Bag ‘n’ Shoes: Modalu St Ives Grab Bag in Orange and Dune Imperia D Wedges in Natural

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I’ve got a real thing going on here for Modalu. I apologise, but it seems as though I’ve turned into a fan girl over night. (I blame Tatiana for everything…) But check out this gorgeous lock detail and tell me you don’t feel the same way?

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5 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Encore!

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Today’s door held a rather sophisticated and restrained orange: meet Encore!

5 Dec Encore Opening

Encore! is so new that I got an email (well timed, Ciate!) about its launch today, as part of the Dragonfly Collection (six bottles for £40 – viewable here.) Encore’s description reads: “This muted orange is perfect for wearing all-year-round as an alternative to a classic red.” You can purchase it as an individual bottle here. I definitely appreciate Ciate slipping in a brand new shade for the advent calendar – yet another reason to purchase one if you haven’t already!

5 Dec Encore Montage

At first I was a bit hesitant about this shade, as orange isn’t really my thing, but it grew on me, and by the end of the day I really appreciated its understated glamour. As a bonus, I wore it to Highclere Castle’s Christmas fair (where they film Downton Abbey), and I felt it was very appropriate given its vintage vibe – although Lady Mary would probably have been shocked!

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3 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Hopscotch

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You are now witness to my confession – I actually broke this colour out in October for Halloween, before I bought some full sized orange nail varnish. I regret nothing! Ciate’s site describes it as: “As refreshing as a tall glass of fizzy orange soda with a swirly straw, this delicious bright pop shade is colour blocking heaven and a huge dose of colour for happy fingers and toes.” You can purchase a bottle here.

3 Dec Hopscotch Opening

Hopscotch is the perfect Halloween orange – cheery, bright and peppy! I also love it with a matte top coat too!

3 Dec Hopscotch montage

You probably can’t quite see in the image, but on the lower left I have left the tips with a shiny finish… A bit subtle for my iPhone camera! I really like the simple matte look of this colour – I think it really highlights the beauty of this orange shade.

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Halloween at Fortnum and Mason

F&M have really knocked it out of the park with their seasonal selections this year. At the beginning of the month, I headed to London with my husband for my birthday and had a blast taking a look at both the Halloween and Christmas displays at the department store. I’ll save the Christmas pics for now, but I thought I’d share these spooky visual treats with you in celebration of Halloween tomorrow!

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There will definitely be some lucky trick or treaters in London tomorrow if these goodies are anything to go by! You can order online at http://www.fortnumandmason.com/, or pop into the store at 181 Piccadilly. If you’ve never been, you really should visit this most beautiful and historic department store – and if you’re already a regular, I hope I’ve induced you to pop in again to see their amazing seasonal displays!

Personally, I am lusting over that lollipop, those skulls, and those darling little hampers. I’ve always wanted a F&M hamper, and those ones with the orange ribbons are just too adorable!

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Birthday sundae outfit

On Monday last week my husband’s lovely co-workers organised a surprise trip for him to go to a local ice-cream parlour. I, of course, was a major co-conspirator, so I had to pop along as well! Here’s my outfit!

UntitledSunglasses, French Connection / orange, blue, white and silver textured jacket, Next / orange geo top, Next / jeans, Gap / red satchel, Accessorize / cat shoes, eBay

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If I’ve only learnt one thing recently fashion-wise, it’s the importance of a range of cute blazers when it comes to pepping up an outfit. I love the colours in this, and multi-coloured items make it so easy to match accessories, etc. I got this in the sale at Next, after having stalked it at full price for some time – and it was the last one left at half price. Bargain!

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They also match these orange-red cat flats I bought from eBay, which are sadly starting to show their wear, but I still love them. When I bought them, I had no idea they were copies of the Charlotte Olympia Kitty flats, but in all honesty I prefer the heel height on mine – which is to say, completely flat. Of course, if I win the lottery I will purchase the originals immediately! Also, please excuse the scratches on my foot – I was attacked by a bush on my parents’ driveway recently! At least it’s not as noticeable as what’s happened to my hand…

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Nope, no idea why I have cuts all over it, other than I was doing *a lot* of party prep and being incredibly careless. Good job I’m not a hand model! But ignore the cuts, check out the cute Dog Zodiac bracelet my husband bought me from Mulberry in the sale!

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Dogs are my favourite animal, and I was born in the year of the dog, so of course, I had to have this… It was fate! And, it came in its own dustbag, gift box and lovely Mulberry bag, too – all for the bargain price of £20!

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I’ve been wearing it every day since – I usually hate bracelets and watches because of the constant feeling of something being on my wrist, or slipping around, but this is so delicate you hardly know it’s there.

18 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Candyshop

Dec 18 Mini Mani Month Candyshop
18 Dec Ciate Mini Mani Month Candyshop
Inside Candyshop bottle

Yay, another bottle of Caviar Pearls! This mix is called Candyshop – fairly appropriate, I think!

Mini Mani Month Ciate Pearls bottle

This is an amazing mix of sweet colours – hot pink, light navy blue, and orange!

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So Christmassy – it ties really well into the Russian Christmas theme I’ve seen in some of the shops this season, based on the  amazing colours of the famous Onion Domes seen on Eastern European churches.

I had no end of trouble trying to capture the beauty of these colours in the dull overcast light of a miserable Tuesday…

Ciate pearls on tree

This one is probably the best reflection of these vibrant colours – lit by the fairy lights of my Christmas tree, appropriately enough!

14 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Speed Dial

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Today’s post is a bit late because I was on deadline – ugh! Anyway, I still managed to find time to get the snaps in during daylight, so there’s that! The shade is called Speed Dial, and it’s a deep coral pink – although the website describes it as orange…

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It definitely doesn’t look like the colour on Ciate’s site, where the description reads: “An extremely juicy orange. Wear two coats to induce a sunny smile every time you catch a glimpse of your nails.”

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It’s definitely a vibrant shade – a bit of sunshine in December, maybe? Not something I’d pick myself, but it looked better on my nails than in the bottle… What did you think – was your shade as pink hued as mine?

Carrot and onion rice

This recipe is a pretty good ‘un, in my opinion (I know, I know, who asked me?). Not only does it taste good, but it’s got veggies in it and it’s a way of naturally colouring your food without using chemicals. Now, there’s no way anyone could suggest I’m not up for dying food whenever I get the opportunity, but somehow it seems wrong to dye savoury food. Don’t know why! When you introduce sugar, all the bets are off…

Also, once you’ve softened your veggies, you bung the whole lot into rice cooker and let it cook. Easy! Obviously, you don’t have to eat this in a bento – it makes a great addition to a hot meal, too.

I really like this bento box – I have a thing for single tiered boxes. I also love Animal Crossing. I don’t know if the box is still available, but I bought it from J-List. (If you click that link, you’ll be taken to the J-List site, so if you buy anything, it earns me pennies to buy new bento stuff! Thank you!)

Teriyaki burger and carrot and onion rice

Recipe for carrot and onion rice

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups raw rice
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ onion
  • Butter
  • Splash soy sauce
  • Seasoning

METHOD

  • Process the onion and carrot until they are finely chopped, then sauté in butter until softened – but not browned. This will take around five minutes. Season and add the soy sauce.
  • Add to a rice cooker with washed rice and an equal amount of water, and cook as normal.

Halloween fondant pumpkin tutorial

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to have a go at making some cute little pumpkins to go on top of Halloween cupcakes.

Fondant pumpkins

These are easy to make and don’t require any equipment beyond fondant, orange dye and toothpicks. (And green and brown dye if you want to make stalks, leaves and vines.)

Equipment

If you have orange fondant, well, you’re one step ahead… Hurrah! If you want them to be hard, you should make them a couple of weeks before when you need them, so you can sit them in a cool, dark place to set.

Fondant pumpkins, step one

First of all, roll your fondant into a small ball, then squash it down so it makes an oval. This will give it a much more interesting shape than a plain old sphere.

Fondant pumpkins, step two

Now it’s time to use your specialist equipment. First of all, pierce the centre to mark it. Then, rolling the toothpick, create a dimple in the centre of your ball.

Fondant pumpkins, step three

There you go – now you’ll have what looks like an orange doughnut gone wrong.

Fondant pumpkins, step four

Now, use your toothpick to create lines from the centre down the edge of your pumpkin, using a rocking motion. I do this by doing the four compass points, then filling in the spaces in between.

Fondant pumpkins, step five

Like so! With the heat of your fingers, your pumpkin might get a little floppy. You can fix this by placing it in the fridge at any point if it starts getting hard to handle. Don’t be a pushover for a vegetable made of sugar.

Fondant pumpkins, step six

That’s pretty much it! You can add a stalk (I’ve seen people use cloves for this, but obviously they’re not really edible like that) or even make a curly vine from green fondant curled around a matchstick.

Too cute to eat? Never!

A Halloween cupcake preview…

Over the weekend, I’ve acquired some food colouring paste, numerous sprinkles and cupcake cases, and an obscene amount of butter, sugar and eggs. I’ve also learnt how to mould fondant into mini pumpkins (and, more importantly, found out what fondant is and where to buy it from). All of this is for a good cause…

Halloween cupcakes

More cupcakey Halloweeny goodness when it’s actually October… I just couldn’t resist posting these babies now!