Festive Nails

Wednesday, 24 December 2014 ·

It's common knowledge that no outfit is complete without some accessories but the thing that really adds the finishing touch? Nail polish of course! Personally, I hate bare nails so my collection of nail polish is a little out of hand but I do have a few firm favourites for the festive season...

Dark sultry nails are a must for the whole of winter, not just Christmas, so no collection is complete without a bright berry shade. My favourite is Raspberry from Barry M which is just the perfect shade as it doesn't have too much red in it so it won't clash with your favourite red dress! 

The newest addition to my collection is Bewitch from the Salon Pro collection by Rimmel. This is a fantastic dark green shade which is just a little bit different without being too 'out there'! I've been looking for the perfect Christmas tree shade for a couple of years now so I was super happy when I found this one which ticks all the boxes. 

No festive nail look is complete without some sparkle, whether that's just on the tips as a festive twist on a French manicure or as a complete top coat. Looking Glass by Ciaté looks great over both Raspberry and Bewitch to add a little sparkle. 

What's your favourite polish to use over the festive season? 

Twisty Cheese Straws

Tuesday, 23 December 2014 ·

With Christmas fast approaching and Christmas parties seemingly every night, there's a constant need of a multitudinous variety of canapés! Personally the easier the canapé the better at this time of the year when there are so many other things to do! This is my ultimate quick and delicious canapé... 

- 100g cream cheese
- 2 tbsp pesto 
- 375g sheet puff pastry 
- 1 egg (beaten) 

1. Combine the cream cheese and pesto together in a small bowl. 

2. Lightly flour the worktop and roll out the puff pastry. Cut the pastry in half lenthways so you are left with two rectangles. 

3. Spread the pesto and cream cheese mix over one half of the pastry and place the other piece of pastry on top like a sandwich and then cut this in half lengthways again to create 2 long rectangles.

4. Divide each rectangle into short strips, around 1cm wide.

5. Twist each of the individual pastry strips and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Brush with beaten egg and then pop them into the oven at 200 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.

Once the time is up simply take them out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

This is one of my favourite canapés to make as it's so quick and easy and is always a crowd pleaser. You can personalise this as much or as little as you like, the options for this really are endless. 

What canapés do you like to make? 

Rudolph Shortbread Biscuits

Monday, 22 December 2014 ·

There's something about Christmas that just makes me want to bake all day every day. The smell of baking in the house is irresistible and it just gets that festive feeling going! I'm not actually the biggest fan of spiced biscuits so this year I decided to make my granny's shortbread biscuits a little festive...

- 6oz plain flour
- 4oz butter (diced)
- 2oz caster sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- glace cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. 

2. Add all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and rub together using your fingers until you have a texture similar to breadcrumbs.  

TIP: You can also use a food processor for this step which is quicker! 

3. Combine the mixture together into a pliable dough. 

4. Roll out the dough until around 3mm thick and cut into circles around 7cm in diameter and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. 

5. Before popping them in the oven cut the glace cherries in half and place one half onto each biscuit - ideally in the middle of the lower half, for Rudolph's nose! 

6. Pop the biscuits in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes. 

7. Once cooked place the biscuits onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

8. Last but not least simply pipe on Rudolph's antlers and eyes - I used premixed tubes of icing for this!

These biscuits are so simple to make and yet so festive at the same time. They make the perfect addition to a festive afternoon cup of tea or even a last minute gift!

What are your favourite sweet things to make at Christmas? 

DIY Herb Markers

Sunday, 21 December 2014 ·

Having a few pots of herbs dotted along my kitchen worktops is one of my favourite ways of adding a little greenery into my little London flat. Of course, there's also the added bonus of having fresh herbs on hand for when your making your next batch of pasta sauce! As a completely unnecessary added touch I decided to make some of these herb markers because it's hard to tell the difference between thyme and basil right? 

What you need...
- Polymer clay (e.g. Fimo) 
- Baking tray 
- Rolling pin
- Knife
- Rubber letter stamps


1. Divide the polymer clay into equal size balls (approximately 1.25 inches in diameter). You'll need 1 ball for each marker you intend on making. 

2. Roll each ball out into a cylinder approximately 5.5 inches long - it's easiest to just use your hands to do this not the rolling pin. 

3. Use the rolling pin to flatten each of the cylinders until they are around 0.25 inches thick. 

4. Using the blunt side of the knife cut off one end of the marker at an angle which will be the end to go into the soil once complete.

5. Smooth out any rough edges using your fingers until you are happy with the overall shape. 

6. Place all of the markers onto the baking tray and use the rubber stamps to label each of your markers. 

7. Last but not least simply bake the markers according to the instructions on your polymer clay. 

These herb markers add a lovely little touch to any plant pot whether it be inside or out, although they will last much better inside. They would also make the perfect gift for someone who likes to do a little gardening no matter what the scale. 

Do you like to make gifts at Christmas time? 

Homemade Epic Hot Chocolate Mix

Friday, 19 December 2014 ·

During these cold winter months, where it seems to barely get light at all, you really can't beat snuggling up on the sofa in front of the fire, with a blanket and a hot chocolate. However, if you fancy making your next hot chocolate just a little more special then you have to try out this recipe for the ultimate indulgent hot chocolate! 

This hot chocolate is literally out of this world and a million times better than any of the versions you can pick up in the shops. 

- 100g finely grated dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) 
- 2 tbsp Horlicks
- 4 tbsp high quality cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 ping ground cinnamon 

1. To make the hot chocolate powder itself it couldn't be easier, simply pop all of the ingredients into a large jar and give it a good mix! 

2. For making the hot chocolate itself all you need to do is heat up some milk in a pan and add in the hot chocolate powder* and whisk until thoroughly combined and then leave to simmer for a couple of minutes. In the end you are looking for a super thick, creamy texture. 

*For 1/4 pint of milk you will need 2.5 tbsp of the powder. 

This hot chocolate is guaranteed to be unlike anything you've ever tried before. It's my ultimate indulgence for when the weather is particularly miserable outside and is perfect for sipping on during a Christmas movie. 

Have you ever made your own hot chocolate? 

5 Pins I'm Loving {2}

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 ·

With my Pinterest addiction really taking hold, the past week has been spent scouring the endless pages of Pinterest in search of some new favourite pins. It's all too easy to get lost for hours at a time so my collection of pins steadily growing - make sure to follow me on Pinterest for more of this... 

1. How beautiful are these hand painted Christmas cards? It can be so hard to find really lovely Christmas cards so it would be great to be able to make my own. If I tried making ones like this it would most likely end up looking like a 3 year old had done it! Pin

2. The search for the perfect Christmas day or outfit can often seem to be an impossible task  but this Ted Baker dress ticks all the boxes for me. The royal blue shade is simply stunning and I love the sheer lace panel across the shoulders. Pin

3. I want to hand make as many things as I can this Christmas, so I'm planning on making everything from the presents to the food. This beautiful natural wrapping has inspired me to even go as far as to make my own Christmas wrapping this year so I'm going to experiment with a few different methods I think! Pin
4. As a sucker for any kind of past dish this pin immediately drew my eye, I mean just look at it - how delicious does that look!? Spaghetti isn't my favourite so I'd probably make this with fusilli but I adore red peppers so I can't wait to make this when I need something a little comforting! Pin

5. This will be the perfect addition to the slowly growing gallery wall in my living room. You can't beat a good quote and with a pop of colour too this is perfect. Pin

Let me know if you love Pinterest as much as me as I'd love some new boards to follow! 

My Little Cosy Box...

Saturday, 13 December 2014 ·

Another month and another My Little Box came through my letter box which this month is aptly named My Little Cosy Box. Mine arrived particularly late in November by which point the weather had well and truly turned for the worse. I was very much in need of some new additions to my cosy night in routine and let me tell you, My Little Box does cosy very very well...

The mix of lifestyle and beauty is aways spot on in these boxes and last month was no exception! We'll start with the beauty bits this time and this time you have the essentials to create a smokey eye look that is ideal for this time of year. 
As always there's something from the My Little Beauty range and this time they treated their subscribers to the mascara. I haven't had chance to try this out yet as I don't like to have more than one mascara on the go at a time! In addition to this there's a classic chocolate eyeshadow that has good colour payoff and is nice a buttery. Last but not least on the beauty front is a staple for every make up bag, a waterproof black eyeliner. This is super creamy and is perfect for tight-lining your eyes! 
Now onto the most exciting part of the box, the lifestyle goodies! How adorable is this little coffee mug?! As always I adore the drawings  and I'm super excited that this month it's on more than just the box and postcard. Last but not least is the lavender wheat bag designed by Tsuhori Chisato which is perfect not only for keeping warm during the colder months but I also love to use it to sooth any muscle pains!

I'm aware that me raving about this box each and every month might be getting a little tiresome but I just can't get enough of it and each month it exceeds my expectations. I've just found out that for December My Little Box has partnered up with Fleur de Force who is one of my favourite YouTubers/bloggers so I can't wait to see what she's chosen for the box - fingers crossed it arrives before I head home for Christmas!

Have you tried My Little Box or any other subscription service? 

Jewellery Storage Inspiration

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 ·

Finding the perfect solution to store your jewellery can seem an impossible task at times and it can be even more difficult to find a cute, practical way to display it! To save you time I've been doing some research and have found some quick, easy and unique ideas for you... 

I've been looking for something to both store and display my jewellery for quite some time now but nothing I've seen ticks all of the boxes. So, plan B was to to turn to my trusty favourite, Pinterest, and I've found some great DIY options and who doesn't love a bit of DIY! 

Who knew there were so many bits and bobs in your kitchen that could double up as jewellery storage? Metal jelly moulds can make perfect storage containers for bracelets or rings and would work either in your drawers or even just out on your dresser. 

I love the idea of using a flat cheese grater to display a select few of my favourite earrings - think I'd spray paint mine rose gold or copper though to make it a little more chic! 
For something a little more complex and that will tick a few more boxes in terms of practicality why not repurpose some old drawers like above? Instead of vintage wooden cotton bobbins you could use pretty ceramic door knobs to add a pop of colour. 

Using an old photo frame like this would literally only take a couple of minutes to throw together and will really bring something unique to your space. Short on surface space then pop it on the wall instead?

I love a good DIY but sometimes can be a little impatient and these quick and easy ideas would provide the instant gratification I tend to crave. 

How do you store and display your jewellery?

Source: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

5 Pins I'm Loving {1}

Sunday, 7 December 2014 ·

Having been suffering from tonsillitis this past week I've spent a little too much time on Pinterest, alright a lot too much time. Narrowing down my favourites was a tricky one but fear not I got there in the end... 

1. We all know I love candles, especially ones in lovely little glass jars but I always feel a little guilty when the candles finished and the jar goes straight in the bin! This pin is my inspiration to clean out the next empty candle jar I have and finally have somewhere to keep all all of the bits and pieces that collect in the bottom of drawers. Source

2. This sink set up is just simply perfection to me. The mirror above is such a great way to make the area into a little bit more of a feature rather than purely practical. But most importantly, the mint green tiles, I adore mint green and yet I'd never thought about incorporating it into my kitchen like this. Source

3. I always have an hour or so set aside every weekend for a long relaxing bath and so I can't get enough of any little luxuries to make this time a little more special. Usually I'm a Lush addict but I'm always on the lookout for new brands or even things that I can make myself. Source

4. A snuggly jumper, plaid/tartan scarf and chic hat - what more could you want for the perfect casual winter outfit? An oversized tartan scarf like this is definitely top of my christmas wish list! Source

5. Baking is pretty much the ideal activity for a rainy Sunday afternoon, and we all know days like that are all too frequent at this time of the year so you can never have too many new recipes to try. These smores bars look fantastic and will definitely be next on my list to attempt! Source

Keep up with more of my favourite pins? Follow me on Pinterest! 

Must Have Apps

Thursday, 4 December 2014 ·

As someone who is more or less surgically attached to her iPhone I am constantly looking for new apps that I can have a play about with or that will simply make my life a little bit easier. Here are some of my most used apps at the moment... 

Pinterest, Free

As you know from this post I've been becoming obsessed with Pinterest lately and it was only a matter of time before the app found it's way onto both my iPhone and iPad... I won't insult you by going into why this is such a great app, instead I'll simply issue a brief warning - if you have any upcoming deadlines DO NOT get this as you'll get nothing done!

Money Dashboard, Free

This is a great free app for keeping track of your finances. It links to your bank account and automatically tags each of your transactions to a certain category and then creates a pie chart (my inner geek loves this) showing the proportion of your spending on certain things. I'm in the process of saving up to move house (again) in the new year and this has been invaluable in showing where I need to cut down my spending.

Afterlight, 69p 

With each iPhone thy release the camera gets better and better and yet still we can't get enough of photo editing apps. There's just something magical about being able to transform a photo into something completely new and Afterlight has a filter for every occasion plus all the basic editing tools you could use. I never buy an app, even one for 69p, but I don't know what I'd do without this one. 

Citymapper, Free

Whether you live in London or are just visiting for the weekend this app needs to have a slot on your home screen. It combines all of the best features of other similar apps, type in your destination and it will shows you every possible way of getting there; tube, bus, walking, cycling or taxi including an necessary costs! My favourite feature you ask? Well of course the rain safe route so you can keep your blow dry looking perfect! 

Wunderlist, Free

If, like me, lists make you feel that everything is right in the world and you end up with countless lists on the back of receipts in your handbag then this is the app for you. You can have numerous lists on the go at once, add reminders and comments to individual tasks and even share your lists with other Wunderlist users! A must have for anyone who likes to keep super organised.

This is just a little snippet of my most used and loved apps at the moment and of course there will always be the usual favourites; Instagram, Twitter, and iBooks as well.

I'd love to know what your favourite apps are - let me know in the comments section below...

5 Minute Mani

Monday, 1 December 2014 ·

With winter setting in for the foreseeable future and the urge to simply bundle up in all your warmest clothes, fluffy socks, bobble hats is hard to resist and all our beauty regimes tend to go out of the window... But not to worry here's my fail safe 5 minute manicure to keep you looking glamorous even through the worst of the weather. 

If you want an even quicker mani experience then make sure to do this straight after jumping out of the bath as your cuticles will be nice and soft so much easier to push back. First I'd recommend popping on a little hand cream to further soften your hands. A metal cuticle pusher tends to give the best results and the tidiest cuticles, if you don't already have one then you can get them super cheaply online - try here

Although it might be tempting to trim your cuticles this will typically do more harm than good so try and resist the temptation - it's best to only get this done at a salon. 

Now take a minute to file your nails into whatever shape is your preference, I always go for a 'squoval' as this is easiest to maintain and seems to be the most flattering on my hands. If you have an extra minute it's also good to use a 3 way buffer too (try this one) as this will make your nails look so much healthier. 

Pop a quick base coat on, my favourite is Orly Bonder. Now to the big decision, what colour to go for. If you want this to be a true five minute mani then I'd recommend going for a colour which goes on opaque with one coat to save you time. My go to at this time of year is Maybelline Colour Show in Wine Shimmer - this looks great with one coat and is the perfect autumnal colour. 

Once everything is dried pop a little bit of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream onto your cuticles and your good to go. Admittedly this may take you a little longer than 5 minutes at first but they do say practice makes perfect and I've managed to get this down to an art form so I can assure it is definitely possible to get this done within 5 minutes. 

Do you have any tips for a quick manicure?