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Monday, 30 October 2017

An Autumn Wardrobe Update

An-Autumn-wardrobe-update
An-Autumn-Wardrobe-Update

Autumn and winter are my absolute favourite seasons to update my wardrobe for. If I'm being honest, I could happily go through Spring and Summer without buying a single thing, surviving on t-shirts, jeans, jumpsuits and converse that I already own. But when the colder months roll around I want almost everything in the stores! I love it all. The layering options, the knitwear that I would wear everyday of my life if I could, and the coats -I do love a good coat. Over the last few weeks I've picked up a few lovely things that I can now finally start wearing and I'm so happy about it.

An-Autumn-Wardrobe-Update

The first proper cold weather purchase I made this year was the cropped striped jumper from Zara. I actually picked it up weeks ago when I was shopping with C, and it was painful to watching it hanging on the rail at home while it was still too warm to wear it. It's feels such good quality, really thick and a good weight, so although it's cropped, it'll keep you lovely and warm. Then from cropped to massively over sized, and again from Zara. It's such a lovely cosy jumper, a big roll neck, nice and fluffy but not itchy wool. If you are looking to pick up some nice knitwear from this season, I'd definitely recommend Zara.

An-Autumn-Wardrobe-Update
An-Autumn-Wardrobe-Update

I've been after one of these denim jackets for over a year now. Each time I found one to try on, I just didn't like it, it didn't sit right for one reason or another. I found this one in Topshop recently and assumed it would be much the same, so didn't hold out much hope when trying it on. But I was wrong, it fits just how I'd like it to and the Borg lining makes it one of the cosiest jackets I own. Also, my "Jar of Fucks" pin now has somewhere to sit. And can we just take a moment to appreciate how wonderful that pin is!

A blanket scarf is always something I like to have in my wardrobe and this orangey brown one is different to any I have already. Asos scarves are great value for money, this one was only £18, and I have another that I've had for years now, it's been worn to death and still looks great. And last but not least are my paper bag top trousers from Topshop. Topshop always do great trousers, I have a similar pair to these in a plain grey, so when I spotted this checked pair I ordered them straight away. Because I have quite a high waist, I find this style of trouser the most flattering on me. They look great with shirts, t-shirts, heels and flats, and I love to style them with my leather jacket.

Have you picked up any new things this season that you can't wait to wear?

Products mentioned...

Zara cropped jumper - £29.99
Zara oversized jumper - £39.99
Asos scarf - £18
Topshop trousers (similar) - £42
Topshop jacket - £65
Jar pin - £6
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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes

pumpkin-spiced-pancakes
pumpkin-spiced-pancakes

Have you enjoyed your extra hour in bed this morning? I do love it when the clocks go back.

There is nothing better on a Sunday morning, than waking up late and spending time making something tasty for brunch. Pancakes are usually our go-to, there are so many options with them, and they don't require too much effort. Plus, there is something lovely about a Sunday morning, when you have plenty of time to stand by the hob, frying a couple at a time. Around this time of year however, there is one pancake recipe that beats the rest hands down -pumpkin spiced pancakes!!

I've been making these for a while now, and they are always a huge hit! I use our standard fluffy pancake recipe with the addition of pumpkin and spices, there was a bit of playing around with quantities at the beginning, but 1/2 a can of pumpkin is just perfect, giving you soft fluffy pancakes. As with the plain ones, they freeze really well if you make too many, and something my mum likes to do with them, is pop them in the toaster. They go crispy on the outside, and stay fluffy in the middle, and with the addition of cinnamon butter, they can be quite addictive. They also work great with things like cream cheese frosting, maple syrup and apple sauce. And if you feel like it, they are amazing with streaky bacon too!

pumpkin-spiced-pancakes

Ingredients: (makes around 12, depending on size)

1 cup of plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon chinese 5 spice
1 egg
1/2 tin of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup of milk
2 tablespoons melted butter

- Into a large bowl, sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices, to make sure you have no lumps.

- Into a second bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, milk, egg and melted butter. Making sure the butter has cooled slightly so you don't scramble your eggs. Add the wet mix to the dry and whisk together until fully combined. 

- Warm a little oil in a frying pan on a low to medium heat, add spoonfuls of mixture, making the pancakes any size you like.

- Cook for around 4 minutes, or until you see lots of bubbles on top, then flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

For the cinnamon butter, you will need...

4 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of icing sugar

- Add the cinnamon and icing sugar to soft, room temperature butter and mix until fully combined and smooth. 

- Leave in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to firm up, and serve with warm pancakes.

pumpkin-spiced-pancakes

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Friday, 27 October 2017

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

Today has been one of the most productive days Paul and I have had in a long time! We were up and out early, Paul had an eye test, we ran a bunch of errands in town, bought all of our Christmas cards. Then home to tidy the garden, take photos for two blog posts, one of which was very difficult to get, but we managed, write one for Sunday, and now I'm writing this. It's a good feeling, and will make our lazy night feel even better. Because it's Halloween weekend, we will be carving pumpkins on Sunday. My brother and his girlfriend are coming round because she has never done it before -never! So that should be fun. Also. Can you believe there are only a few days left until the Bake Off final!  

1. Painting my little nieces face for her Halloween disco. She wanted to be a broken doll and she looked amazing when she was all dressed up, socks and all.

2. Thor Ragnarok, it was amazing! Maybe one of my favourite Marvel films so far...but that's a hard to say for definite.

3. Anthropologie at the moment, it's full of so many amazing things.

4. Green Tobasco Sauce, it's so hard to find sometimes, but it's so good with mac n cheese. Which we will be making on Tuesday for Halloween night. 

5. My new boots. A bargain from Asda at £25!

6. Stopping for cheeseburgers, just after midnight, on a long drive home from the Enchanted Forest. 

7. Stocking up on pumpkins, and climbing through the containers to find the best ones.

8. The fact that we're having curry for dinner tonight! 


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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Trying Foundations for our Wedding

Wedding-Make-Up-Testing
Wedding-Make-Up-Testing

Today, it's exactly one year until Paul and I get married. This time October 2018, we will be in New York, together with the people we love most in the world, and I hope having the most wonderful time. It feels as if a countdown has now officially begun! Tonight we will be emailing the photographer to go over our plans and what we'd like for the day. Soon, looking to tick of any big things we still have to do, such as book an officiant, and organise any little things like flowers. It was a sad thing when we decided to moved it from this year until next, but I can't quite believe how quickly it's come around, and everything has fallen perfectly into place, so it really was the best decision.

One thing I have thought all along, is that I'd like to do my own make-up. I'm no make up artist, but seeing as we'll be in another country without much time for trials before the day itself, it's seemed like the safest things to do (famous last words?). And who knows your face better than you do, right? I'm hoping this will still be the case in a years time, plus a year gives me plenty of time to practice, and figure out exactly what I'd like to do.

I was out in Edinburgh recently with my friend, we were coat shopping for him and having a good look around at clothes and Christmas decoration. While we were there, and surrounded by make up counters, I thought I'd start collecting some foundations samples and quizzing the people on the counters about wedding make up. If I'd thought about this before going, I would have done my own research and made a point of going to a set few counters, but seeing as I didn't, brands were kind of chosen at random. Which was actually quite nice, and has maybe given me choices I wouldn't have thought of before. We spoke to some lovely girls. They were so helpful, gave us plenty of  their time and answered all the questions we had, and I left with some really great sized samples. The girl we spoke to on the YSL counter even gave me a mini primer that cost around £10 to buy. I left with enough of each foundation to give them all a proper trial. And, the amazingly friendly woman on the By Terry counter gave me a full set of base products! I left her with a serum, a primer, two foundations to try, and a setting powder. She said, "if you're going to try a foundation, you may as well try it with the rest of the base products" - a very good point.

Wedding-Make-Up-Testing
Wedding-Make-Up-Testing

The samples I picked up were:

Estee Lauder -
Double Wear Foundation

YSL  -
All Hours Foundation,
Touche Eclat Foundation
Blur Primer
Moisture Glow Primer

Fenty Beauty Foundation

By Terry  -
Hyaluronic Hydra Primer
Opulent Foundation
Cover Expert Foundation
Cellularose Brightening Serum
Hyaluronic Powder

Sisley -
PhytoTeint Expert Foundation
Sisleya Le Teint Foundation
Phyto Cernes Eclat Concealer

So far, I've only tried out the By Terry Cover Expert, which I like but am not 100% sure of -although I love the setting powder! I'm planning on testing them all out, making notes of how they wear and how I like to apply them, and hopefully somewhere down the line I'll have my very favourite foundation, that will look wonderful on our wedding day. I think I'll still do a little online research and pick up another few when I'm next in Edinburgh. And even if these are all complete fails for me, it's still fun to try them out, and is another little things that helps build excitement for next year. Now that wedding plans have started again, I'd love to take you along with anything I can, so I'll hopefully have a few more wedding related posts up over the next year. And if there's anything specific you'd like a post on, please let me know.

Do you have any recommendations that would be good for a wedding day? I'd love to hear them if you do.





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Friday, 20 October 2017

Made Me Happy This Week

Made-Me-Happy-This-Week

We finally have a new backdoor, and the difference it makes is unbelievable! The previous door was old, and just a little bit rubbish. It let in a lot of cold air so the extension wasn't used much in the colder months, but now it's so much warmer, and a lot brighter. Paul's dad will be back this weekend to finish around the inside of the door frame, and then I can repaint the wall, just in time for Halloween. And now we have french doors, and can see a lot more of the garden, it's given me a reason to finally buy fairy lights for our apple trees.

1. Having my mum come to my rescue when the worlds biggest spider was in our living room. There's always one when I'm home alone!

2. We've been snacking on Reeses pumpkins this week, well, it is October. Sadly they're all gone now, but thinking about it that's probably a good thing.

3. Our new Halloween place mats. We have pumpkins and skulls so even our table looks festive.

4. Stocking up on some crackers, biscuits and chocolates for Christmas while they seem to be on offer everywhere.

5. After looking everywhere I finally have a Halloween t-shirt I love, and even some sparkly bat covered tights now too.

6. Speaking of bats, we picked up an outfit for Sookie this week. Completely ridiculous I know, but she looks absolutely adorable with her little bat wings.

7. My mums doing an Elf on the Shelf competition with her friend this December, so she's stockpiling photos just now. While we were out on Wednesday, he was scanning shopping in Matalan, sitting in the dentist chair, and even in a police van. Everyone she's asked has been very good about it so far, I can't wait to see the rest.

8. Recipe testing this week for some tasty things that should be up here soon.
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Monday, 16 October 2017

Tea Light Ghosts - Halloween DIY

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY

Halloween will be here in just under two weeks time, and while I'm struggling a little to accept that fact, I am still very excited! Our collection of Halloween decorations is something we like to add to each year. Just as we do with Christmas, we like to pick up a couple of really nice bits each time the seasons roll around and we've built up a pretty good selection so far, but there's always room for more.

A couple of years ago now, I made these Christmas gift tags with air drying clay. They were really simple to do, and I had planned to make more but as things got tidied away and moved around over time, I forgot all about the left over clay. I came across it again a couple of weeks ago, and after being shocked that it hadn't dried out, I started to think of what I could use it for. Paul and I talked about it for a while, we considered making more gift tags (which I might still do), but then Paul thought ghosts! Ghosts are white, they clay is white -perfect!

These are honestly the easiest decoration you can make, but they are so effective and look as good as any you've bought when they're lit up at night. Also a fantastic one for you to make with kids, the longest and most boring part is having to wait days for them to dry. I haven't tried using these with normal tea lights, but to be honest I wouldn't risk it. If you are going to make them, please be safe and use the battery operated ones.

You will need:
Air drying clay
Rolling pin
Cling film
Non stick mat
Piping nozzle/straw -anything to make eye holes
Things to shape you ghosts over

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY
Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY
Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY

- Choose the items you want to shape your ghosts over. Eggs in egg cups, novelty salt and pepper shakers, glasses, ornaments, small bottles or condiments -anything you like. Once you have them, wrap them in cling film, this protects what your using and makes the ghosts easier to remove when they're dry.

- Take some of the clay, around a golf ball sized amount or more and knead it in your hands a little to warm it up. Place it on your mat and roll out into a circular shape, but you don't have to be perfect with this.

- Take the circle of clay and place it over your chosen item, moving it around until your happy with the shape. When you are, all you need to do it give it little face. I used a piping nozzle for the larger ghosts, and simply made holes with a knife on the smaller ones.

- When you have made, shaped and given features to as many little ghosts as you like, you just have to leave them to dry. It will depend on the clay you're using -mine was 4-5 days, but I'd add an extra day to be safe.

And that's all you have to do, your little ghosts will be ready to light up any room on Halloween. You could of course paint them, add glitter or give them any extra features but I think there is something lovely about them just the way they are, marks, lines and all.

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY


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Friday, 13 October 2017

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

We're just under two weeks into October, and while I feel we've been quite reserved with our Halloween buying so far, it's getting harder to be. We've picked up a few bits from Homesence and Tkmaxx, but now the supermarkets are stepping things up and I'm having to not look in the seasonal isle because I want everything! Especially in Sainsburys. How we left with only milk and onions is beyond me. One thing we still don't have however are pumpkins. Our new french doors got delivered this week and they aren't being fitted until Sunday, meaning the extension is kind of out of use -so no pumpkin carving quite yet. Oh...and how could I forget, it's Friday the 13th! Have you had anything spooky happen to you yet?

1. Woodland walks on late Autumn afternoons, the light is honestly one of my favourites things.

2. Constant photo updates of what my mum is planning for her Christmas decorations this year. She's forgoing the standard green tree and going for one of those bare twiggy ones. I think I'll look lovely.

3. A new cushion I found in TKmaxx that is all things I love. It's teal, velvet and has pom poms!

4. Plum and oat cake, a new favourite of mine that I might give a try at home. It tastes sort of like flapjacks.

5. Balloons arriving for Paul's birthday. I've been buying little bits and hiding them for the last few weeks. His birthday isn't until December, but I like to be organised.

6. Cookie Butter Oreos! Yes. I haven't opened them yet so I can't comment on how they taste but I'm bloody excited to try them.

7. Getting the heavy Winter quilt out. I feel like we're doing it a little earlier than usual but we've had a few cold nights lately.

8. Pumpkin vanilla hand cream, a gift from Paul's mum. It's leaving my hands smelling gorgeous and feeling nice and soft.
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Individual Caramel Apple Pies

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

Pumpkin is everywhere at this time of year, it's the flavour that first comes to mind when you think of Autumn or Halloween. And not just flavours, it's everywhere from home fragrance to decorations (not that I mind at all). But another flavour I always associate with this time of year is apple. It goes so well with cinnamon, and makes lots of very tasty puddings and desserts that are perfect for the colder weather. And, who doesn't love toffee/chocolate apples or apple bobbing towards the end of the month?!

A few weeks ago I made my apple crumble cupcakes, and I promised another recipe using the left over apple sauce from them, so here we are. These sorts of recipes are the reason I like to keep this tasty apple sauce or jam, if you prefer in the freezer. These are very quick, very easy and go so well with the ridiculously easy vanilla ice-cream I'll tell you about later.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

Ingredients:
Apple sauce -(recipe here)
Carnation tinned caramel
Puff pastry sheet x2
1 egg -beaten
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

- Pre-heat your oven to 190°C, and line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Roll out you sheets of ready rolled puff pastry and cut your shapes of choice.

(I used large 4 inch circle cutters and got 3 pies per sheet of puff pastry. The size and shape you want to use will determine how many little pies you end up with.)

-Lay half of the shapes on the baking tray, add a teaspoon of caramel to the centre and spread out but leave at least a 1cm gap around the edge. If you are making mini pies, maybe use half a teaspoon instead.

- After that, add a teaspoon of your apple sauce and again, spread it out until it covers the caramel. With the beaten egg, give the uncovered edges of the pasty egg wash to help seal them.

- With the other half of your shapes, lay them on top carefully and press the edges with a fork so they are sealed all the way round.

- Egg wash the tops, add a sprinkle of brown sugar, and make two small slits in the top -being careful not the cut the base. Bake for 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

I like to serve these with my "cheats" ice-cream. I always prefer cream over ice cream with warm puddings, something which everyone around me finds odd. But this stuff is the perfect compromise! It's basically sweetened frozen cream, but please try it, it tastes so much better than that description sounds.

Whip 600ml of double cream until it starts to thicken, but is still far too runny to hold any shape. Add in a 397g tin of condensed milk, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and mix until everything is well combined. Freeze overnight, and that's it!

It's become something we always have to have in the freezer, so much so that our friend now asks what flavours we have, instead of is we have any.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

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