Wednesday, 29 February 2012

All about me

Sunday
shoes - clarks, dress - dorothy perkins, cardigan - m&s

Topshop all about me lipstick

How gorgeous is this Topshop lipstick?! It's called 'All About Me' and it's a lot brighter and pinker than the usual lipsticks I would go for (I tend to be drawn to reds). I originally wanted to buy Brighton Rock, but the Liverpool store was all sold out and I saw All About Me and decided to go for it. It's really moisturising and feels lovely on. It is also a really strong pigment so stays on for ages too. The bit I had tested on my hand did not want to budge AT ALL! I have to say I am quite besotted with it, I think it's a pink that suits my skin really well. I don't like wishywashy pale shades as they just make me look a bit ill. Do you like pinks or prefer bold reds? I think I will be more adventurous now with my lipstick and maybe even try a nice purple!


Oh yeah, here is a cake that I made at the weekend for my work friend! It was carrot cake with a cinnamon-cream cheese frosting. I really need to make some carrot cake to eat myself now, haven't had it in SO long! I had some shop bought carrot cake a few weeks ago and it made me realise how much nicer homemade cakes are - shop bought ones have NO flavour at all! What do you prefer - shop bought or homemade? 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Peter pan collar

Friday night
shoes - tesco, dress - new look, cardigan - red herring, collar - etsy

Collar

I decided to buy that Peter Pan collar that I mentioned in a recent post, it's lovely! I know they are a bit 'cliched' now, but I still love them. It's a bit too big because I have such small shoulders and I wish it could tie a bit tighter but other than that I'm really pleased with it. I can't wait to add it to old dresses to brighten them up. Does anyone have any tips on tying good neat bows by the way?! I spent so long trying to get the perfect bow on it and it still never looks quite right. I wore it with my New Look daisy print dress on Friday evening after work to go out for some Thai food. Scott works with a few Thai people and they always say that ChaBa ChaBa on Allerton Road is their favourite. I did enjoy it but the food has a spicier and less rich flavour than much of the westernised thai food. I think that Chilli Banana is still my favourite. Their Pla Sam Ros (a sea bass dish) is delicious. 


Hmm thai food.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ultimate chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

It was my brother-in-law and mum's birthdays at the weekend so I made them a joint birthday cake as a surprise for after Sunday dinner. I wanted to try a new recipe and I don't have a no fail favourite chocolate cake recipe so I decided to try the chocolate layer cake from the Primrose Bakery. It was AMAZING. 

Baking

Baking

It was a lot of work as you have to melt chocolate and also whip up egg whites seperately, but I think that this gives the cake a really light but chocolatey taste. The icing is equally amazing. I think I will try making this a few more times to really perfect it. I have just had a piece tonight that was leftover from when I made it on Sunday and it was AMAZING. I warmed it up slightly in the microwave to make the frosting go all lovely and gooey but even when I was cutting it it still felt so moist. 


You can find the recipe in Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery here, or why not try your local library? (My library has a copy so it's worth checking out yours too)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

How does your garden grow?

Not very well at all actually!

Yard

This is our back yard when we moved in. It still looks pretty much the same. When we got the keys in July, our focus was on getting the inside sorted and then before we knew it, it was October so the garden has been a bit neglected really. Now that the days are getting lighter and the daffodils are peeking through the ground, we are getting excited about our little outdoor space. We don't have a lawn or any flowerbeds, so we will be making use of containers and building some of our own too. I've been scouring Pinterest and my favourite interior design websites for garden ideas.































I love this - it would look great hanging against a wall too. You could paint the gutters really bright colours to brighten up the garden. I love the idea of having a really bright garden - it doesn't all have to be green. The DIY to it can be found here.























Tins as plant containers! Again, a cute way to add colour to the garden too. This was found via here.





We want to make our own planters like this so we can plant vegetables and I love the idea of being able to move them around. Again, I'd paint this a really nice bright colour. This is from a really good DIY here.










I found these via Apartment Therapy - I am a bit besotted with the idea of old wine crates as containers but looking on eBay, the postage is all really expensive. It makes me wish that we drank wine so that we could bulk buy wine and use the crates for the garden! If anyone in the Liverpool area does drink wine and is willing to drink wine and donate the crates for me, just let me know, yeah? 


Is anyone else as excited for getting their gardens ready for Spring? Let me know what you have planned!











Sunday, 19 February 2012

Loafer love

Sunday best
Shoes - Clarks
Tights - h&m
Dress - c/o Very

I've had such a busy week and I've been full of a cold which has slowed me down slightly too! It was my Uncle's 60th birthday and my Auntie had arranged a surprise birthday party for him and asked me to bake some cupcakes for it. Combined with working and being ill, I've felt soo tired this weekend! It's also my brother-in-law's birthday today and my Mum's tomorrow so I made them a joint birthday cake to share today which I will blog about soon - it was delicious. This is what I wore to go around to my Mum's for Sunday dinner. I treated myself to some new loafers to replace my Tesco ones which were falling apart. I have worn them nearly every day since I got them in July and for £14 I got my wear out of them! These shoes were £35 from Clarks and I already have my eyes on some more loafers - I think they are my new ballet pump. 



loafers

loafers2
loafers3

Do you like loafers or are you more a brogue or ballet pump girl? I am off to bed for an early night now - I have another hectic week ahead of me! 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The dining room: before and after

I finally got round to taking photos of our dining room to share. Yet again, this room was a blank canvas (read: boring magnolia) so we decided to do this room teal with some statement wallpaper. We also had new laminate flooring fitted as the quality of the old laminate wasn't very good and it had really been battered as it's such a high traffic area from the front of the house to the kitchen. We also ripped out the ugly fireplace as we figured it would just get in the way of the dining table and we'd never really use it anyway. The whole room was covered in lining paper and scraping it all off was probably the hardest bit. We painted underneath the stairs with blackboard paint, we use it as a meal planner and also for shopping lists. 

Dining room

Dining room

Dining room 

 During:
  Blackboard wall

Dining room

Dining room

After
Dining room

Our dining room table was an eBay bargain, only £33! It also came with 6 chairs, 4 of which we use in the dining room and the other 2 are in the bedrooms upstairs. The table is originally from Ikea and could do with  sanding down and re-varnishing but I think that can be a project for the summer. The bench was a bargain at  £3 (I posted about it here) and it comes in really handy for when we have friends around and want to squeeze more people round the table. 

Dining room

We decided to take the kitchen door off it's hinges so the dining room and kitchen flowed nicely. Our wallpaper is Amy Butler for Graham & Brown, temple tulips in azure.  However, we luckily snagged a roll for just £8 on eBay, so it's always worth checking eBay for wallpaper before shelling out full price. 

Dining room

We've only recently hung this print up but I think it really makes the room. The chimney breast just looked bear with nothing on it and Scott had bought this print from Tugboat Printshop a while ago but we couldn't decide on the right home for it. The tugboat printshop is amazing, everything is made by hand carved woodblocks. This one is called 'big bad wolf'.

Dining room

Dining room

The mirror is also a recent addition, I picked it up for £1 at a carboot sale in August but we only hung it up last weekend. The bookcase is just one that I had from my room at my Mum's, it's currently bulging with all of my teapots, cookery books and our record collection on the bottom shelf. 

Dining room

Ahhh our Kartell Fly light! We really liked the look of these but £150 seemed a bit pricey for us. Luckily Scott got this one on eBay for £30. Because we got such a bargain with the shade, we felt that we could splash out on a Plumen light bulb. (Because £20 for a light bulb is so ridiculous, even the cashier in John Lewis nearly passed out when she scanned it through and saw the price)

Dining room

These sketches were bought in Valencia exactly a year ago. My Grandparents are from Valencia and we were visiting to celebrate my Tia's 90th birthday. (You can see my post about it here) It is such a nice city and these two sketches are of some of the highlights of the city: the market and cathedral & the train station and bull ring. They were bought off a man who was sketching them by the market for 10 euros each. 

I hope you all love our dining room as much as we do. You can look back at my posts on the bedroom , kitchen and living room and also the whole house Flickr photo set here. You can gradually see in the flickr set that the house has become more and more colourful! 

Monday, 13 February 2012

What I wore: Friday/Saturday

Saturday
Dress - Oasis
Belt - Asos
Cardigan - Dorothy Perkins
Shoes - Topshop

I had a lovely but also strange weekend. It started off on Friday night when I started getting ready to go out for a meal with my friends and got on the bus and then suddenly thought 'today isn't the 11th is it, it's the 10th'. Yes, I had got ready and gone out on the WRONG night. So then I had to get the train back to Scott's brothers were they were having a night of board games & curry, but I felt ever so overdressed. Let's just call it a trial run. Everyone laughed when I told them though and at least I thought it was a day early and not a day later. 

The sad thing is that my hair was better the day before! I curled my hair straight from work and it was lovely and curly but on Saturday the curls didn't hold as well because my hair was freshly washed and a bit too fluffy. I think I need to find a better product to hold the curls in. Any recommendations? 

This dress was bought before Christmas as my 'party dress' but I think it's pretty versatile and could be worn with nice boots and layered up for a winters walk or maybe even worn for work. I've already worn it quite a lot, I think it would look lovely with a red belt also. I've also been thinking about buying one of those detachable collars to layer over it? 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

House wishlist

housestuff copy

Just a few things I am currently lusting after for the house at the moment. We have nearly everything for the house but there are still some things we haven't got yet, like placemats. I am so fussy and some of them on the market are really horrible and grannyish. I spied these stag ones (1.) on the Heals website and quite fancy them so may have to order them soon. They will go in any room so will be good if we change our colour scheme in the dining room in the future. I also love all of Ferm Living's stuff which is also available at Heals. Both the bird cushion (2.) and the giant floor cushion (3.) are by Ferm Living. 

I've been listening to 6 music lots lately since we finally got a working cable for the DAB radio, but the radio itself is pretty ugly so I am thinking about upgrading it soon. The radio was Scott's from about 6/7years ago and is quite big and chunky. It's a bit vain as it's still working fine (although actually, part of the antennae has broke) but I figure that since we listen to it everyday it wouldn't be an overly frivolous purchase. I do like the Cath Kidston Roberts ones, but I think they are too expensive for something with just one function, even if it is used everyday. I quite like these Pure Evoke ones (4.) which come in a few different colours but this teal would match our dining room perfectly. There is also a gorgeous Orla Kiely print one but that is £20 extra. Does anyone have any recommendations of really good but pretty radios?

I am also still on the look out for the perfect rug for the bedroom. I really like this one (5.) by Conran for M&S, the colours would match perfectly. But I am not sure if I want a rug that will inject some pattern into the room as it is quite stark & bare already as it is. I also want a new throw for on the bed to replace the old brown ikea we've had for years. I quite like the look of this pom pom one (6.) by Heals. 

We are also hoping to get out in the back yard and sort it out soon if the weather improves.We haven't had any snow in Liverpool but we have had lots of frost & ice so we haven't got out in the garden yet to do anything, but we have been thinking. Scott has grand plans for a raised flower bed and a trellis against the wall, but I am more interested in finding a nice table & chairs and bbq so we can host bbqs and garden parties in the summer. This table & chair set (7.) is currently reduced to £49! I guess winter is a good time to buy garden furniture. However I'm not sure it would be big enough for if we had friends around. 

And finally, I always, always, always want more Le Creuset (8.). I currently have 1 small cast iron casserole, 1 stone casserole and 1 stoneware rectangular dish, but I want more cast iron things as they are so practical. You can fry things on the hob then just pop them in the oven. They are also so easy to clean. I want a whole rainbow of Le Creuset! 

What house things are you wishing for at the moment?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Blue polka dots

Saturday
shoes - tesco
dress - miss selfridge
cardigan - dorothy perkins

I love this dress although it does have a habit of popping open buttons randomly and making me flash people indecently. Not good. I wore this the other weekend when I went into Manchester for a library camp event. Luckily I had the decency to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath it so didn't flash my brassiere at any unsuspecting librarians. It was bloody cold in Manchester too - what is with that city? It is always at least 1 degree colder than Liverpool despite only being about 30 miles apart. I love wearing summer dresses all year round though and long sleeved t-shirts are my best friend for this. Some things are too pretty just to wear for a few months of the year.

P.S I have just realised I've had this dress for as long as I've been blogging here (4 years this summer!). Look at how I wore it here (with the terrible lighting and bad camera quality before I got a good camera!) 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Apple cake

Apple cake

Apple cake

Urgh, February is being a drag already isn't it? It has become comfort food central for me, after the healthy eating of January goes out of the window. I love warm desserts in the winter and there is nothing better than the combination of apple & cinnamon. 

Apple cake

Apple cake

When I was asked by Baking Mad to try out a recipe of theirs, I toyed with some cupcake recipes but instead decided that a nice stodgy cake was what I was in the mood for so looked at the cake recipes and found this recipe for Bramley Apple Cake. It's a really easy tray bake that was yummy straight from the cake tin or even better the day after covered in loads of custard. 

The recipe itself was really easy - just throw everything into the bowl and mix! The most fiddly part was preparing the apples. I didn't have any bramley apples so just made do with some cox's I had lurking in the fridge waiting to be used. I am sure it will be even more delicious with bramley apple's and some cinnamon mixed in with the sugar sprinkled on top. 

Ingredients

3 apples
1 tbsp lemon juice 
225g butter, softened
4 eggs
350g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
225 golden caster sugar
Demerara sugar to sprinkle
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.Gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line a rectangular 27cm x 20cm baking tin with parchment paper.
  3. Peel, core and slice the apples into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Place the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder into a large bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  5. Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared tin and top with the apples. Spoon over the remaining mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Leave to cool before turning on to a cooling rack and cutting into squares to serve.
There are so many yummy recipes on the Baking Mad website that I want to try now, including the key lime cupcakes recipe, yum. There is also currently a competition on the website to win a gorgeous Kenwood stand mixer! 

PS. This is a sponsored post. 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

My weekend







This weekend has been lovely & relaxing. Most weekends we are both usually super busy doing things with family & friends AND trying to catch up on all the housework we've avoided throughout the week, but this weekend both of us had no plans at all. We went out for breakfast on Saturday morning to Green Days on Lark Lane (their toast is made from the most amazing bread from the German bakery!) then wandered down to Sefton Park library. At this point the weather turned freezing and the rain that was falling was turning to ice as soon as it touched the ground and there were icicles everywhere. We decided to head back home where we have hibernated for the rest of the weekend, eating cake & custard and warm stew. 

I've also done loads of clothes washing - I think I enjoy it a bit too much. I never iron though, that's far too tedious. In fact, we have an iron still in it's box, unopened, that we got when we moved out! I just think it's a waste of electricity, save the environment and all that.. ;-) Still, you cannot beat the smell of clean cotton and going to bed on a Sunday night to clean sheets after a lovely bath has to be one of life's small pleasures. Hope you all had a lovely cosy weekend too and managed to keep warm in the ice & snow!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Your library needs YOU!

Happy weekend! What are you doing tomorrow? Enjoying a nice lie in, some shopping, maybe even working on a Saturday? Why not add visiting your local library to that list.

We can do it

Tomorrow is National Libraries Day here in the UK, a day to celebrate all of our wonderful libraries. Currently over 400 public libraries are at risk of closure but by visiting them you can help support them and also discover the joy of libraries. 


All sorts of libraries are getting involved with tomorrows events; to find an event nearby just have a look at this google map. Tomorrow I am planning to visit Sefton Park library and getting some books out and also sorting out my pin number so I can download books. Yes, download books! Many libraries now have eBook services so you can lend eBooks from them free of charge. Here are a few reasons why I think being a member of your local library is a good idea: 

  • Free books! Currently I have over £200 of books out from the library. There is no way that I would be willing to spend that much money on some of them, but it is great to try new authors. 
  • Internet access! Oh no, your internet goes down in your house, what do you do?! There are a million blog posts clogging up your google reader and you suddenly have loads of blog ideas. Your local library provides free internet access so you can catch up with all these things online. It's also great for times when you're in between houses and waiting for the new internet connection to be set up. Lots of libraries now have wifi too, so you can even take your laptop/iPad down to the library.
  • Specialist information services. Librarians are not book stampers, they are information professionals. Give us any enquiry and we will solve it (or at least point you in the direction of someone who can). We can help find you the perfect books for your essay, suggest you new authors based on what you've just read, help you trace your family tree or the history of your house, solve crossword puzzles. Whatever your question, a librarian will have an answer. 
  • A safe building to relax in. Libraries are one of the few public places you can go now and not spend any money. Spend a whole day in a library reading a newspaper and no-one will ask you for a penny. You don't need to keep buying coffee to use our wifi like you would in a Starbucks of McDonalds. 
Who else loves their local library as much as me?! 

PS, if you can't get down to your local library tomorrow, why not support them by signing this petition


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