Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas lovely readers. Like every year on Christmas morning all my family got up and we opened our presents before breakfast. This year everyone had to wait for me to wake up! We sat on the floor around our pretty tree and I handed out the presents. I've been so lucky and received so many beautiful gifts.
My family and I dress up on Christmas Day every year and this year was no exception. I found this amazing 1980's black dress with white trim on eBay. I love the cut and the bow detail on the shoulders. I was surprised that I found such a lovely dress from the 80's as it's not my favourite decade for vintage at all. I've teamed it with shoes and earrings that I recived as Christmas presents from my mum. For once I thought I'd attempt a beehive to show off the earrings and the detail on the dress. It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I really like how it turned out although, I think I need some practice.

At 1pm we picked up my grandma and headed to my Uncles houses in Hampton court. Once inside we sat around the tree and opened even more presents. This year my uncle framed a photo of Linda Macartney for  me and also got me a signed book by Gered Mankowitz - a British rock photographer. Which funnily enough I also got for him! After we opened the last of the presents we relaxed and had some lunch.

 I always love going to my Uncles as it feels so much like home. I needed a rest mid afternoon as I started to feel ill. The run up to Christmas was very busy for me so I knew this might happen. I did some meditation and that helped for a little while.
We started dinner at 7:30 and finished at 10. Throughout dinner we were listening to different vynells, from Nina Simone to T Rex. I found it very amusing that my 86 year old grandma enjoyed 'last of the English roses' by Pete Docherty. My uncle didn't realise that you need to steam the Christmas pudding, so we had flaming mince pies instead. After that I was completely shattered and feeling very ill. 

Dress: vintage - eBay 
Earrings: accessorize
Tights: Primark
Shoes: Asos 

Boxing Day My mum, brother and I watched tv and ate loads of chocolate. I was and still am not feeling very well at all. However, I really enjoyed this Christmas. Everyone seemed really happy, which doesn't always happen. My brother Rob (in two of the photos) complains about Christmas a lot but I think he enjoyed it a lot this year which made it even better for me. It's always nice when you can have a good time with siblings.
I'm really enjoying seeing everyone's Christmas posts. I hope you all have had a lovely stress free Christmas.  

Emma xx

Saturday, 21 December 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It's under a week now until the big day and I've found myself very busy, luckily doing lovely things and remembering Christmasses gone by.
Last weekend my mum and I choose our tree and decorated it. I adore doing this with my mum and it got me thinking about when I was a child. 
When I was a little girl, my parents told my brother and I that the fairies came at night through the letterbox and decorated the tree. The excitement of going to bed with a bare tree knowing tiny fairies would make it beautiful by the morning was so magical. I can still remember the images I made up in my head of this happening. In the morning we would rush downstairs saying "have they been?!" I remember being amazed by what the magical creatures had worked so hard on. It was a great idea to avoid having a messy tree decorated by very young children and so that my Mum and Dad could decorate it together. My parents weren't mean though, we had a little fake tree in the dining room for my brother and I to decorate. We also took over the hallway for a few years and decorated the whole ceiling with ceramic snowman faces we made in classes. 



Dress: Mango via eBay brand new £0.99
Necklace: ebay (5 years ago)
Bracelet: vintage gift from my mum
tights: Primark

I also thought this would be a good opportunity to share one of my favouite new dresses. I loved this dress when I first saw it in Mango but I couldn't afford it. Luckily for me I found it on ebay still with the tags on and won it for 99p! Its a fantastic dress for the holidays and I'll be wearing it a lot on the next three weeks.

Emma Xx

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Blogger Secret Santa

This morning a Royal Mail van pulled up outside my house. It sparked some excitment within the house, not one of us have ever recived post on a Sunday, or ever heard of it. Not that I'm complaining, what came to my door today was my blogger secret Santa gifts from the lovely Laura at day dreaming foodie. I opened the box to find a lovely card and presents wrapped in pretty raindeer and star paper. Vicki at A Life Of Geekery organised the secret Santa and she asked us to wait until Christmas Day to open them... It seems I'm far too impatient and as so many others are already opening theirs, I thought I would open mine! I hope Laura and Vicki both forgive me!!

 Laura has truly stalked me well! I absolutely adore everything that she gave me. She picked out some very cute cat stickers which I will be putting in my sticker book, four lovely little cat magnets that remind me of Alfie, especially when he was a kitten! A camera stamp which I can't wait to use! I believe these can be found at Stray Jewellery. She also added a pretty cath kidston print mirror, which I will be putting in my  bag later today!



The bowl which is so beautiful was made by Laura's very tallented boyfriend Matt at Matt Liddle Pottery. I love this kind of pottery very much and always admire it when I see some, so I can't say how delighted I am with this gift.

Laura's card was really pretty and matched the wrapping paper so well. Inside was a postcard, with a photo of a lovely wintery snowy scene. When I read the back, I found out that the photos is of Laura's house in Northern Ireland. It looks and sounds like a lovely place to live, with all the different animals and the countryside. How beautiful.

I can't thank you enough Laura, for all the thought that went into picking out these presents for me. 

My secret Santa gift is on its way and although I would like to share with you what I picked out and who for, I don't want to spoil the surprise for them. If you've taken part in a secret Santa swap this year, let me know as I'd love to have a nosy at what you received! 
Happy Sunday!

Emma Xx

Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

It's safe to say I've got a very big head right now. Im so proud of these cupcakes and the photos that I took of them. I'm not sure if I meantioned before that I attend a photography class everyweek at my local adult learning centre. This term is almost over and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I've learnt more in the 8 lessons I was well enough to attend than I did in two years of A level photography. Crazy right?! And I got an A for my A level without really understanding how to use my camera on manual!
These photos are for my final project which I took in this weeks class. The Brief was Christmas food, a fantastic excuse for me to make some cupcakes!

The cupcakes contrary to how they look are pretty easy - trust me! For the recipe scroll down to the bottom of the page. The gingerbread house, which smells amazing is from Aldi. I think it cost £5.99 or there abouts. The rest of the decorations I borrowed from my mum.



I wanted to get the cakes done fast the day before my class, so to save time and energy I used Betty Crockers Devils Food Cake mix (which is on offer at the moment in waitrose.) It's a great mix and easy peasy to make. I also made the green icing, raindeer and stars the day before.



1 box of Betty Crocker Devils Food Cake Cupcake mix

2 medium eggs


Vegtable or sunflower Oil

For the icing

500g icing sugar

100g brown fondant icing

Edible glitter and sprinkles

150g softened butter

Orange extract

Small Christmas cutters or premade decorations.

Piping bag

Firstly you need to follow the cake mix instructions. The cakes take 16 minutes to cook at 160 for fan oven. When the cakes are cooked, leave then in the tray (a muffin tray is best) to cool. While that is happening you can start on the butter icing.

For the butter icing you will need to cream 150g butter and slowly add 300g of the icing sugar and mix until you reach a smooth consistency. Then you can add green colouring which is best done a small bit at a time until you reach the 'Christmas tree' green colour you desire. For the flavour I used orange - you could use vanilla, almond or lemon extract etc.

Set the green icing aside and make the white icing. You'll need to gradually mix 200g of icing sugar with a little water. Keep adding water until you have a thick but manageable consistency. Cover but don't put in the fridge.

This is when you can roll out the icing and use cutters to cut out stars, raindeers or robbins etc. If you don't have cutters don't worry, you can find pre made Christmas cupcake decorations in supermarkets which would be just as effective.

This is when the real fun begins. When the cakes are cool take them out of the tray, you might want to cut the tops off to make the cakes flatter (and for quality control tasting of course!). You'll need to add a circle of white icing around the top of the cakes for the snow. Once you've done all the cakes you need to add the green butter cream to a piping bag and pipe the trees. If you've not piped before maybe practice on a plate or look up piping on YouTube. I've not had a lot of practice at piping so don't be put off. When your happy with your trees it's time to add sprinkles, glitter and whatever decorations you fancy.  Then I suggest you show them off and eat as many as you can!

I hope my instructions make sense - this is my first recipe post. I do hope you like it! If anyone does make my Christmas tree cupcakes I would love it if you told me! 
Emma Xx

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Festive Jumper

Gone are the days of dread brought on by that hand knitted Christmas jumper from some great great aunt twice removed. In the last few years people have been embracing the Christmas jumper. No one would be laughing at Mark Darcy now in his festive jumper. No.  Wether they actually make someone look chic and fashionable is another question, but I love the sense of fun they bring to an outfit.
Some may be disappointed after reading all that, after all I'm not wearing a jumper with Father Christmas standing alongside ruidoff with a flashing light for his red nose. Nor is it the Christmas puddings jumper from Primark, which still makes me giggle! If you've not seen it, I'm sure you can guess the placement of the puddings. My jumper is extremely subtle. It has that Christmas feel with the colours and shapes within the pattern.

Jumper -  Boutique by Jaeger - charity shop - £8
Jeans - charity shop £4
Brougues - Office - charity shop - £15
Brooch - Lea stein - Gift
Hand Bag - Osprey - Gift

I've not worn this brooch for a long time, mainly because I wasn't sure what to wear it with but I think it goes nicely with my jumper. Lea Stein makes some amazing jewellery.
I didn't realise until I put it all on, that my whole outfit has been thrifted (apart from the gifts - both from my Grandma) and comes to a grand total of £27. A fraction of what the jumper alone would have cost. I know it's not for everyone and the idea of wearing someone else's clothes isn't all that appealing but, not everything you find will have been used before. These shoes by office were brand new.

Have you got a Christmas jumper this year? 

Emma Xx

I apologise for the not so scenic door step background which sadly may feature a lot while its so cold out!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Operation Christmas Child

Christmas will soon be upon us and we all know that means over indulgence, presents, parties and of course Christmas dinner being eaten by millions. I love Christmas, it's my favourite holiday by far as it's always been so magical for me, even now at 23. It's like a ray of sun that breaks up the dead of winter. The thought of winter without Christmas is something that's making me shudder just trying to imagine. After the leaves of autumn have fallen around us and the frost starts bitting at my fingers what keeps me going is the thought of making the Christmas cake with my mum, picking out the tree, decorating it and watching the fairy lights blink and sparkle while I dig into a massive tin of quality streets. Wrapping presents while I watch a rubbish Christmas film on the pop up Channel Xmas 24.
For some people they can only dream of such things. There are children in this world including the uk, that wake up on Christmas morning without a tree or presents or even parents for that matter. Children who have had a hard short life through no fault of their own. There is a way to help some of those children to have Christmas cheer (and boost your karma) and it all starts with a simple shoe box. 

The Operation Christmas Child is run by the Samaritans Purse charity, they collect shoe boxes full of toys, sweets, school and hygiene supplies from the general pupic and distribute them around the world to less fortunate children. For the last 2 years I have been donating shoe boxes. I thought maybe in the spirit of Christmas whether you are religious or not ( I don't really know where I stand on that matter) you might find it fun to help out too. Normally I have only made up one box at a time but this year seeing as I bought most of the girls things in the January sale I thought I would attempt a box for a boy too. 
These are the boxes I wrapped and what I put in them.




 All gifts came from; Accessorize, Boots, Bentalls, The works, Primark, Waitrose, Tescos, Paperchase and sainsburys. ( could be all done from one or two shops!)

Now that I have wraped and filled the boxes with my gifts I will drop them off at my local collection point. Seriously wish I didn't have to say goodbye to the beautiful wolf! All the information on creating shoe box gifts can be found HERE. There is still time to make your own if you feel like it, the drop off deadline is the 18th November. 

Emma Xx