Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Always time for coffee #DolceGustoBlogger

It's well known that I do love a good cup of coffee.  I went through a stage of only having decaf but after my job became more demanding I find that coffee gives me that polite kick up the bum every morning.  

My hubby-to-be and I will frequently have coffees out before work, mainly to have that time to catch up but the problem is (as you can imagine) it can get really really expensive!  As we have now got a wedding to plan for we could do with cutting back on a few luxuries... 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Top 5 things to do in London for a girls weekend

My bestie is leaving me and moving abroad to embark on some new adventures.  We both don't get to see each other very often but when we do it's like we've been together the entire time.  That's real friendship.
girls weekend
With her going away we've decided to plan a weekend of fun.  She is based in Manchester and me in the midlands so we've chosen London as our place to go, and of course with me being the 'planner' I've been coming up with some exciting things for us to do.  These may help you select some things to do whilst in London with your best friend...


It's a very obvious choice but it's a firm favourite because of the diverse range of shows you can see!  For me I'd really like to see Bodyguard with Alexandra Burke in and maybe even The Lion King. You can actually do some complete theatre break packages  where you get your accommodation and show included, making it quite hassle free which is not a bad idea if you ask me! Hotels Direct are pretty good on rates and combinations.



This is a very obvious choice especially for London.  Personally I don't like Saturday shopping in my own town let alone London, so I prefer to go off the commercial map and find other places.  It will still be busy but my gosh is it worth it!  I suggest heading to Spitalfield Market as there are some fantastic bargains, I went the other week so you will see some in my upcoming style posts!



If you've read my blog you will know I do love afternoon tea. There are numerous places to go in London so you can go from very low key to tap dancing - it's just endless! Currently one of my top reviews is the Harvey Nichols Riot of Colour afternoon tea, myself and Jodi went last year and loved the entire experience.   I am due to be going to One Aldywch for their Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea.... put it this way I won't be eating before and after... there is a lot of yummy treats! yum yum!




I do think that pampering is one of the best things of a girls weekend, just to relax and feel at ease is the best feeling ever. I'm thinking of getting our hair done somewhere like Toni & Guy, The Blow Dry Bar or Hershesons, which all offer the chance to get your hairstyled in a way you perhaps couldn't do yourself. The great thing is that when your hair has been done you feel awesome and will be ready for your night out! 



I had to throw in some kind of night time activity and a cocktail bar is perfect!  I'd previously been to Dirty Martini which was great fun but what else is there in London? I've always wanted to try out Mr Fogg's (also meant to be spectacular for a tipsy afternoon tea) and also Dabbous is a London hotspot for cocktails but also amazing food as well. 


You don't have to make a weekend complicated but as long as you throw each of these 5 things into the mixing bowl, you'll have the combination for a memorable weekend with your friends! 

We have a girls weekend coming up to wave goodbye to my bestie on her new adventure... we're off to London too! Make sure you check back and see what we got up to! 

Annie
xoxo

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Comfy Casual

Today has been hot!  I've been running about London all day and feeling the heat... the underground is not nice in this weather that's for sure.  The heat aside, I've been getting ready to head to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.  I'm quite excited actually as I never got tickets for the Olympics and with the CWG I'm going to be watching two of the races!
I've found it quite hard to know what to wear on a day to day basis in the office, so this is one of my more casual looks I chose last week.  We have a very 'hot' office so to keep as cool as possible whilst it's so muggy is always my top priority, which is why I've gone for my blue Protest trousers because they are linen. 
I've added a flash of coral nail polish to keep the look fun - and well stop it from being too boring!  That is also the same reason I've added my Next necklace, which is one of those items of jewellery I've been dying to use but never sure what to put it with.  
I do love flip flops in the summer so I'll have about 6 pairs on rotation, but this week the two I've been using are my Impanenas and my Protest ones.  I do love the fact they are both slightly different but equally as comfortable.
What I'm wearing
Top - F&F Crepe Vest - £12.00
Trousers - Protest Zion B Pants - £41.99
Flip Flops 1 - Protest Stamp Slaps - £9.99
Flip Flops 2 - Ipanema Bright Black Flipflops - £12.99
Bag - Fossil Crossbody bag - £59.00
Necklace -Next blue necklace - £12.00

You know when an outfit is comfortable you feel relaxed and that's just what this look is all about - feeling good in what you're wearing.

What have you got coming up this weekend then?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Gin and Tonic Cupcakes

One of my lovely friends was having a birthday party that me and the boy were invited to. With any kind of party I always like to make an effort and take bits over, whether that be sausage rolls, jelly or maybe even a pudding I always like to take something. 

This time my genius boy said I should make something other than a birthday cake, so I had a hunt and decided to test out making gin and tonic cupcakes.

I'm not going to lie I bloody love gin.  Gin is my drink.  I couldn't wait to make/eat these bad boys and they were going to be perfect for this party.  

I hunted and hunted the internet for what I thought was the best recipe and found some amazing ones.  I've taken the various cake gurus recipe and adapted... Mainly more gin is added. 


What I used:

The cakes
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 175g Caster sugar - preferably golden
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla paste
  • 3 tbsp tonic water
  • 2tbsp Beefeater gin
  • Zest of 1 lime
 
The Icing
  • 250g unsalted butter softened
  • 500g icing sugar
  • Sprinkles for the top
  • Lime juice
  • 4tbsp (but maybe add more if needed) Beefeater gin 
Optional limes chopped up for decoration.... A suggestion was those sweetie lime so you can eat them too! 

How to do it... 
Firstly get the oven on and preheat to around 180c but a bit lower for a fan. Get your favourite cupcake cases and pop them into the cake tray.  I used a muffin try to make sure there was substantial amount.
Grab a large bowl (like my lovely one from TK maxx... which was a a £10 bargain!) then sift in together the baking powder and flour but don't do anything with it...just yet!

If you have the benefit of an eclectric mixer then blend together the sugar and butter until its all creamy and fluffy.  Once it's looking good slowly add the eggs but make sure you mix well!  Add the flour mixture then slowly stir in tonic water.  To make these a bit healthier (if possible) use slim line tonic.

  Once everything has been mixed together start filling the cases and bake for 25 minutes.  Once you remove the cakes just leave to cool for about 15-20 minutes before starting decoration.

You can't have a cupcakes with delicious icing... butter icing!
For the icing, just mix the soft butter and icing sugar together until deliciously creamy (try to resist eating it). Then blend the remaining gin (throw a little more though as it helps secure the flavour) to the mixture.  Finally as your cakes are nice and cool put a healthy amount of icing on top, then add some sprinkles and a lovely wedge of lime...and ta-da gin and tonic cupcakes! 


What do you think? For an adult tea party they are fantastic! Everyone seemed to really enjoy them! 

Annie 
Xoxo


Sunday, 13 July 2014

How to jazz up a jumpsuit

 Usually I'm not a massive fan of jumpsuits as I tend to feel restricted in them, and being brutely honest I sometimes think they can be very unflattering on certain shapes.  My whole opinion of them went out the window when I saw this simple strappy black on in F&F and just had to have it... as it was an absolute bargain  I decided to be daring and use it for a hen do I was going on.
What I'm wearing
Jumpsuit - F&F Wrap Jumpsuit - £20.00
Bag - Primark Monochrome Clutch - £8.00
Earrings - Topshop Freedom Earrings - £5.50

 As there are so many light and bright colours out at the moment I've simply kept everything simply but added bold statement shades.  The cute cropped jacket is actually from F&F too, I wore this at LFW but really think the pink sets this look of perfectly.  

As I say everything else is simple because the colours do the talking.  When you go on something like a hen do you are often mixed with many people you don't know, and you don't know what you're going to be doing which is why this look was ideal.  
My snazzy Office chunky heels came out to play again, because not only are they cool but when you don't know how far you need to walk... it's good to go for comfort and style.  
My earrings are my favourite purchase this week... a Topshop Freedom sale bargain.  I fell in love with the cute pastel colours and thought they'd look perfect with these items.
I adore this clutch I spotted in Primark last week.  I debated whether to get it but really liked the attention to detail and the fact it was monochrome.  Like many clutches you are always restricted with space so I've been using my brand new DKNY purse which is the perfect size.  I sometimes feel I tend to over load a purse or bag with junk if it's big enough to handle it, so when I got this new purse I decided I would have the needed cards and that's it - so far so good!  Anyways my fab new purse fits in perfectly with all my make up essentials for a night out. 

This jumpsuit could easily teamed with sandals for a more casual boho look for summer... may have to create that so watch this space!
xoxo

Henry Holland at Debenhams #HenryFest

Debenhams Henry Holland Press Where has the week gone? We are into July when it feels like only five minutes ago it was January! Anyway the other week I was invited by the Debenhams Press team to go along to a bloggers exclusive Henry Holland event called Henry Fest.

The evening was all about showing off Henry Holland's AW14 collection and the best thing was we could all meet Henry himself!  As you can imagine I was giddy with the concept of meeting one of my favourite designer personalities.

dream henry holland
henry aw14Henry Holland AW14
 As you can imagine the collection by Henry Holland exclusively for Debenhams was very creative.  Lots of colours, fabric mixtures, different finishes and just heaps of fun.
knitted fox gloves
Henry holland dog jumper
I totally fell in love this dog jumper pictured above.  I loved the idea of wear this with some leggings and boots for those chilly winter evenings. 
Henry Holland blog
Henryb Holland velvet shoes
The event was great as always like any Debenhams event and now instread of dreading the autumn days approaching, the #Henryfest made me realise it doesn't have to be glum... especially with Henry Holland's upcoming collection.

I'm sure I'll be reporting now... especially when I get my hands on that cute doggy jumper! 

Annie
xoxo

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Festival Ready Jewellery Wishlist

Festival season is in ful swing.  A time when sunglasses and wellies join together and when we switch regular shampoo for the dry variety.  It's here. 

I have been to my fair share of festivals over the years... Including (scarily) Glastonbury ten years ago! Each time I find it hard to pack due to the hit and miss British climate, but one thing I always do is take accessories.  I'm a firm believer that if I wear the same thirst or rock up in the same cut off denim shorts, by having a funky necklace or statement earrings - it makes the look totally unique. 

Below I've selected some key statement pieces to give you that boho hippy festival chic we all crave! 
Lots of browns with bold rustic tones, tassels, beading and mixing up textures. 


Festival Fun




What do you think? Some of the high street options really do knock the socks off designer, sometimes I can't even tell the difference.  Team these with a simple black vest, wellies and ripped shorts and you are the stylish festival goer! The bonus is that you don't have to lug loads around with you as of course it's litghter than packing for all the weather 'what ifs' 

What are your favourites from my selection? And what festivals will you be heading to? 

Annie
Xoxo

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