Sunday, 31 July 2011

Black Suede Disco Ball

Another day, another nail tutorial try out from Makeup Savvy.

This was super easy, though time consuming to do - you're never going to be able to do this neatly which is a plus in that you don't have to have a steady hand and a negative because it takes an age to clean up between each coat. But boy is it worth it for the finished result.

The polishes I used where Revlon's Grey Suede, Miss Sporty's Black and Rimmel's Disco Ball (a mix of purple, blue, silver and holographic glitter).

You'll also need a make-up sponge for the stippling here for the original tutorial.

The original nails had a much greater volume of glitter but unfortunately I didn't have OPI to hand and Rimmel was the only glitter polish I could find on short notice.

The stippling is also something I will definitely be playing around with for other nails soon but for now...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Recipe: Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

When you need warming up or a little home comfort there's nothing better than a big bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup...I'm pretty certain it should have 'food of the gods' classification. There's no exact science to this recipe, the beauty of it being you just chuck everything in a pan and let it simmer. Serve with warm bread or crispy vegetable spring rolls.

4 spring onions
3 chicken stock cubes
2 carrots
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 chicken breast
1 small red pepper
1 small can sweetcorn
Rice noodles
Salt & pepper

RECIPE: (makes two large bowls)

1. In a large pan place the stock cubes, soya sauce, sesame oil, a little salt and plenty of pepper. Fill 3/4 full with boiling water and simmer on a low-medium heat

2. Top and tail the carrots, cut in to quarters length ways then chop in to chunks and add to the pot

3. De-seed the pepper and chop in to small chunks and add to the pot as well

4. Slice the chicken breast in to strips and cut into mouth size pieces and add to the stock

5. Add the drained can of sweetcorn

6. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes

7.Slice the spring onions (include as much of the green stalk as possible) and break up two big handfuls of noodles (you can use wide or thin rice noodles), add to the pot, stir and leave for about 5 minutes until the noodles are cooked (less time if using thin noodles)

8. Before serving taste the stock to check for seasoning and then enjoy!

Vintage At Vintage

As of yesterday The Tiny Atelier handmade with vintage jewellery is available to purchase from Vintage Cafe in Hull!

The back room is host to a monthly rotation of local artists, photographers, crafters and makers and for the next for weeks my frames filled with charm necklaces, earrings, rings and brooches will be there...

Plus this Wednesday the cafe is hosting a Cake & Couture evening - £2.50 a ticket with a free drink and something yummy to eat. I'll be there selling everything on the wall plus a few other pieces alongside handmade and vintage clothing and some amazing photography!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Edible Gardening In All Its Forms

While I'm not by any stretch of the imagination what you would call green fingered I do like fresh herbs when I'm cooking (I've also started making my own flavoured oils but more on that another time). After managing to bring a forlorn, reduced section basil plant back to life with a new pot and some sunshine I decided to actually try the whole process from scratch by planting some parsley seeds. Needless to say I buggered it up to begin with and the boy had to remove some of the too heavy layer of soil and placed over the top but they seem to be doing OK so far...

Flourishing little basil plant originally purchased for 39p from Tesco

Parsley sprouts watched over by a little gnome 

Both of the planters have their own terracotta engraved name tags which we found dumped in the back garden when we first moved in.

Finally I had to show off something my mum just made. She makes cakes, cupcakes and cake pops for a living and was asked by a friend of mine to do some cupcakes and pops with a gardening theme...

Vanilla sponge and frosting with sunflower, carrots, gardening gloves, seed packet, rose and watering can with pumpkin (all made by hand)

Ladybird, bumblebee and strawberry vanilla cakepops

Neither A High Nor A Low

As promised here's what I picked up yesterday...

Midi skirt!

So I did say I was looking for a black one over any other colour but when it's made of jersey and priced at 75p you can't really say no can you?

[worn with TS Boutique vest, 3 quid battered belt and Casio watch]

T & D[IY]

How awesome is this tea service? This is the end result of a tutorial from re-nest that I cannot wait to try. I already have a cute little blue and white thrifted tea service and am scouring ebay for a black porcelain paint pen with an idea in mind that will hopefully end up in the shop (which will, fingers crossed, be live come the middle of august).

A Waterfall Of Ruffles

Received my bargain sale curtains from UO today (down from £60 to £20!). I've wanted these forever so was really excited when they went down in price. Don't actually have any rails to hang them from yet so this website photo will do for now...

Doing The High End Blend

A selection of designer and high street today...(apologies for the frankly crappy photo but it would appear these shorts look better in person than on camera and I'll be damned if I'm going to post a picture of me on here looking like I'm wearing something two sizes too small)...

shorts...twenty8twelve by s.miller/vest...Cheap Monday/worn with...Marc by Marc Jacobs studded leather wrap bracelet, beige suede and peace sign bracelet from portobello and Zara black leather sandals

You will not believe what I picked up from my favourite thrifting haunt today?!?! I'll show you all tommorow but for now it's time for bed.

Friday, 22 July 2011

A Messy Manicure

A friend of mine (aka best pal in the whole wide world) recently turned my on to the beauty blog Makeup Savvy - and inevitably I became addicted and sat and scrolled through all of the nail art tutorials. There's a whole ream of fashion inspired styles and ones you've probably seen before, the beauty here is that the process has been massively simplified and often using makeup products you'll probably already have rather than fancy manicure and nail art ones - think gel pens, glitter eyeliner and Barry M Dazzle Dust.

It was the later used in a manicure that caught my eye partly because the effect was so striking but also because I had the exact same colours used in the tutorial - Dust in Brass and Beauty UK polish (from Superdrug) in Smoky Lilac. For anyone trying this I would warn that the whole process is very messy...cover the surrounding area with newspaper, don't do it anywhere near a carpet and have face wipes at the ready. However, despite the mess, I love the finished nail and the whole thing only took about 15 minutes including drying time. Go to Makeup Savvy for the Dazzle Dust Manicure instructions and have a look at the rest of the site.

As for my next forays in to nail art...I've found a handful that I'll be duping over the next few weeks via Pinterest:

Gold Chanel logos on jade nails

Mint pinky and index with pillar box red thumb, 
 ring and middle

Primary colours

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a break from wallpaper stripping (note to first time buyers: you wouldn't think to check skirting boards to make sure the previous owners haven't used silicone sealant to finish off the wallpaper but do!) I decided to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies which are too yum not to share...

First up, ingredients - this recipe uses really simple ingredients most of which you will probably already have even if you're only an occasional baker...

350g plain flour
220g dark brown soft sugar
110g butter (soft, cubed)
100g plain chocolate
50g golden granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2tsp vanilla essence/extract
1/4 tsp salt

RECIPE: (makes 15 large cookies)

1. Mix together the sugars, vanilla and butter. I start with a wooden spoon until the butter is starting to cream with the sugar then use an electric whisk on its lowest setting to finish

2. Add the egg and continue to combine with the electric whisk. The batter make look like its curdling but don't worry, it will all come together

3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this two tablespoons at a time to your batter and continue whisking. When all of the ingredients are mixed you will be left with a slightly wet dough

4. I prefer to break up a chocolate bar rather than using ready made chips. I use plain chocolate for this recipe as I think its slight bitterness works well with the sweet base but you can use whichever you prefer. I first break the chocolate up into a sandwich bag, wrap it in a tea towel then give it a few hits with a rolling pin. For any pieces that are still too big I just carefully chop them with a sharp knife

5. Add the chocolate to the batter, mixing with a wooden spoon until all the pieces are evenly distributed

6. Line a baking sheet or tray with baking parchment (foil will work as well) and place tablespoon size blobs 2" apart on to the sheet - I use a plastic tablespoon measure as my scoop and find that a standard baking tray will take 6 cookie blobs

7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190c for 10-12 minutes until they are golden. The cookies will spread out and flatten by themselves. If your cookies do bond together while cooking don't worry, simply run a knife though to separate them as soon as they come out of the oven

8. Leave the cookies on the tray for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. These can be eaten warm or cold and stored in an airtight container

If you are only adding one 'flavour' ingredient (eg chocolate, hazelnuts, raisins) then this base recipe is a great one to use. The dough would also work really well for cookie dough ice cream (must try that soon)!

EDIT: Cupcakes & Cashmere recommends sprinkling chocolate chip cookies with ground sea salt (do this when they're fresh from the oven)...not to everyones taste but I think it's delicious.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Somewhere In The Middle

Despite the fact the midi skirt has been in fashion for many months I'm still struggling to find the perfect one. I have two polka dot print versions - one a very quick DIY from a dress and the other from Topshop (which I've stopped wearing due to the fact the deep waistband always flips itself over). I'm looking for something in black or grey - however much I love the more nude versions I know they'll be see through and I want something I can wear with ease. Loving the paperbag style from Topshop (however there's no black/grey option on the website and £38 is a hell of a lot more than I wanted to pay)...
So for the time being I shall keep on dreaming and perusing inspiration pics for how I'll wear mine if I ever manage to find it...

Wardrobe Rehab: Denim To Do, Denim To Don't

As part of my wardrobe rehab programme I decided the first step was a massive denim cull. To be fair this was pretty easy as I live and die in three pairs of jeans but it was surprising how much denim I'd accrued but didn't wear.

As for the keepers, you'll have seen them make a couple of appearances in outfit posts recently. Skinny fit with a proper high waist, Topshop's Kristen jeans have made it into my new more organised capsule wardrobe. Because I found a style that fit and suited I did that thing that I would always laugh at the women in Elle's Closet Confidential for...that's right, I bought them in all three available colours!

Over the years I've bought a hell of a lot of denim in various styles and washes from Topshop but inevitably I've always ended up disappointed...boyfriend, ankle grazer, skinny, super skinny - there was always something just a little bit 'not quite right'. So I'm a little bit heartbroken that TS have stopped making these exact Kristens, though an updated version is still available here I've tried them and the fit isn't as good in my opinion. I'm even sadder to say that my beloved black version got a great big rip in the thigh yesterday while having lunch alfresco...I haven't yet decided whether to carefully sew the tear up, try some safety pins inspired by the DIYs in my previous post or rip them all over (gulp!)...
Topshop also do a high waisted denim short which is basically the shorter sister of my favourites but since I'm not much of a jeans shorts wearer I was never tempted to splurge the £32. But I couldn't resist picking up a practically unworn pair in indigo today from Oxfam when I saw they where priced at just £2.99.

So, that's the denim section of my new wardrobe step is another staple - T-Shirts (this will take a looooooot longer).

Monday, 11 July 2011

Double DIY: Chanel Perfume Bottle

I own four scents but two that I would describe as being 'signature' - Thierry Mugler's Alien and Coco Chanel (my other two currents are Marc Jacobs Lola and YSL Parisienne). When it comes to perfume I love the containers as much as what they hold so when one is finished I keep it, only getting rid if I replace the perfume with a new bottle of the same. A couple days ago I realised I had managed to accrue two empty bottles on top of the one I am working my way through. It kinda seemed a shame to just put them in the bin...that big cut glass stopper was calling to me specifically.

So after a lot of twisting (and, I'll admit, tantrum throwing in frustration and my boyfriend taking over) the lid and its little plastic 'cuff' where separated (FYI my bf ended up having to use a butter knife).


The first DIY I wanted to go for was turning the 'cuff' in to a thumb ring. Be prepared for spending a lot of time cleaning glue remnants from it once you've finished!

Obviously I didn't want to cover the black and gold band or the interlocking C's so my chosen decoration had to be focused on the top clear plastic lip. I dug out some lightweight vintage gold toned chain and measured it around the circumference to work out the correct length. I was lucky enough that the ends just overlapped so I opened up one end link, liberally applied glue (I used Tesco's All Purpose...very similar to E6000!) then stuck down the chain. After a few seconds of letting the glue cure I was able to push the open link around the other end of the chain and nip it closed , forming a perfect fitting circle of chain on my ring.

From here onwards it was slightly trial and error as I figured out what looked good and what would not make the ring too chunky. In the end I settled for using some vintage diamante studs which I wedged inside every other link using the same glue to secure. I then sat patiently and picked off any excess, visible glue with a pin (time consuming but works well as chemicals tend to tarnish).

And that's it, one night, one Chanel thumb ring...

[chipped up manicure using Topshop's Milkshake]

And now for the double part of the DIY - remember the glass perfume top? Well turn it upside down and pop a tapered candle inside (you may need to add a little melted wax to the bottom first) for a simple, chic candle holder. Several of these in different sizes with different coloured candles would look amazing!


Click here for my previous posts on Coco inspired DIYs. Feel free to post links in the comments to your own Chanel makes...

Friday, 8 July 2011

Back To Basics

A very belated outfit post from a couple days ago...

Basics with a twist - Topshop hi-waisted skinny jeans in indigo and slouchy grey marl tee.

The t-shirt has an attached necklace made up of grosgrain ribbon and plastic rhinestones. Today I flipped it so the decoration hung at the back and I definitely prefer wearing it this way.

Worn with my super soft chocolate leather brogues - also from Topshop and picked up in the sale for a mere fiver!

Smells Sweet, Tastes Sweeter

Received these a couple of days ago from Lexi of Faith Trust & Pixie Dust - not only are they a beautiful display of carnations and gerbera but she also worked three candy lollipops in there too!

Summer Of Love

We can certainly say that since the nuptials of our own Prince William the world has caught wedding fever. Since then we've seen a wealth of the rich and famous tie the knot - first Lily Allen, then Kate Moss, Abbey Clancy, Prince Albert of Monaco II and Rachel Weisz & Daniel Craig (though theirs was top secret with just four guests).

In the UK over the last few weeks the wedding buzz has been all about Allen and Moss with a stream of unanswered questions about what the girls would be wearing on their big days...Would Lily be donning Chanel couture by 'Uncle' Karl? Would Kate stand by her old friend Galliano and have him design her dress? And with both weddings taking place in sleepy Cotswold's villages what would the comparisons be?

BRIDE: Lily Allen
GROOM: Sam Cooper
BRIDESMAIDS: Three adult (in peach satin slips), three children (in lace) - including long time friend Miquita Oliver
CHURCH: St James' in the Cotswold's village of Cranham 

DRESS: Parisian designer Delphine Manivet created the vintage inspired dress - full length lace with bracelet sleeves, sweetheart neckline and 1920s style embellished veil. Lily also wore custom made Rupert Sanderson peep toe platforms

FLOWERS: Cream, peach and baby blue hydrangeas and peonies
GUESTS: Well known siblings Alfie Allen and Sarah Owen, hell raiser father Keith Allen and comedian Harry Enfield
DRAMA: In the run up to the wedding it was all about who was designing the dress, as rumours abound that Karl Lagerfeld was creating a Chanel piece for the big day (pictures have since surfaced of Lily at Chanel having a fitting so it is possible she wore Karl's gown in the evening). On the day -  Sam announced to guests at the reception that they would be expecting a child in 5 months time!

BRIDE: Kate Moss
GROOM: Jamie Hince (wearing YSL)
BRIDESMAIDS: Trish Simonon (in Erdem) and Jess Hallett (in Stella) plus 15 bridesmaids - including Kate's daughter Lila, half sister Charlotte, Sadie Frost's daughter Iris and Ella Richards, granddaughter of Rolling Stone Keith
CHURCH: St Peter's in the Cotswold's village of Southrop
DRESS: A John Galliano creation - again heavily '20s inspired, with a nod to Kate's Heroine Daisy Buchanan of Great Gatsby in the veil - floor length, bias cut, sheer and heavily embellished with embroidery and crystals - plus Manolo Blahnik's with blue lining
FLOWERS: Cream and pink roses for the bride while the bridesmaids wore fresh flower daisy chain headbands
GUESTS: A roll call of everyone cool and Rock 'n' Roll - Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Alison Mosshart, Anna Wintour, Anita Pallenberg, Mark Ronson, Marc Jacobs, Paul McCartney, Philip Green, Naomi Campbell, Christian Louboutin, Christy Turlington, George Michael, Grace Jones...... 
DRAMA:The biggest news about the big day was that la Moss had closed off roads around the church for the three day extravaganza - including performances from Shirley Bassey, Snoop Dogg, Beth Ditto and Iggy Pop! Moss and Hince also had photographer du jour Terry Richardson snapping paparazzi style at the reception. Though he has had to remove the pictures from his own site (apparently due to a clash with an exclusive Vogue deal with Mario Testino to create images from the event) there are still a few that have slipped through the net and are floating around...