Festive Cookies

Or more commonly known as Sugar Cookies, the quick and easiest biscuits that look great and taste delicious! They are absolutely fool proof (I promise) and are of course not only for Christmas but any time of year. Cut them into your shape of choice and decorate according to your theme.  Such fun to make with kids and friends as I did last week.

Recipe:

200g unsalted butter

280g caster sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

400g plain flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a freestanding electric mixer (or use handheld whisk) and cream until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar and mix well, but don’t over-mix.  The dough should be light, soft and easy to handle.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin.  Cut out shapes with your choice of biscuit cutters.  Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  Check them regularly to make sure they are not burning.  The cookies should be very light golden on the outer edges and paler in the centre.  When you are happy that they are cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the trays before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  Decorate with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing                                                                                                                           1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

310g icing sugar

food colouring (optional)

For the icing beat the egg white and lemon juice together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment or use a handheld electric whisk) gradually start adding the icing sugar, mixing well after each addition to ensure all sugar is incorporated.  Whisk until you get stiff peaks.  If the icing is too runny, add a little more sugar.  Stir in a couple of drops of food colouring if using and decorate the cookies.

Happy Baking

XXX

IMG_8822

IMG_8611

Party pieces

Whether we’re in hot or cold climates, at this time of year there are always parties and cause for celebrations going on.  Here are some of my favourite pieces to party in, or add to an outfit to give it the extra pizazz you need.

Studded wrap bracelet // Crystal necklace // Lace up court shoes // Wrap neckline metallic dress  // Sequin dress  // Sequin Trousers // Clutch box bag

Silk Dress // Fine knit jumper // Silk shirt // Glitter box clutch // Silver flats  // Braided Chain bracelet // Embellished tulle skirt

X

Gift Wishlist (Men take note)

If you are like the majority of the population out there you most probably have not finished your Christmas shopping, or even started it for that matter.  I find most publications get their christmas lists out way too early, because people read them, think they are great and then totally forget about what they had seen and have to start the search again….alone! So here is another wishlist that I have put together, this one is for the men to take note of for their ladies, mums, sisters etc…As it’s a little closer to the shopping dash madness hopefully you will bear these ideas in mind when running around like a headless chicken, or better yet, shop them directly from here by clicking on the links below.

It really does pay off to be organised, I must say I like nothing more than giving a gift that I have put thought into and that I am almost 100% certain the receiver is going to LOVE and I despise giving a gift that I have grabbed just for the sake of it and am almost embarrassed to give because no thought has been put into it and I find that is when you end up throwing more money at the situation.

From Red and Green to Metallic and Greys, there’s a colour scheme below to suit anyone out there.

Slide1

Faux Fur jacket //  Photo Frame // Pom Pom Basket // Earrings // Toiletry Bag // Matches in a jar

Slide3

Velvet Lace-up shoes // Leather cross body bag // Velvet slippers //  Cocktail Ring // Sequin bomber jacket

Slide2

Earrings // Nail polish  // Sweater with floral detail // Velvet Bodysuit // Beaded clutch // Chair

Slide4

Red Dress // Non wired bra // Toiletry bag // Personalised Christmas socks // Lip Pencil

Slide5

Velvet shoes // Silk Top // Monogramed Mug // Leather bag

Slide6

Antlers on a shield // Salad servers // Blanket scarf // Pomegranate bath marbles // Copper light with turquoise cord

Slide7PJ Bottoms //   Personalised bracelet // Knitting needle case // Candle holder // Cashmere gloves // Passport Holder

Slide8Bobbi Brown Face Highlighter // Suede Gilet // Metallic Leather Skirt // Leather shopper // Earrings

Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas to all you wonderful readers!

XXX

Black Friday

Don’t miss out, get your goods in the basket so you are ready to go.  There is nothing that annoys me more than trawling websites, and pages of clothing, boots, chairs, lighting, whatever it may be, and then not able to decide on anything so you give up and loose out.  Make a habit out of jotting down things that you know you need or want, when you have tried on 10 different pairs of ankle boots or 5 different navy coats, made moodboards for your lounge until you are sure about the exact coffee table that you are after then you can go about making your purchases happily, knowing you are not wasting your money or the discounts on stuff you don’t actually need and isn’t exactly right. Some of my finds that will have a mark down applied to them ;-)

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 14.26.09

Wool Coat 

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 14.41.29

Statement Sequin Top

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 14.49.46

Emilie Bed Linen

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 21.38.55

Necklace

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 21.37.06

Kids Tee

Happy Black Friday!

x

It’s Leather Weather

Something happens to me in November, I get very very excited for shiny, sparkly, leather, furry and woolly cashmere-y things.  None of this works for me in Summer, well obviously cashmere and summer don’t go hand in hand but I find leather and sparkle in summer are just too… garish.  I prefer bohemian and floatier styles then.  Perhaps its the darkness in winter which lets out the wilder side, or the fact that we can mix these showy fabrics with oversized warm cosy items to kind of counteract the OTT ones. Of course this time of year also brings Christmas and that is a big reason for getting sparkly and wearing super luxe fabrics which helps create a seriously major outfit. You can never look OTT at Christmas time…can you!?!

I have spotted a few A M A A A Z I N G pairs of ankle boots in sparkly glittery leather (hearts in my eyes) and I am definitely going to purchase a pair this winter.  Even if I only have two months remaining of it, I’m going for it!

These combo’s make me want to say “simple, yet satisfying” that is what comes to mind (yes it’s a line from the Lion King, guess who I’ve been hanging out with).

Slide1

Cashmere blend Jumper // Leather Trousers // Sparkly ankle Boots // Gold Metallic Clutch

Slide2

Grey Jumper // Navy Sequin skirt // Velvet pom pom flats

Slide3

 Cream Jumper  // Leopard Print cropped trousers // Sparkled leather chelsea boots // Felt Hat

Get your groove on girls

X

The Next Big Thing To Talk About

Now that Halloween is over can we talk about Christmas? Well apart from those that celebrate Thanksgiving, but Im certainly starting to peek at the decorations out the corner of my eye every time I walk by a display.  Well to tell you the truth I will just come out with it, I’ve already bought my first 3 additions for the tree!  Im such a sucker for anything sparkly and Christmassy.  I asked my oldest son (who was 2.5 years old) last Christmas to choose a decoration for the tree, it was such fun watching him search, take one and then change his mind and then I tried to sway his decisions too, the first thing he picked out was a really funny looking little scraggly felt dog, I guess that is what gives the tree character, anyway we came home with a reindeer and a scraggly looking dog.  I will turn this into a ritual until the boys are older and don’t find picking out a tree decoration that fun anymore, which will only be a few years away I suspect.

Last year my tree was filled with white, grey and a touch of red, and then of course the odd pink, yellow and red knitted socks from great gran and a kitsch purple liberty ball that somebody gave us amongst a few other weird things that we feel obliged to put up but generally I like to have a theme going. So for every strange looking decoration I buy another three to overshadow the bizarre bits and the theme never gets lost.  As this is our last winter in the UK I will probably keep the white and silver theme going as Im sure summer Christmas’s to come will be filled with neon and colour.

So far I’ve found a garland of small wire star fairy lights, a wreath in a heart shape of painted white berry’s and a little grey felt tree with a bit of white embroidery on it.  Two of my favourite places to buy decorations from are Paper Chase and The White Company who are, for me, are the epitome of Christmas. They do it so so well!  And actually I must mention Waitrose too, as whilst I walk around doing my shopping I always manage to chuck one in as if Im throwing in the usual pack of apples (it doesn’t make me feel like Im actually spending extra on unnecessary extras as it gets lost amongst the food shop.

Paper Chase do amazing wrap and ribbons too, their decorations are especially fun and different which is where I will take Oliver and Adam to again for picking out their tree decorations this year.  I have gathered a few of my favourites below and put them into their themes. All decorations featured are picked from Paperchase, John Lewis, The White Company and Liberty. Never right off your local supermarket, Ikea or a little independent store where I have picked up many little trinkets along the way.

Slide1
The playful Neon Tree
Slide2
The rustic winter tree
Slide3
The Glamour Tree
Slide4
Winter White Tree
Slide5
Traditional Red, Green & White Tree

Well I won’t say Happy Holiday’s just yet but happy decoration hunting. Now we just need the trees to come out….(Big cheesy grin).

Had to share the Happy holiday’s caravan (below), one of the cutest I have come across which I might have to pop into my shopping basket next time!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 19.54.20

The heart and soul….

I think most modern families would agree that the kitchen is most definitely the heart and soul of the house.  With the crazy lifestyles we lead, its pretty much cook, sit, eat, clean and run off.  So with this in mind to maximise the rushed time together, the best idea, is to ensure your kitchen has a table and is a family friendly environment so everyone can enjoy themselves in the space.  This means probably a little kiddie friendly corner with mini table and chairs, a box of toys, a wall or an island side painted chalk board, perhaps a door to the outside and if you have the luxury of loads of space, potentially an island with stools as well as a big table with chairs (hmmm I love it when my mind runs wild with ideas).

The dining table in a kitchen these days serves as many things.  A homework table, an admin table (mine certainly piles up with all the paperwork I need to see to), a place to sit and drink coffee and of course a beautiful space for family and friends to sit and eat.

My pet hate however with having a dining table in the kitchen is when hosting a dinner party and all the dirty cooking utensils, pots and pans pile up around the kitchen, so its a good idea to either design the kitchen so the sink area is far from the table and if possible around the corner of the fridge for example, better yet in a separate utility room so completely invisible.

We are in the process of buying a house, a lovely old family home, HOWEVER, the kitchen is teeny tiny and is a galley type kitchen so no room for even a miniature kids table. Luckily there are two laundry/pantry style rooms on the one side and a dining room on the other, so hopefully (all fingers and toes crossed) we will be able to bash through all these walls and rather than have four separate rooms have one super large kitchen/diner.  And although Im not sure we will be able to do any work straight away, I still sit and dream up the perfect kitchen……  I love a contemporary space but Im a sucker for a bit of rustic-ness too, so I would love contemporary kitchen units with modern appliances but a large old style table, perhaps mix and match chairs, large windows and an extra large natural rug (from Coral & Hive, check out their page here). If there’s space in this design mix and match, then give me an exposed brick wall too.

Having a fire place in the kitchen really turns this into a warm happy place, however probably not necessary in hot countries!
Having a fire place in the kitchen really turns this into a warm happy place, however probably not necessary in hot countries!
Love all the light and the large island complete with chalk board of course
Love all the light and the large island complete with chalk board of course
I love the high cupboards and the ladder.
I love the high cupboards and the ladder.
A very classy kitchen
A very classy kitchen
I will take the dog too ;-)
I will take the dog too ;-)
Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 21.02.51
Quite busy but looks a fun kitchen to be in.
Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 20.50.30
More of a breakfast nook, very casual, but inviting.

When the time comes in the hopefully not too distant future I will be sure to post pics of what the result actually turns out to be.  For now I will continue to day dream about my perfect kitchen layout.

X