To say I’ve been obsessing about purchases over the last few months would be an understatement. I’ve thought, dreamt and physically tired myself out over finding what I think I’m going to want and need… More
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.
200g unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
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.
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.
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.
Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas to all you wonderful readers!
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 ;-)
Happy Black Friday!
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).
Get your groove on girls
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.
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!
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.
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.