Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What I Got For Christmas 2015

I love reading these type of posts so I thought I'd do one myself. I love reading what people have got for Christmas or their birthday and I think it's because of how nosey I am! As always, I am not boasting about anything I received for Christmas, this is all a bit of fun. I am so grateful for everything I've been given!
I am a huge lover of TV series and films so my family did well buying me DVD's! Ryan's family bought me the first season of New Girl, Doctor Who The Day of The Doctor and 10 Things I Hate About You. My brother bought me Angry Boys. My Auntie and Uncle bought me the second and third season of Two Broke Girls. Another Auntie and Uncle bought me the Madagascar boxset. My Mom bought me The Aristocats, Alice in Wonderland and Green Day's Heart Like a Hand Grenade documentary.
My Mom bought me an amazing 150th anniversary edition of Alice in Wonderland, the cover is designed by Vivienne Westwood. It's absolutely wonderful. She also bought me The Cake Book by Cupcake Jemma, I love watching her videos and now don't have to write all her recipes down while pausing and playing her videos!
Ryan did amazingly and bought me an Instax Mini 90, along with a case for it and some film. I can't wait to use it - I'm waiting for the right moment. I love the way it looks and can't wait to be able to put the photos up on my wall or in an album.
My Mom bought me this absolutely beautiful Olivia Burton watch from the Winter Garden Collection and I am in love with it! Ryan bought me a gorgeous Vivienne Westwood ring and I can't stop staring at it, it's wonderful.
My sister bought me a LYNX gift set and so did my cousin and his wife. My other sister bought me a toiletry set. Chloe bought me a bottle of Snow Fairy, Butterbear and Sex Bomb. Ryan's Nan and Grandad bought me perfume and his Auntie and Uncle bought me a nail varnish set.
My Mom bought me a Lindt reindeer box and the classic Chocolate Orange. Ryan's family bought me Lucky Charms and Strawberry Creams. My Auntie and Uncle bought me a Gruffalo chocolate. One of my friends bought me a 'Christmas Jumper' chocolate and another friend bought me a box of Maltesers. Ryan's Auntie and Uncle bought me a box of Roses.
Ryan's Nan gave me money which is nice, as I can get myself something or save it. His cousin and his girlfriend and another Auntie and Uncle of his gave us money together so we can go out for a lovely meal. Ryan's family bought me a penguin cushion and penguin Top Trumps. One of my friends bought me a gorgeous smelling Candy Cane Lane candle. Another of my friends bought me Paramore's latest CD, a Victoria's Secret Gift Card and some penguin pyjama bottoms. Another one of my friends bought me a penguin passport cover and an Ariel Pop Figurine. My brother bought me a Disney calendar, all the illustrations are beautiful. He also bought me a Sebastian soft toy, which I adore. My Auntie and Uncle bought me a lovely Alice in Wonderland make up bag and another Auntie and Uncle bought me a gorgeous Kipling purse.
What did you get for Christmas?
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Monday, 28 December 2015

The Book of Everyone

When 'The Book of Everyone' contacted me asking if I'd like to review one of their books, I knew it would make a perfect Christmas gift for my boyfriend, Ryan. I'd seen these books on plenty of other blogs and thought they looked wonderful. Everything from making the book to receiving it was such a breeze, I'd definitely order one again.

The book is really easy to edit and most pages are done for you, but you can add images and change the text to make the book more personal. I chose the Christmassy one as me and Ryan both love Christmas and I thought he'd appreciate it. It includes some great facts such as how much things were when you were born, the number one and blockbuster film the day you were born and the approximate number person on the earth you were at birth. Things you'd never think about but would be fun to know!

You can also create personal pages such as the brain one above - I changed it to the things I think Ryan thinks about the most and also the 'I like you more than...' page because he knows how much I love chocolate! I also added some images opposite rather than the quotes that were there, it added a more personal touch.

All of the book is really high quality and I would say it's definitely worth the £29.99 price tag for the hardback version. I'm already thinking about getting these for people's birthdays and Christmas next year! With the hardback version you also get a digital download version, which is always good when you want to show people your amazing gift without taking the book everywhere. You can make your own here.
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*This post contains press samples

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have an amazing day with whoever you're spending this lovely day with. I know I'll definitely be eating my body weight in Christmas dinner and chocolate. See you in a few days, when we've all recovered from the festivities!
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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Cupcakes with Bailey's Buttercream

I made these absolutely delicious vanilla cupcakes to Cupcake Jemma's recipe. I then adapted her perfect buttercream recipe by taking out the 1/2 tsp of vanilla and replacing it with 4 tbsp of Bailey's. These are SO Christmassy and delicious!
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Christmas Cake

This year I decided I would actually get round to making a Christmas cake. I used this recipe, but made a few little changes to it. The night before I made my cake, I soaked my dried fruit in brandy to get more of that brandy flavour into it. I also replaced the 100g of mixed peel with another 100g of dried fruit, as I don't really know anyone that likes the peel. I made my Christmas cake in advance, on the 25th October so that I could feed it with brandy every week before Christmas for a stronger flavour. However it is possible to make it nearer the time - it'll just be less boozy!

For the cake you will need:
225g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g butter
200g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp marmalade
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
800g dried mixed fruit
100g chopped mixed peel
150g glace cherries, halved
100g blanched almonds, chopped
To decorate the cake, you will need:
200g marzipan
1-2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed

For the royal icing, you will need:
3 free-range egg whites
600g icing sugar, sieved
1 1/2 tsp liquid glycerine (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Heat your oven to Gas Mark 2/150C/350F. Grease and line the sides and bottom of a 20cm/8 inch round or 18cm/7 inch square cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Sieve the flour, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon into a bowl.
3. Cream the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and then mix in the treacle, marmalade and vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
4. Mix the eggs into the mixture a little at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with the last amount.
5. Fold in the remaining flour mixture until well mixed and then mix in the dried fruit, mixed peel, glace cherries and almonds.
6. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and make a hollow in the centre.
7. Bake in the oven for 3 hours and then test with a skewer. If the cake isn't ready, bake for up to another hour, testing every 20 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
9. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
10. Once cool, make a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tbsp of brandy. Let the brandy soak into the cake.
11. Store the cake wrapped in foil/brown paper/newspaper and in an airtight container.
12. If you have time before you ice your cake, spoon over a few tablespoons of brandy every week until you're ready to ice it.

13. To decorate the cake, place it on a foil board or cake plate.
14. Dust your hands and the work surface with icing sugar and knead the marzipan until soft.
15. Roll out half the marzipan to fit the top of the cake and roll out the rest in strips to fit around the sides of the cake.
16. Brush the cake all over with the warmed apricot jam and then place the marzipan on the top and sides of the cake.

17. Cover the cake with a clean teatowel and leave it in a cool place for at least one day. 
18. To make the royal icing, lightly whisk the egg whites adding the sugar at intervals. Beat well until the icing reaches soft peaks. Add the glycerine (if using) and lemon juice.
19. Spread the icing over the cake, either flat or by forming soft peaks. Decorate with Christmas ornaments. 
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Thursday, 17 December 2015

H&M Rose Dress

Dress - H&M | Boots - Public Desire
This was the next dress I spent my £50 H&M voucher on. I love the classic and elegant rose print and how it makes a black dress look so colourful. This is definitely a winter-y dress and I will be wearing it until it falls apart, I love it so much! I can certainly say that H&M know how to do day dresses perfectly.
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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Festive Nails

I got my nails done last Saturday by Natalie at JD's Hair Studio in Great Barr. I was so excited to get my Christmas nails done ready for the holiday season and I'm in love with them! The glittery red is perfect for Christmas and the holly on the green nails just brings it all together. I cannot stop looking at them!
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Monday, 14 December 2015

H&M Patterned Multicoloured Dress

Dress - H&M | Boots - Public Desire
Recently I won an H&M voucher on Twitter via Sarah Ashcroft, which was well needed! This was the first dress I bought with the voucher to go in my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. This dress caught my eye as I love the pattern and it is a perfect fit. I think I could actually wear this all year round!
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