Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Wednesday Wants

I am in full on party dress mode, it's nearly CHRISTMAS guys!! I might not need a fancy frock for a Christmas party (ours is not until January) and I might have been wearing Christmas dresses every day so far in December but that does not stop me swooning over the abundance of gorgeous dresses available for party season.

I had great difficulty choosing this dress, not because it is not absolutely stunning but because there are three absolutely stunning party dresses from Jack Wills.  Jack Wills always surprises me as I assume I won't like what they have to offer but I am very happy to be proved wrong.  These two dresses are also gorgeous but lost out to this one because I love the combination of the print and the cut of this dress.  Keep on proving me wrong please Jack Wills!!

 Dress: Jack Wills

Okay so I will never have the figure to wear this one but that doesn't mean I don't adore it.  Just imagine it on the dance floor, sequins twinkling and the fringe flouncing around with every move.  Just perfect.

Dress: asos

Chi Chi have really upped their game this year and have produced some blinders.  No longer too much lace, too over done, they have bought out some gorgeous shapes in amazing fabrics.  I love this bold floral number, so pretty.

Dress: Chi Chi

♥♥♥

Friday, 12 December 2014

Mulled Wine, Apple & Plum Christmas Crumble




You can always rely on a crumble to be a winner at this time of the year.  I’ve been requested to make a crumble for Christmas day so wanted to make sure it captures everything that is Christmas and turn it into a total winter warmer.  My first thought was it needed to include spices as they go wonderfully well with apples and the smell of them slowly cooking together is majestic.  Then I thought well it is Christmas so I need to go all out… how about I make mulled wine and cook the fruit in that?! YES!  Obviously you have to make the mulled wine first and you have to make way more than required so you can sip it whilst getting your bake on.  Now that sounds like a good way to spend a few hours doesn’t it?!   


The guys at Fruitdrop kindly sent me a parcel of fruit for supplies, my box had plums in it so I decided to add those into the mix too.  Oh and the oranges are incredibly juicy, perfect!  I love the idea behind Fruitdrop, the main aim is to supply fruit boxes for offices.  I really wish the company I work for would take the hint and sign us up!  The box I received is the 'seasonal' box which contains approximately 50 pieces of fruit and starts at just £24 per box delivered.



To make the mulled wine pour a bottle of red (I used a Bordeaux as recommended by Little B) into a saucepan and heat gently.  Add the juice of an orange plus a sliced orange, 5 tablespoons of light muscovado sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, a few cloves and a pinch of nutmeg.  I brought it to the boil then let it simmer for 15 minutes before draining and having a little glass.  Make sure you catch all of the cloves, no one wants to accidentally eat one. 

Ingredients
4 apples, peeled/cored & cut into eights
4 plums, stones removed and chopped in half
350ml Mulled Wine
2tbsp Light Muscovado Sugar

For the Crumble
175g Plain Flour
75g Unsalted Butter (softened to room temperature)
75g Light Muscovado Sugar
½ tsp Cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 180c 

Add the peeled, cored and chopped apples along with the de-stoned plums into 350ml mulled wine.

Add 1tbsp sugar and simmer for 10 or so minutes until the apples have softened.  The fruit will have taken on the wonderfully rich colour of the wine.

Drain the wine into a jug and place the fruit into the bottom of your dish.

Return the wine to the pan and add the remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Simmer for around 15 minutes when the liquid should have thickened and reduced.

Whilst this is cooling make the crumble – sift the flour, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl and add the butter.  Rub together using your fingers until combined and resembling breadcrumbs.

Pour the mulled wine syrup over the fruit before topping with your crumble mix.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden on top. 

Serve with custard, ice cream or my favourite – cream, the thicker the better. Yum!



♥♥♥

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Reflections



With the New Year getting ever nearer it seems only right to reflect on this past year and start making plans for 2015.  Whilst up in Manchester recently I got chatting to Gray's sister about their happy jar.  Everything that makes them happy that year, no matter how big or small, gets written on a bit of paper and put in the jar for reading over a glass of bubbles on New Years Eve.  I absolutely love this idea and am going to try and do one for 2015.  I say try because I quite often fail at something like this, whether it be write in a new diary or stick to that diet I am very good at saying 'lets do it' and very bad at keeping it going past a couple of weeks.  They also set themselves little goals for the year such as visit two new cities and drink less in the week. 

Now I rarely drink anyway but visiting places in the UK is something Gray and I have already vowed to do.  We have been away for the last few weekends and have had a blast, whilst I wouldn't want to go away every weekend it is something I am determined to keep up.  I have also found out that Gray has only ever been to Scotland once on a stag night so that is where we need to start.  I used to visit Edinburgh once a month a few years ago but haven't been for a number of years now and I think Gray will love it.

Hotel Direct have just launched an Edinburgh Twitter guide to help those in and around Edinburgh pick up tips and advice of things happening nearby.  It covers all sorts of topics from the best places to stay in Edinburgh, the best places to eat along with music and culture.  Apart from all the usual touristy things and Edinburgh being blessed with incredible architecture, Edinburgh is obviously great for shopping but what I really loved was the little independents. I am really looking forward to seeing what has changed and the new treats that await.  I was sad to hear that avalanche records have moved to being online only, I have lost many hours browsing through the CDs and press demos.  I also used to love going to the Liquid Rooms and having a good dance, oh the memories! 

I really need to find out if the Mexican restaurant I used to visit is still there and if it is as good as I remember!  I haven't been able to find one anywhere else that serves such delicious Mexican food though I could quite possibly have bigged it up in my head over the years!  It has almost become my holy grail. I also want to visit a little pub that I fell in love with, I can't quite remember it's name but it was something to do with Frankenstein.  A quick search of google has bought up this place and whilst it is so much bigger than the place I remember it does look really cool.  Anyone know if it's the same place just refurbed?  The place I remember was quite dark and dingy with hidden doors disguised as bookcases.

I would have to squeeze in tea and cake with some of my favourite Edinburgh based bloggers too, oh the excitement.  What's new that I need to make sure I see?  And as always where are the best places for fabric shopping?!

 
 
*Post in collaboration with brand*

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Wednesday Wants

I thought I would do something a little different for my wishlist this week, rather than share my favourite dresses of the week I have decided to have a go at creating my perfect party outfit!  I love it when I have an occasion that requires something really special and more put together than usual.  I enjoy sorting out the little finishing touches and I love playing with the textures of winter clothes. 

Rather than go with the obvious and pick a velvet dress I have gone for a really pretty floaty chiffon number which reminds me of snowflakes and is a lovely subtle nod to winter.  Not sure if the beading is intentionally snowflake shaped?!  Just gorgeous.

 Dress: asos

I have picked out the perfect party shoes, just look at all that glitter!  Okay so maybe navy would have been a better choice for the outfit but it is Christmas and they are amazing so who cares?!  They will certainly make a splash on the dance floor.

Shoes: Faith

I absolutely adore faux fur, it is a winter essential in my wardrobe.  I just love this navy collar from Joules, it will help keep the frostbite at bay without having the same cover up effect of adding a cardigan.  I like to stay glamorous whilst avoiding a chill ;) 

Shrug: Joules
 
Okay so you couldn't get a more perfect little party clutch to pair with this dress could you?!  Big enough for the essentials (cash and phone for me) but small enough not to get in the way on the dance floor.  

Bag: New Look
 
The finishing touch for this outfit has to been this beautiful gem bracelet.  I try not to go overboard with accessories and think that this dress needs the chance to do most of the talking so this chunky bracelet is just perfect.

Bracelet: Joules

If I was doing this for real I would most likely chicken out of the shoes and find a nice navy pair with a big bow but the glitter ones are awesome and deserved to be shared so they are staying!

♥♥♥

Monday, 8 December 2014

Retro Santa and a Giveaway

I didn't think I was ever going to get this dress made,  I had waited til I had made all of my dark based Christmas dresses before changing the overlocker thread to white for the rest of them... and then I was poorly which meant no sewing.  It sucks when that happens!  But I managed to steal a few hours last week and ta-da! It's ready to rock over Christmas.  It had an amazing reaction when I shared it on Instagram so I already know you guys love it as much as I do.  It reminds me of the Cath Kidston santa print from last year, I have an almost matching apron ready to make up the best Christmas outfit ever!  I haven't been around at the weekends to take photos so I thought I would nip to my sisters and get some festive photos next to her Christmas tree.  We have decided against having a real one ourselves this year as we are hardly at home and whilst our fake one is lovely it's not quite the same.

Christine Haynes Emery Dress

Christine Haynes Emery Dress

Christine Haynes Emery Dress




Elephant In My Handbag kindly supplied the fabric for this very Christmassy Emery dress and have also offered up 2.5m of your choice of fabric for me to give away to one lucky reader.  The giveaway is open to UK residents only, to enter please follow the instructions on the widget.  Which fabric will take your fancy?  I love the colours of this one.  I quite fancy a little kitten but instead will have to make do with a dress made out of this.  And I would absolutely love a dress made out of this fabric.  So many fabulous choices!  The giveaway will run until Midnight 17th December.  Don't forget you can still take advantage of my 10% discount code, details in the sidebar.

Good luck!

 
♥♥♥

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

#SimplyBeReal Moments

I do like it when brands run a campaign that is a little different and boy is this campaign from SimplyBe different! SimplyBe have contacted a number of bloggers asking for their 'real moments', things us guys experience in everyday life which shows that fashion doesn't always go as planned.  These anecdotes have been turned into personalised illustrations by a number of talented up and coming illustrators. I must have lucked out when I got paired up with Lauren Bishop!  Her illustration is just beautiful, I actually squealed. 

For my be real moment I chose something which I know you will all be able to relate to, that time spent in front of a chock-a-block wardrobe with clothes all over the place having been tried on but not being quite right.  Having so many options that it is impossible to find something to wear.

a million dresses yet still nothing to wear...

Now if I had of been asked the same question this week I might have had a more amusing tale to share... this weekend we went away to visit family.  I didn't want to crease my dresses so didn't put them in the suitcase and hung them next to the suitcase instead.  Gray picked up our suitcase and put it in the car, I picked up my phone and got distracted by instagram... and this is where my dresses stayed for the whole weekend leaving me in Brixham already wearing the only dress I had with me.  Doh.  Good job it was a great dress ;)

I would love to hear about your  #SimplyBeReal moment, make me feel a bit better and share it with me in the comments below.  Remember to use the hashtag if you share on twitter, I'm off to have a browse and a chuckle at the hashtag.

♥♥♥

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wednesday Wants

Ooooh I am excited!  All the beautiful party dresses are online and enticing me with their siren call.  I am swooning all over the place.  I don't really have the occasion for many party dresses but that doesn't mean I shouldn't indulge, right?!  Perfectly acceptable office wear.  I promise I haven't chosen them all with my favourite shoes in mind.  Okay maybe they have influenced my choices a little bit but they are all crackers in their own right!

How sassy does she look wearing this beauty?!  Look at the drape of that skirt, I am in love.  Also really love the shoes she is wearing, I would never be able to walk in them but oh my they are pretty!

 Dress: asos

Oh the fabric!   I am not a lover of all things floral but this is pretty abstract it barely qualifies.  It is so, so lovely.  One thing asos do really well is party dresses, I think the price for the quality is spot on and I have never been disappointed by one I have seen in real life.  I cannot get this one out of my head.

 Dress: asos

I couldn't but together a party dress wishlist without including a bit of sparkle now could I?! I love how simple but dressy this LDB is. 

Dress: asos

Have you bought your party dress yet?

♥♥♥

Friday, 7 November 2014

Christmas Party Dress Planning

So Halloween and Bonfire Night are now out of the way so that means we can legitimately drop the C-word doesn't it?!  CHRISTMAS!  It's now just around the corner and things are about to get busy.  This is our last free weekend until the big day, eeeekk!  With that in mind I have already started planning a few outfits ready for the party season.  My favourite so far has to be this Christmas bauble dress.  We are going to a wedding in December and the evening before brings a Christmas jumper party, only I have been instructed that I need to make a fitting dress instead.  Christmas jumpers are so 2013 anyway, hehe.

I pulled together this outfit before actually ordering the fabric, I was certain that I wanted to make the most of the pink in the design so teamed with pink nails and my brightest pink lippy I think it is going to be perfect.  I am so happy with how this Christine Haynes Emery dress has turned out.  I love that it is so Christmas without being too in your face.  I cannot wait to wear it.  The outfit is obviously all based around these amazing Orla Kiely for Clarks shoes.  They will definitely make the best party shoes don't you think?!  Incredibly cute and super comfy, perfect for dancing the night away.  The whole AW14 Collection has been spot on, I cannot wait to see what the future brings with this collaboration - I already know SS15 is awesome too. 

Christine Haynes Emery Dress

Christine Haynes Emery Dress
 Bag: asos

Clarks Orla Kiely Shoes

I have quite a few Christmas dresses planned this year, not quite one for each day of the December count down but there is still time for me to find more fabrics I *need*.  Might make it to the 12 days of Christmas instead!  Are you going to be making yourself a little Christmas dress or skirt this year or are you going to go for a jumper instead?  If you fancy a Christmas dress but not the actual making of it have a look at Silly Old Sea Dog's new Christmas range - it's fabulous!





♥♥♥

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Wednesday Wants

Just a quick little wishlist from me today, haven't had much time recently but didn't want to go another week disappointing my Mum by not putting up a wishlist!  Whilst I have always kept an eye on Little Mistress for party dresses I was really surprised the other day that they have got this good! When did that happen?!  No longer too short and a bit too much they are now the things of dreams.  I absolutely adore metallics so the first and last ones score major points with me along with looking really fancy and perfect for the upcoming party season.  I really love the stripes.  I love that the navy one is pretty dressy whilst still being simple.  I especially love the pattern placement of the last one, it's spot on.  Good work Little Mistress!

 Dress: Little Mistress

 Dress: Little Mistress


♥♥♥

Monday, 3 November 2014

#MyStressFree - A Giveaway

Things that most people find relaxing just don't work for me - I really do not like baths for instance.  Apart from the whole lying in your own dirt bit I just get too hot within about two minutes of getting in one and cannot wait to get out.  Reading doesn't relax me.  I barely read apart from on holiday as once I start I just cannot stop until I have finished the book.  The anticipation kills me!  Not great when you have to get up for work the next day and have seen in the early hours behind the pages of a book.  I also don't find exercise in the slightest bit relaxing, I can honestly say I have never enjoyed a single second of exercise.

So what do I do to relax and keep stress at bay? I sew.  The time spent behind the sewing machine is the most relaxing part of my day.  I can lose myself and totally clear my mind whilst listening to the sewing machine whirl away.  It means I also actually disconnect from the digital world for a while too which can never be a bad thing.  I make the same dress pattern time and time again which means I don't really have to think about what I am doing.  I have adjusted the dress to fit me perfectly so I know that the resulting dress will fit me like a glove.  This has an added bonus too, I no longer have the stress of actually going out and buying clothes.  Wondering whether an item will fit and having to go into changing rooms has always been the part of shopping I dislike.  Ready to wear sizing being all over the place doesn't help stress levels or make for a happy Sarah!

I spent a few hours on Saturday in my favourite place whipping up a dress.  I have even come to enjoy ironing now I have a big steam iron thingy.  Not sure what the technical name is but it is so good!  Wooshing out that steam is very therapeutic.  The fabric is a beautiful buttery soft voile by Art Gallery called City Lights.  The inspiration for the collection is New York City and I love this fabric, I've had my eye on it for a while.








StressFreePrint have teamed up with a group of bloggers to find out what their #MyStressFree is in time for National Stress Awareness Day on the 5th of November.  They have very kindly supplied me with my chosen fabric to help me de-stress.  That's not all, they also have supplied a £50 gift voucher for my chosen way to destress so you can get in on the act and chase away any stresses too.  I have chosen The Village Haberdashery for the giveaway prize, not only do they sell a wonderfully put together range of fabrics they also cater for knitters, crocheters and embroiderers meaning there is a craft for all.  They also sell light shade making kits which would make a great pressie for a crafty type, I have fancied giving that a go for a while.

To be in with a chance to win the voucher all you need to do is leave a comment telling me how you like to destress.  There are other optional entries too, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget. 


The giveaway ends on Monday 17th November.  Good luck guys!

♥♥♥

*Post in collaboration with brand*

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Perfect Autumn Outfit

I am sure if you're a regular reader you will have worked out that I do not own a single pair of trousers or jeans.  What you might not realise is that my aversion to trousers does not include pyjamas.  This is likely to be the only time you ever see photos of me in 'trousers' on this blog.  I am never happy when I am wearing a pair of cosy PJs, my happiest days are those when I have no reason to get out of them and can lounge around without a care in the world.  I was over the moon when I found out I had won the Hush Sunday brunch style challenge, all I could think of was I want all the PJs!  The prize was a voucher to spend on items of my choice.  I had been wanting a pair of Hush pyjamas since I saw their cute summer ones.  I opted for two pairs and two jumpers to wear over the top of them so I can change into them when I get home and get comfy behind the sewing machine.

These photos were taken the day they arrived, I couldn't wait to get them on.  I would have put them on at work if that wouldn't have been totally weird...    I picked up the Totes socks from the supermarket but can't find them online any where.  I always have cold feet and usually wear my super warm slippers but loved the way the PJs had been styled by Hush so wanted to get in on the big chunky sock action.  It just so happens that my Boden slippers go perfectly with the second pair of PJs, that might have been an influencing factor!  I picked up the slippers in the sale and I have to say they are the best ones I've owned, I think they were about £6.  Toasty warm.

The burgundy jumper is made with alpaca hair/fur/wool? Not sure what the right term is but whatever it is I love it as much as I love their cute little faces.  It is lightweight but warm and cosy.  I am drinking more of the GU salted caramel hot chocolate, if you haven't tried it you really must! Mmmmmm.  Nothing I like more than Autumn evenings snuggling in my favourite PJs with a cup of good hot chocolate.  Perfect.






Who wouldn't want a pair these PJs waiting at the end of the bed for them, so inviting!

♥♥♥

Friday, 24 October 2014

My Jolie Candle - A Giveaway





I hadn't heard of My Jolie Candle before they contacted me asking if they could send me a gift.  I had a look at their site and loved the concept so said yes please and totally forgot about it until a package arrived.  I opened the box to be greeted by the most wonderfully thought out packaging to find not just a candle but various other treats including a personalised passport cover.  How cool!

How it works is you choose the type of jewellery (ring/bracelet/necklace) and the scent of the candle.  You find out what it contains by burning the candle and retrieving the foil package the jewellery is securely placed in.  There are 100 different styles of silver jewellery all made with Swarovski Elements crystals.  Not only that some candles contain real gold jewellery worth up to 5,000€.  There is even a instagram hashtag to share your surprise.  Such a cute concept.




I opened the candle and had a little sniff, I can confirm the rose candle smells amazing.  I wanted to know what surprise necklace the candle was hiding so promptly lit it and waited.  And I waited.  I got a bit impatient so grabbed the husband's tweezers (there was no way I was going to use mine!) and had a dig around til I managed to get hold of the foil package and pull it out.  I got a silver bow necklace with black crystals across the centre.  I can also report after running them under the hot tap Gray's tweezers are totally fine.  Haha.  The candle is burning away on my sewing desk again making it all smell lovely and floral.




The best bit is My Jolie Candle have offered up a candle containing your choice of jewellery and scent to one reader of A Million Dresses.  To enter all you need to do is leave a comment below letting me know whether you would prefer a ring, bracelet or necklace and your choice of scent along with your email address or Twitter handle.  The giveaway runs until 7th November at 6pm.  And if you get one of the real gold pieces of jewellery in yours, remember me ;)

**EDIT**  Random.org picked comment number 6 which is - Alex @oddsocksalex :)







♥♥♥

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wednesday Wants

I am well in to planning some of my party season dresses and am cooing over all the amazing textures and embellishments around at the moment.  I haven't had a full on sequin wow! yet but I am sure that is to come.  Party dresses are much harder to create for me than every day dresses as it is so hard to find the kind of fabric the high street uses.  Everything I find seems to be a poo-brown colour and that really isn't what I am going for!

I love the opulance of this jaquard dress from asos.  I love the detail of the added gems though I certainly wouldn't have added the two nipple placed ones!  The dress can do without that.  I think they work beautifully on the skirt though and elsewhere on the bodice. 

 Dress: asos

The addition of embellishement has given this simple dress a totally different feel.  I love how something so simple can be so effective.  It's not the right colour for me otherwise this one would defo be in my basket by now!

 Dress: asos

I feel that this dress is let down by the images.  The dress is clearly too big for the model and it is really distracting but IT IS HOLOGRAPHIC!  That has to make it a winner especially when combined with lovely length sleeves.  It's like Christmas in a dress.

Dress: asos

♥♥♥

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fever London Stitch Up

Fever London dropped me a line asking if I would like to join them for an evening of crafting and cake.  I didn't have to think about that for long, you had me at cake! Okay so I am not that easy to entice down to London but when you throw in one of my other favourite past-times and the chance to catch up with a few blogger babes I will be there with a cherry on top.  Unfortunately the jam jars were not the only jam, my camera decided to jam and let me down the evening before so I am bringing you the best the iPhone 6 has to offer.  Forgot to take it off square images though, sorry!

Fever London are a brand I already keep my beady eye on, I have been to their London store before and love having a browse of their collection stocked at my local retailer, Aspire Style.  Their pretty dresses are right up my street, think lots of 50's silhouettes and some to die for evening wear.  And the coats.  Oh the coats.  I absolutely adore the Iris coat especially in the forest green colour way.  Drool worthy.

We kicked off the crafting by making a corsage using fabric from Fever's clothing.  I was wearing my green coat so decided that the striped chiffon was the perfect match.  Unfortunately I didn't really think through my choice of fabric, it didn't have enough body to give it any structure so I had to add lots of stitches to stop it from flopping all over the place.
 





I took along some of the jam jars we had left over from our wedding to decorate.  They already had the date and our names etched on them so I decided to keep it simple and just add a bit of lace and wooden heart buttons.  Using the glue gun to attach the lace was incredibly satisfying.  We all very much enjoyed getting glue all over the place. 





Finally we all made drawstring bags.  They were super easy to make and would take minutes to whip up on a sewing machine.  I decided to embellish my already busy fabric with a big bow and leave it at that.  Look at how proud Lauren is with hers! 








My two favourite pieces were the Iris coat, as mentioned above, shown below in the charcoal colour way and the Doris skirt.  I also adore the names they give their garments, my favourites all seem to have 'old lady' names. 







One thing I didn't know is Fever London have recently launched a home wear collection.  And just like their clothes it is beautiful!  I can't stop thinking about the teacup plates. 








 Lauren, Jaclyn, Sherin and I posing with our makes - photo thanks to Jaclyn

Jaclyn took lots of beautiful photos, more of which can be seen here and Fever took some funny photos of us all which can be seen here.  It was a lovely evening with great company, can we do it again soon please Fever?!

♥♥♥

*Post in collaboration with Fever London*
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