Wednesday, 1 October 2014

It was autumn time, and thickly fell the leaves...

Hi dolls, how are you? I'm afraid there's no Bakeoff post today - as you know the past few weeks have been really hectic and with my brother away at training no one else at home seemed all that keen on eating anything 'patisserie' themed (I've mentioned my family aren't all that sweet toothed and it'd be silly to make things just to go to waste!) Next week I should be coming back with a lovely big finale bake, though. :)

In the mean time I have got my September favourites post lined up: stay tuned to read about the items I've been loving most this month!

Earrings - Your Dreamcatcher*
Some of you may remember that I have bought dreamcatcher earrings a few months ago - disappointingly they have since broken, and I was a little heartbroken as they were my favourites! Luckily Your Dreamcatcher came to the rescue: I fell in love with these at first sight and was so happy when they arrived at my door. The earrings are handmade in sterling silver with onyx bead detailing, with beautiful little feathers hanging just underneath. I love them even more than my original pair because the detailing is black (we all know how I feel about black!) I've worn them almost every day since they arrived and am hoping to collect all the matching jewellery over time.

Joggers - Your Dreamcatcher*
I also received a pair of Your Dreamcatcher joggers in the post - I change into loungewear the minute I get home after work as I like to curl up in something comfy, and these are perfect for the job. I liked the cute motif and they are incredibly thick and warm. I sized up as I like my loungewear loose, but I'd recommend staying true to size as these are a little too baggy over the hips, luckily there's a drawstring tie to reign them in! Overall I'm really pleased with these, next I'd love to see Your Dreamcatcher bring out some wide yoga-style trousers as that's my preferred shape of loungewear and I think they'd look adorable with the bohemian-inspired logo.

Nike Air Force 1 - Schuh
I needn't tell you I'm not a sporty kind of gal, so I'm as surprised as you are that these are on my list. However, I needed a shoe to wear at work: I have a high instep and wanted something really supportive for running around all day, as well as something that would be fairly waterproof as winter comes around and I begin walking to work in the rain. My brother told me they looked like school shoes but personally I love a fat black trainer and I can't get over how comfortable these have been.

Desk Pad - Paperchase
Lately I've been really beating myself up for not being organised enough, despite the fact that I'm an illustrator without a desk, not to mention organising myself around a new job and a to-do list as long as my arm. I picked this desk pad up at Paperchase for just £6 to try and help me get more organised, splitting my to-do list around work shifts and trying to set realistic goals per day. I'm really hoping this will help me to balance everything and feel a little less stressed. The fact that it's pretty will hopefully make me feel more inclined to use it...

Scrunchies - Topshop
I'm really bad at putting my hair up, I keep pondering over Pinterest trying to master some new styles but in all honesty I'm just rubbish at it. However I've lately become a big fan of these bunny-ear scrunchies from Topshop as they look really cute sticking out of the messiest of buns, there's wire inside the bunny ears so you can adjust how they sit which is handy!

The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie
I know this one's pretty ironic given that I've been taking part in The Great Blogger Bakeoff for the past six weeks but this book has really opened my eyes about sugar and I'm only a few chapters in. I'm really hoping that, after next week's Bakeoff finale, I can have a go at detoxing from the white stuff and seeing how I get on. Feeling healthy is really important to me and I'm hoping that by dramatically lowering my sugar intake I will feel much more healthy and energised. Fingers crossed!

What were your September favourites? Have you tried any of these item? Oh, and guys... please link me to some decent Pinterest hair tutorials if you know any!

Monday, 29 September 2014

This crystal city's gonna fall apart...

I think that between my mourning for summer, and the fact that my work uniform currently consists of blue denim and Nikes, this kind of an outfit post was always going to happen. I'm fascinated with bohemian, folky styles at the moment and 'bell sleeve' is a saved search on my Depop. These styles suit the transition from summer to autumn so perfectly well, and since I'm a bit of a hippie at heart I'm becoming more and more inclined to express that through my clothing...

Rose headband - Camden Town*
Dress - Topshop (via Depop)
Boots - Topshop

When this purple headband arrived from Camden Town I couldn't help but mourn the end of summer. Don't get me wrong, I love autumn and I'm really excited for all that comes with the season, but there is usually such a carefree spirit in the air when it's warm and sunny outside (also if I go one more year without a proper festival I'm going to be one very sad Hannah!) Now that it's nearly October I had certainly missed the window to pair this with denim and DMs in a homage to festival fashion, so I tried a different tack with a chiffon dress for an Ophelia kind of vibe. A lot of bloggers have written off the flower crown by now, dubbing them so very 2009, but as a hippie at heart I'm always going to love wearing flowers in my hair.

These kind of smock shapes are tricky for a curvy girl as they aren't the most flattering, particularly in pale colours where you can risk looking like you've wandered outside in a (super pretty) nightgown. Belts, my usual solution, don't always look right on material that's both super voluminous and pale (particularly since my love for black leather and studs will never fade, and this sums up the majority of the belts in my possession) so instead I bought a length of lace which worked well to draw this dress in just enough. It's weirding me out that I'm so drawn to pale colours at the moment, but as always, it's nothing a pair of big black boots can't balance out. Find this outfit on Lookbook here...

How do you feel about bohemian style and flower crowns? Summer, festivals, or all year round?

Friday, 26 September 2014

Build a heart made from armour...

Hi dolls. Today I have an outfit post lined up for you guys. This is such a gorgeous dress and I'm really excited to share it with you guys! Aside from my amazing weekend away I've not been feeling all that great lately, but luckily nothing makes me feel better like putting on a pretty dress and heels...

Dress - Joe Browns*
Heels - New Look (old)

Joe Browns are a brand that really know how make dresses, and well. This is the third Joe Browns dress in my wardrobe now and all three have been beautifully crafted, with thoughtful attention to detail (I love the quirky heart button detail on the skirt, such a thoughtful little touch) and made from good quality materials. The fact that they always get just the right length is really important too: whilst I'm not afraid of a short hemline, just an extra inch can make all the difference meaning you don't have to constantly keep an eye on it haha.

This dress from their new Sovereignty collection caught my eye immediately, I loved the lace overlay, to me it looked beautiful and regal. When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised with the weight of the material: it's thick, heavy and whilst it's a cute going-out dress for now I'm already dreaming about layering it with fluffy black jumpers or sheer chiffon blouses come winter. (I'm actually strongly considering wearing it for my graduation ceremony as I think it would work really well, what do you guys think?!) Next on my Joe Browns wishlist is their vintage floral print dress which is just gorgeous and would work really well for styling with chunky knits when that time comes around. (Yeah soz, I'm already all about the knitwear. Obsessed, much?) Find this outfit on Lookbook here...

Do you like this dress? Does dressing up make you feel better when you're down?

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The lion's roar...

Hi dolls, I hope you're well! I wanted to write a post about the past weekend, which was such an amazing time. With both our first anniversary and my boy's birthday to celebrate, I whisked him off to London on Saturday afternoon. I don't often share much detail to do with days out here, which is a shame really as it's nice to share those memories and keep them preserved!

If you'd like to read a little bit about our weekend, stick around! This post is super photo-heavy (yay animal photos!) so click to read more. :)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

I never miss a beat, I'm lightening on my feet...

These Bakeoff days keep flying round, I can barely keep track any more! For the past few weeks I've had very little free time - I really wasn't sure when on earth I'd fit in my Bakeoff challenge, particularly as the theme this week is 'advanced dough.' I looked to Paul Hollywood's book for guidance and was shocked to find that his croissant or Danish pastry doughs require about 17 hours rest before you even assemble the final items! Between my late-night bake and work the next day that was just not plausible for me, but instead I found a classic recipe for a Belgian bun which required a fraction of the amount of time Mr Hollywood suggests, but still works for the 'enriched dough' specification. If you'd like to learn how to make these bad boys, read on!

This recipe creates approximately 16 Belgian buns. You will need the following ingredients:

475g strong white flour, plus a little extra for dusting
5g salt
65g caster sugar
10g milk powder
40g butter, plus extra for glazing
1/2 egg, beaten
8g fast action dried yeast
250ml water (warm, not hot)
75g brown sugar
5g cinnamon
Currants, to taste
Icing sugar, to taste
Glace cherries, to taste

Sift the strong white flour, salt, caster sugar and milk powder into a bowl. Stir the yeast into the warm water and set aside. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients, then add the yeast liquid and the beaten egg. Mix well, until a soft dough is formed. Resist the temptation to add any extra flour. Knead the dough well, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Place the dough into a heavy bowl and leave the prove for about 45 minutes in a warm place.

 When the dough is proved, knock it back and fold over itself, leaving to rest again for another 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, you can prep the ingredients needed to assemble the buns: mix cinnamon and brown sugar in one small bowl, and melt butter in a different bowl, ready to glaze. Set these aside. Line two baking trays with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 220 degrees.

Roll the dough out to cover an area of about 30cm x 60cm (since I didn't have quite enough spare kitchen surface space, I repeated the process twice: using half the mixture accordingly on a 30x30cm surface.) Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinammon mix over the top of the rolled dough, then sprinkle with currants.

Roll up the dough in a Swiss roll fashion, not too tightly. Glaze all sides of the roll with butter (this will prevent sticking once the buns are baked) then cut the roll into equal slices.

Place the slices flat side down onto a baking tray with the pieces almost touching, then leave to prove. Once proved, bake the buns for 15 minutes.

Once the buns are baked, remove them from the oven (mine went slightly over despite baking them for only 13 minutes; if you have a fan oven keep a very close eye on your bake!)

Leave the buns to cool for a moment, before transferring them onto a cooling tray.

The buns will break apart quite easily once transferred to the tray. From this point you could glaze them or dust them with a little caster sugar but I opted not to.

I did drizzle a few buns with icing sugar and topped with a glace cherry, for those with a sweet tooth.

Whilst my family are big lovers of croissants, this type of sweet bun is something I've never attempted to bake before. However, I'm really glad I tried this recipe as I'd love to make this again using different flavours: the filling, providing it is not too wet, should be fairly interchangeable. I'm not usually a fan of currants and cinnamon but in these the flavour isn't too overpowering. They make a really great breakfast! Do you like the sound of these, would you try them?

Friday, 19 September 2014

'Cause you are the only one...

Hi guys, I hope you're well! I have some outfit posts and exciting news to share with you next week, but first I wanted to let you know I'm off away this weekend with my handsome man. It's our one year anniversary today, which has come around so quickly, then it's his birthday on Sunday so I'm planning on spoiling him! Here's a little mini portrait I made of the two of us for his anniversary card.

I'm not usually the type to write a public, soppy statement about these kind of things, but I guess you only get one first anniversary, and I'm a big fan of this boy. He fills my days with happiness, laughter and love, and he's a big part of my life so it will be nice to at least attempt to show him how much he means to me!