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!

 
♥♥♥

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