Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My Top Posts: 2015

I thought it would be nice to do a little round up of my 5 most popular blog posts this year as it's a nice end to the year and it's also good for me to see which posts are popular with my readers. I haven't included any of the posts where I've done a giveaway as I feel these get a lot of extra clicks. I only started this blog in March so it's lovely to see that people have been reading, and hopefully enjoying, the posts I have been writing. It amazes me that my most popular post to date is one that I wrote back in April, only about 3 weeks into blogging. The photography isn't great but the bag is pretty cool, so maybe that's why it's so popular. It's also crazy that my first ever post (Chanel Deauville) makes my top 5. Out of all of my posts the top 3 are Disney related and I'm so glad my Disney posts have been popular as I seem to be heading more in that direction recently.

Thank you again for reading my blog, I really do appreciate every single person who has taken the time to read my blog and everyone who leaves a comment. If there is anything you would like to see more of on my blog in 2016, whether it be Disney, fashion, baking or anything else then do let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

My Christmas Eve Box

Now I wasn't going to put a blog post up today but when Olly surprised me with the most amazing Christmas Eve box this morning I just had to do a quick little post about it! It started last night (Christmas Eve Eve) when a mysterious little box was left in our living room, I opened it and here's what was inside...

Some chocolately treats (yum) and a key for Santa to deliver my Christmas Eve box the next day! I had to leave the key in the fireplace (I assume so Santa could get it?). This morning there was another mysterious (bigger) box wrapped in brown paper and sat on top was the most amazing thing ever - a miniature sleigh made of chocolate! Complete with a little elf to ride it. I don't know where Olly got the idea to make this but I think it's pretty cool.

When I opened the box it was filled with everything I would need for the perfect Christmas Eve - from pyjamas to snacks. There was a lovely Emma Bridgewater mug with a sachet of Cadbury's hot chocolate and some chocolate coins so I can make the perfect warm drink tonight. There was also a small box of Lucky Charms which I could have for my breakfast, plus some cheese balls (my fave!) and Lindt chocolate to snack on whilst watching a Christmas movie. My favourite items though have to be the Cinderella Pyjamas and fluffy polar bear socks - Santa obviously knows me well.

I think a Christmas Eve box is such a lovely and thoughtful surprise, I can tell Olly put so much thought and effort into getting things he knows I love. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas,  this is my last post for the year as I will be taking a break over Christmas and New Year. I'll be back in January with some new posts. Thank you for reading my blog and Merry Christmas xxx

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The £20 Disney Christmas Challenge

For Christmas this year me and Olly decided to do a '£20 Disney Christmas Challenge' for a little bit of fun. The idea is that you both buy a gift for each other from the Disney store that costs £20, it could be one big gift that is £20 or lots of little things that add up to £20. We did a similar thing last year with a comic book store in our local town and it was really cool - the gifts are really fun, nothing you 'need' and it kinda makes you feel like a kid again. We chose Disney as we are both big kids at heart and lovers of Disney. We also got lucky in that Disney had a 20% off promotion running at the time so we managed to get a bit more for our money.

It turned out that we had both decided to theme our gifts even though we didn't agree this beforehand! I'd chosen a Toy Story theme for Olly's, and he had chosen Disney Princesses for me (of course). I absolutely love what I received - a Belle doll and some little princess figurines. Belle is my favourite Disney princess and I already have a Cinderella doll that Olly got my for my birthday, so they can keep each other company. The figurine set has lots of my favourite princesses including Snow White and Jasmine and I can imagine them all ending up sitting on my dressing table.

Funnily enough I also bought Olly a figurine set, but a Toy Story one (great minds think alike!). It's got all the classic characters and Buzz even has 'Andy' written on his foot which is a nice touch. To go with the figurines I also got a Buzz Lightyear mug as he is Olly's favourite Toy Story character. It's nice to have a little bit of fun with your Christmas gifts and also not have the pressure of trying to find something your other half will like. Have you got anything from Disney on your Christmas list this year?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas Jumper Cookies

Who doesn't love a Christmas jumper? I certainly do and I love that for the month of December it is perfectly acceptable to wear a Christmas jumper everyday. So what better sweet treat to make this Christmas than these super festive cookies that look like little mini jumpers. I think these are my favourite biscuits I have ever made! I had so much fun icing all the different designs, and of course I listened to some classic Christmas tunes while decorating them all. 

First I baked all the biscuits and then for the base of the jumpers I used ready to roll icing in red, white and green. Then came the fun part which was using icing pens to draw all the Christmas designs. My favourite design is the rudolph face on the white jumper as it's actually a mini version of my own favourite Christmas jumper (there's pictures of the real jumper floating around on my Instagram if want to compare!) 

I bought the jumper shape cookie cutter from eBay and knew that I wanted to use it to make little Christmas jumpers. I won't write the recipe for these biscuits again as it's in lots of my other posts (here for example) but it's really quick and easy. What do you reckon to my Christmas jumper cookies? Wouldn't they just be perfect for a Christmas party!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

5 Things You Need To Do In New York At Christmas

New York is the most magical place at Christmas and although I won't be going there this year (sob) I did go last year and it was just amazing. It had always been my dream to go to New York at Christmas as you see it on the movies and it just looks so fun. I wasn't a blogger at the time so didn't write about it but it's never too late right? So here's my 5 favourite things to do in New York at Christmas

1. See the Rockefeller Christmas Tree - like seriously it's huge! I know it looks big on TV and everything but it's actually the biggest tree ever. Definitely not one to miss. There's always carol singers around as well which makes you feel like you're actually in Elf or something

2. Go ice skating - there are loads of ice rinks around New York at Christmas. The biggest is probably Central Park but the one at Rockefeller under the tree is really special

3. Visit the Christmas Markets - there was a really cool Christmas market at Columbus Circle which had loads of craft and food stalls. It's ideal for Christmas presents and the prices are really good. My mum got a gorgeous tortoiseshell bangle for about $20 (which I would like to steal from her)

4. See all the department store decorations - It's no secret that Americans go all out at Christmas, and the department stores are no exception. A walk along 5th Avenue is just magical and totally different to London

5. Be a big kid in Toys R Us Times Square - you know all those super cool toy shops in films like Elf and Home Alone 2? That's pretty much what this shop is like (FYI it has a full size working ferris wheel in the middle - awesome). I could honestly spend all day in there. I would have said go to FAO Schwarz but it devastatingly closed down earlier this year :(

P.S. Wrap up was freezing! I wore a thermal long sleeve top, jumper, thermal leggings, jeans, thermal socks, ugg boots, ski jacket, thermal gloves and ear muffs and I was still a little bit cold!!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

A Christmas Tea Party

First of all this is my 100th blog post! How cool is that?! So what better way to celebrate than with a little Christmas tea party! A few weeks ago the lovely Carly at The Shire Bakery asked whether I would like to review some goodies from their website and of course I was super excited as I love baking! When looking at the website I couldn't believe all the great products - everything you could possibly need for a party or a baking fanatic like me. I told Carly I liked the idea of a little Christmas tea party and when my parcel arrived I was not disappointed. She sent me loads of lovely things and everything I would need for a little party. My favourite items were the raspberry ripple flavour icing sugar and the gingerbread man cookie cutter as I has been dying to make some gingerbread men for Christmas.

I used red and white polka dot cake cases to bake some cakes complete with the raspberry ripple icing (which by the way is amazing!) and to finish them off I added a festive mini candy cane. I also received some paper straws with a snowflake pattern on which are super cute, I seem to have an obsession with paper straws and these ones are perfect for drinking a glass of cold milk with a gingerbread man. I was also sent the cutest wooden spoon with the words 'always lick the spoon' which was ideal since I'd just broken my wooden baking spoon and needed a replacement. If you'd like to have a go at making some of these treats then the recipes are below!

Gingerbread Men

 350g plain flour
 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
 2 teaspoons ground ginger
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 125g soft butter
 175g soft brown sugar
 1 egg
 4 tablespoons golden syrup

 Sift together the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, ginger & cinnamon
 Add the butter and stir until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs
 Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together
♥ Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes
 Roll out dough to approx 0.5cm thick
 Use the cutter to cut out your gingerbread men
 Place on a baking tray and put in the oven at 180C for 12-15 minutes

Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes

 220g soft butter
 220g caster sugar
 220g self raising flour
2 eggs
 Icing Sugar
 Mini Candy Canes

 Pre heat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4
 Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl 
 Beat the eggs and then mix them in
 Gradually fold in the flour until all the ingredients are combined
 Spoon the mix into cake cases evenly
 Pop in the over for about 10 minutes
 Once fully cooled ice/decorate 

You can also find the recipe for my candy cane cookies here. Have you been baking any festive treats for Christmas?

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Snowman Nail Art

It's been a while since I did a nail art post but I thought I'd get into the festive spirit with this super easy snowman design! All you need is 3 nail polishes - white, black and orange, and some nail art dotting tools (you can get these from the pound shop or amazon). Start by painting your nails all white - I did 3 coats in total to make sure the white was nice and solid.

Once the white is dry use your largest dotting tool to create the snowman's eyes. I usually tip some of the polish out onto some tin foil to use as a little palette and then dip my dotting tool in. Once you've done the eyes use a slightly smaller dotter to create the mouth. As you can see mine aren't very symmetrical but practice makes perfect!

Next is probably the hardest part which is adding the carrot nose. For this I used the smallest dotting tool to try and create a triangle shape. I didn't have an orange nail polish so I made one by mixing a yellow and red together which worked perfectly. Once all dry finish with a clear top coat. You might want to wait a while for them to fully dry as you don't want to risk smudging the eyes or mouth! What do you think of my snowman nails? Have you tried any Christmas nail art?

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

5 Things You Need To Do In London At Christmas

1. Winter Wonderland - My absolute fave and a MUST if you are in London around Christmas time. It's even bigger and better this year so not to be missed. You can read my post about my top tips for Winter Wonderland here

2. Christmas At Kew - You might not have heard of this if you don't live in London but it's definitely worth a visit. Kew Gardens is transformed for Christmas and you go on the 'trail' after dark through all the lights. There's even food and a little fun fair too! I went for the first time last year and can't wait to go back with my parents this year! Ticket are £16 for an adult and and £10 for a child and you can book here

3. Ice Skating - Somerset House, The Natural History Museum and Winter Wonderland to name a few! There are about 12 ice skating rinks all across London through the festive period. My fave is the Natural History Museum as I just love the setting but you can find your nearest one here

4. See the lights on Oxford Street - now I'm not advising anyone to go to Oxford Street on a weekend around Christmas time, that's just cruel, but if you do happen to find yourself there on a weekday evening then enjoy the glorious Christmas lights! I am not a huge fan of Oxford Street but the Christmas lights are really special and I love seeing how all the shops have decorated their windows

5. Visit Covent Garden - I love Covent Garden and at Christmas there's always something fun going on. The decorations and tree here are probably my favourite in London and they sometimes even have real reindeer that you can feed! This years theme is 'meet me under the mistletoe' so of course there are huge mistletoe chandeliers. Find out what's on at Covent Garden here

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

If you're looking for the perfect DIY Christmas gift this year then look no further! Buying Christmas presents for so many people can get expensive so it's great if you can save a bit of money by making something, and it also adds a personal touch. I often make biscuits so this was the perfect gift DIY for me but to make it a bit more Christmassy I've added peppermint flavouring this time. Simply package them in a little box with a bit of ribbon and you've got a super cute gift that is also yummy.

♥ 60g butter
♥ 60g caster sugar
♥ 160g plain flour
♥ 1 medium egg
♥ 1/2 tablespoon peppermint extract
♥ White ready to roll icing
♥ Red ready to roll icing
♥ Icing sugar

♥ Mix butter and sugar in a bowl until smooth
♥ Add 1 beaten egg 
♥ Mix in half a tablespoon of peppermint extract (you can always skip this if you don't like peppermint!)
♥ Add flour gradually and mix to form a dough
♥ Wrap dough in cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour
♥ After half an hour take the dough out of the fridge and roll out using a rolling pin
♥ Carefully cut the shapes out and place on a a tray covered in grease proof paper
♥ Put in the oven for 10 minutes at 170c
♥ Once your biscuits are fully cooled you can start adding the icing
♥ Roll out your white icing, dust your surface with icing sugar fist to stop it from sticking
♥ Cut out the candy cane shape using the cookie cutter
♥ Stick onto the cookie using a bit of icing sugar mixed with water
♥ Roll our your red icing and cut out the candy cane stripes
♥ Stick on top o the white icing with a little bit of the icing mix

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Jo Malone Cologne Collection

Well it's not Christmas unless you can treat yourself, right? I had been looking for a new perfume as I wanted a change from my beloved Chanel No.5 but I couldn't find any new fragrances that I liked. As you may know I am a huge fan of Jo Malone and was thinking about buying one of the colognes but then I discovered that for Christmas there is a set of 5 mini versions of the most popular fragrances. The set includes 3 of my favourites - Lime, Basil & Mandarin, English Pear & Freesia and Peony & Blush Suede. There are also two fragrances I haven't tried before - Pomegranate Noir and Wood Sage & Sea Salt.

I think my favourite from the set is Peony & Blush Suede as it is such a lovely floral fragrance. I like the fact that you've got 5 different fragrances so you can choose one to suit your mood each day and can mix it up rather than wearing the same scent everyday, which is what I usually do. The bottles are all 9ml which means they are perfect for travelling and they all have a pump spray (I was worried they wouldn't have a spray as they are only minis). I think this would be a lovely Christmas gift for someone who loves Jo Malone. The set costs £70 and is available here.

Have you bought anything from the Jo Malone Christmas range? What is your favourite Jo Malone fragrance?

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Winter Wonderland: My Top Tips

So at the end of November Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park opened for the festive season, yay! I am actually obsessed with Winter Wonderland, my record is visiting 7 times in one year, I just can't get enough of that Bavarian goodness. If you've never been to Winter Wonderland before then it is a German Christmas market, Bavarian village and fun fair in London's Hyde Park. I honestly get more excited about it than Christmas day. Of course I was there for the opening day, because if I'm going to beat that record of 7 times then you've got to start going early ;)

I thought I would share my top tips with you for Winter Wonderland in case you've never been and are planning on visiting

1. Don't go on the weekend! - I know this is when most people will be able to visit but I'd really avoid it if you can. I always go on the evening after work - it's so much quieter and such a different experience, e.g. you can actually move

2. Get off at Knightsbridge tube station - Don't get off at Hyde Park station, you'll spend ages queuing trying to get out, get off at Knightsbridge and it's a short walk

3. Wrap up warm - it gets super cold, make sure you take a hat, gloves, uggs etc and if you get too cold then go to the firepit to warm up, it's amazing!

4. Go with an appetite - there is so much food there so make sure you're hungry! My personal faves are the pretzel stall and crepe stall (Kinder Maxi in a crepe? Hello Heaven) but loads of my friends love the hot dogs (I'm veggie so not for me!)

5. Go more than once - there's so much to do, from Ice Skating to sipping cocktails in the ice bar, so I would definitely recommend to go more than once to ensure you get chance to do everything you want to. There's something for everyone to enjoy

You can find out more about Winter Wonderland here. Some people think you need a ticket but you don't for the actual park, you just turn up. I hope you found this useful, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Easy DIY Advent Calendar

Now I wasn't going to do a DIY advent calendar post but then when I found the cutest advent pegs in the Tiger Christmas section (which is amazing by the way, I might have bought half of it oops) I just couldn't resist and I had so many ideas swirling around my head. I decided to go with quite a simple idea that I think pretty much anyone can do and is pretty cheap.

The idea is that there is a little note attached to each number so each day you unpeg the note and written on it will either be an activity to do or a Christmas topic/question. For example a couple of the ones I have included are 'Watch Home Alone' as an activity and 'What was your favourite Christmas present as a kid?' as one of the questions. My pegs already had numbers on but you could easily number them yourself or just write the number on the paper instead. The great thing about this calendar is that you can make it as personal to you as you like, I've made mine for me and Olly so I have included activities I know we will enjoy doing together and some funny questions that we might not have thought to ask each other before.

What You Need
♥ White board/card/canvas
♥ Twine
♥ Pegs
♥ Red paper
♥ Sellotape
♥ Scissors

What To Do
♥ Cut your twine into 6 pieces that are big enough to stretch across the width of your canvas (leave a little bit of extra so you can wrap it underneath)
♥ Sellotape the twine to the back of the board/canvas
♥ Cut your red paper into 24 small pieces and write your activity/question on each one
♥ Fold each piece of paper in half and then attach to the twine using the numbered pegs
♥ That's it! See I told you it was easy

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