to see was The Cribs who were bloody amazing.  Hannah told me about StubHub which is owned by eBay and allows you to buy tickets from other fans without the worry of getting ripped off or the tickets not arriving in time.  I wish I had of known about this when my friends missed out on Robbie Williams tickets.  Click here for more info, they also offer theatre tickets and if you're that way inclined sporting events!

♥♥♥
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