DIY Gifts: Hand Drawn Mugs

With only a few days left to Christmas, I thought it was about time I did a DIY post that is personal as well as effective (did i meantion being super cheap!)

I did this hand written mug for a secret santa gift at work and the reaction was great.

All you need is 1 mug or glass, a few Sharpies or Porcelain pens and an oven.

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I picked up this plain white China mug from Wilkinson’s for £2.  Now I know the pens cost a bit more but you can use them over and over again!

Start by choosing your design, Pinterest is a great to use if you are stuck for ideas.

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Wipe you mug with a dry cloth to remove any fibres and start drawing! I chose to use this person’s name and built up around out with lots of small dots.  I added the date on the base of the cup for a little extra personal touch.

Once your design is ready then you just need to bake for 30 minutes at 180°C.  This just seals the design in place and allows the mug to be washable.

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If you are using a glass for your design, thry is no baking required!

Fill your cup with goodies – teas, coffees or hot chocolate mix, some nibbles and a pretty ribbon and that’s a lovely, handmade gift that people will appreciate.

Happy Crafting x

Glazed Doughnuts

The festival of Channukah starts tonight and for me that means loads of food, specifically, oily food.  While that is super bad for my healthy eating plan (I have a big holiday in 7 weeks), it is a great week of family time. With Christmas day coming up too, I may as well give up now and take the week to eat!

You will need:

x2 (7g) sachets dried active baking yeast
60ml warm water (45 °C)
355ml (12 fl oz) lukewarm milk
100g (4 oz) caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
70g (3 oz) butter
625g (1 1/3 lb) plain flour
1L (1 3/4 pints) vegetable oil for frying
75g (3 oz) butter
200g (7 oz) icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60ml hot water or as needed

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.

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In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, 75g butter and 1/2 of the flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon.

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Beat in remaining flour a little at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1cm (1/2 inch) thickness. Cut with a floured round cutter. Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until doubled and cover loosely with a cloth. I left mine for roughly 30 minutes. Flour your index finger and poke a whole in the middle of the dough once risen and stretch a little.

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Melt remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.

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Set up a wire rack and with a baking tray beneath it next to where your glaze is resting as it will be cleaner the glaze the doughnuts and place on a rack for any excess to drop off.

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Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy pan to 175 C. Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil and drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot, and set onto the wire rack.

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These are relatively easy to make and this made roughly 25 doughnuts. 

Let me know if you give this a try!

Hazey Days

Abandon blacktop guides me home

I speed down the barren road

As a thick haze hangs in the air

Creating a blanket over head

It keeps me warm tonight

                                          -AMANDA JEAN

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Hat: eBay | Coat and Boots: H&M | Top: Espirit | Jeans: Zara | Bag: Just Fab | Scarf: Topshop

Varsity Girl

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Varsity Jacket: French Connection | Jumper: H&M | Jeans: Zara | Booties: River Island | Bag: Primark | Jewellery: Michael Kors and River Island | Lipstick: MAC Cosmetics: Russian Red and Rebel mixed together

My thing this season have been coats and jackets.  Since September I have bought 2 jackets and 2 coats.  I got that dark green biker jacket from Zara; a lovely pea style coat from H&M; a fantastic bright yellow coat (with incredible tailoring) from M&S; and finally this little French Connection Varsity Jacket. 

Being a Brit, varsity jackets aren’t really synonymous with my school days.  I never really took part in sports at school, although I loved my theatre school days so if I were to have any letter on my jacket, it would be an S for singing!

This look felt so casual that I needed to pop on some heels to keep it feminine.  Matching red bag and lipstick to boot (see what I did there?!) brought in a much needed pop of colour.  Can we just take a minute to talk about these amazing shoe boots- the little chain detail is so cute and they are insanely comfy, last pair in the River Island sale :)

Have a good week all!

Pumpkin Pancakes

At this time of year, we all like to have a little treat.  The problem os- there are loads of treats to have, mostly in the form of chocolates, cakes and sweets!  I’m not a big fan of sweet stuff, I like my food savoury and wholesome and I can normally go without dessert.  So when I saw a recipe for Pumpkin pancakes, I was very happy.  Pumpkin is a vegetable synonymous to winter and it is so good for you.  The wholesome part of this recipe is that you can substitute the plain flour for wholemeal flour…but I was after my treat after all!

You will need:

1 1/2 cups milk
150g Pumpkin chopped up
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of Salt
Pepper to season

Chop the pumpkin into small chunks and bowl for 15-20 minutes until soft.  Drain off the water and using a fork, mash the pumpkin.

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In a bowl, mix together the milk, egg and oil. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

Stir into the pumpkin mixture until all the mix is combined.

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Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

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Winter Who?

When you think of winter, what comes to mind?

For me it’s grey skies, cold winds, dark colours and lots of layers…Never being one to stick too closely to the status quo, I figured it was time to throw some spring colours into the mix.  Dark florals and a bright yellow coat to be exact.  OK, so it was quite a chilly day and it had rained merely an hour before taking these photos; but the sun was shining and that meant I had to join it!

The tailoring on the coat is so slimming and with the green shades in this floral print make me dream of spring time.  Yellow is one of my favourite colours to wear as it really lifts my spirits and you can’t help but smile!

Are there any bright colours you like to wear in the winter?

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Coat: Marks and Spencer (petite range) | Top: Primark | Jeans: Zara | Heels: Primark | Bag: New Look

DIY: Veiled Beanie

Now I know this is an old trend first seen at Jil Sander. But I do love a fun beanie hat.  This is an easy and super inexpensive way to revive an old piece in your accessory drawer.  I have seen a few DIY versions of this in the past few years but my version has a slight tweak for the festive season…sparkles.

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Use 1 or 2 squares of mesh and layer over each other in a star shape. 
I bought this with sparkle on it but a fantastic way to jazz up your basic mesh is to use a little photo mount sprayed onto it.  Once the glue becomes tacky (a few seconds) then sprinkle fine glitter and finish with a coat of hairspray.

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Take the top of your hat and stitch on the mesh, folding under the top corner of the star. Use clear wire to stitch as this is more durable.  If you want a more temporary look then use a matching thread.

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Using 2 pieces of mesh to crate the veil gives it a more bold look.  It is as easy as that! Is there a more simpler DIY?! I think not! 

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Scents of a Woman

I love perfume.  Every woman loves it and feels beautiful when wearing it.  These little bottles adorn so many dressing tables across the world and make a huge difference to our confidence. 

“A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.”

                                             -Christian Dior

That being said, I wonder what my perfume says about me? I love strong, almost masculine smells as well as super feminine ones.  I guess you can say I’m the woman who wants it all!

My classic scent is Chanel N°5.  This is the epitome of old glamour.  A timeless scent, perfect all year round- I tend to use this for special occasions. 

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My everyday perfume is Viktor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb.   I LOVE this so much.  long lasting and a really lovely perfume.  Floral notes in this make it very feminine but it’s still suitable for night.  I did make the mistake of buying the EDT in this, but it is almost as good as the EDP version, so I am happy!

A perfume that surprised me was the tall bottle, Zara Rose EDT.  I’m not normally a fan of rose in anything, but this is almost musky.  A good size bottle and ideal for my make up bag, more often than not I have this with me when out and about!

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Have a great day all xx

Back Again

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Jacket: ASOS | Top: Espirit | Jeans: Zara | Bag: Forever 21 | Boots: Aldo (Very Old)

Some trends come around again and again while others barely last a season. There are certain trends that shouldn’t last a single second but linger on like a bad smell (skirt- trouser duos to name but one “trend”). 

But im glad when an item I have always liked or just stopped wearing comes back around.  Over the knee boots are so beautiful and suit everyone.  They make everyone’s legs- even little legs like mine, look long and slender. 

What are your favourite come back pieces?

Happy Monday x

Apple Strudel

The season for wholesome, warming desserts is upon us.  A Saturday night with not much to do, I looked at the apples I’m the fruit bowl…GIANT apples actually (how on Earth?!) and thought, “what can I do with you?”.  Stumped for a few ideas, I thought mini apple tarts, but that seemed longwinded. I wanted to make something quick and easy.  I had filo pastry and apples…so Strudel it was.

For this recipe you will need:

8 sheets of Filo pastry (or if you are able, make your own)
2 large apples (or one GIANT one as per my fruit bowl)
A handful of sultanas
50 ml Sherry (optional)
100g caster sugar
100g butter, melted
1 heaped teaspoon of nutmeg

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Firstly, add the Sherry and sultanas together in a bowl.  Put to one side.  Give the alcohol a little time to soak in.  You can do this in advance and keep them in a jar to use over the festive period *future post alert*.

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Peel and chop the apples and place in a bowl.  Add in the sugar and nutmeg and mix well.

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Preheat your over to 190°C and lay out your Filo pastry.  Cover your baking tray in greaseproof paper.

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Melt the butter and place a sheet of Filo on to it.  Brush the sheet of Filo with the melted butter.  A good trick is put the next layer of Filo on top of the first, then butter it, as it can be quite fiddly. Continue until all the sheets are done.

Add your sultanas to the apples and sugar.  Give it a quick stir.  You will notice a fair bit of syrup in the base of the bowl.  This is from the sugar breaking down the apples.

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Spoon the mix into the middle of the pastry in a line.  Roll over one side of the pastry hold tight. Fold over the other side.  Tuck in the open edges.  At this point you can flip your Strudel for presentation purposes.

Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until the pastry has browned and the inside has stewed. 

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This is a light and crispy way to have an indulgent treat. :)