Monday, December 31

New Years Styling

New Years Eve sneaks up pretty quickly, once Christmas is over (if you're anything like me) you go into hibernation mode; not having a care in the world, apart for your next movie you're going to watch snuggled up under a blanket.
I personally find New Years Eve preparation quite stressful, I always end up having two outfits to choose from.
The actual outfit that you decide to wear (like any other event) should coincide with the dress code, depending upon whether it is formal, a party with friends or a family gathering. This is the difficult part, distinguishing between the socially acceptable and unacceptable outfits.
Thus, I have two dresses which I am pondering over to wear for New Years Eve, I just can't bring myself to decide.
 
A Pop of Red
 



{I love the fitting of this dress, it is complementary as it cinches in at the waist, with lace detailing and then has a skater styled skirt. An easy dress to dance in and very comfortable.}
 {Above in the compilation of photographs, I am wearing a French Connection red dress, a Kurt Geiger clutch and Zara pumps.}

Lust-worthy Lace



 {I love the formfitting style of this dress and the unusual detailing of the lace and the silhouette which it creates.}
 {The gold heel really gives this outfit and shoe a festive feel.}
{Due to the style of the upper back of the dress, I would advise to keep this visible, by putting your hair up.}
{This outfit: Miss Selfridge Lace dress, Mulberry clutch and Topshop platform high heels} 
 
I just cannot decide which one to wear between the two...

Sunday, December 30

The Dark Night

Due to mine, my friends' and family's obsession with the Batman Trilogy, I and my brother decided to host a Dark (K)Night. This was an opportunity to let our obsession with the films run wild and dress up as our favourite character. As we are hard-core fans, we were determined to watch all three in one evening, sat in our costumes for the whole duration.
My personal favourite of the three films is the second, the storyline is captivating and The Joker is just the best villain.
 {Here I am, dressed as The Dark Knight, I made the mask with my brother from cardboard as I didn't plan ahead and buy a replica. This outfit was so comfy for a marathon, of course I had to take the mask off - although this meant revealing Batman's identity!!}
{My brother, M, dressed as the notorious Bane, also making his mask from cardboard. Not too shabby.}
 {D (on the left) went as the Scarecrow and C dressed up as Harley Quinn, The Joker's girlfriend in the original comics.}
{Remaking the scene from The Dark Knight Rises, when Bane brakes Batman.}
 {A greatly anticipated Christmas present, the trilogy on Blu-ray.}
{Fitting in with a film screening night, we decided it was appropriate to order a Dominos pizza. It refuelled us for the rest of the films to come.}
{Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, Batman and Bane.}

Saturday, December 29

This Week

{B and I played Monopoly for hours, it's such an addictive game.}
 
This week has been extremely busy, cannot believe how quick Christmas shot past. It has been lovely seeing family and friends, being able to totally relax. It's always a novelty around Christmas time to play board games and watch films, Christmas is the ultimate period to procrastinate and eat up all of the mince pies, Christmas cake and pudding. I have been good this year however as I have managed to resist from overeating unhealthy foods and eating in moderation. There's nothing worse than adding unwanted pounds! Thankfully Christmas is not over yet and nor are the celebrations, this year has definitely flown by.
 {A Christmas decoration of the Statue of Liberty from New York City.}
{Here is the masterpiece that was Christmas dinner, just looking at it makes my stomach rumble!}
 {Getting toasty by the log burner.}
{Dexter resting from all of the Christmas excitement, he had a Christmas dinner too.}


Friday, December 28

Fresh Air

Due to being inside for most of the Christmas period, I and B's family decided to go out for a long walk to get some fresh air, stretch our legs and clear our Christmas pudding heads.
The weather was on our side and held off the rain for the whole duration of the walk.
So we got the dogs, Dexter and Gwen, and hiked around Winter Hill, then we stopped off for a Frederick's ice cream, I tried out the Champagne Sorbet which was delightful.
 {The view was scenic, yet it was unexpectedly cold at the peak of the hill.} {Dexter being a playful pup.} {Another hiker started to do hand stands, it was quite amusing.}

{A dramatic building on the edge of Winter Hill - unfortunately it is all bordered up. Apparently it was once a pigeon house, not too shabby for pigeons!}

Thursday, December 27

Crème Brûlée


In all honesty, this was the first time that I had ever made Crème Brûlée, so I fortunately got help from my boyfriend, B who is very skilled in this department ('this department' meaning cooking!).
It was a cold evening so we decided to stay in and cook ourselves up a treat, thus Crème Brule was on the menu.
Whenever I have a meal out, I always opt for a Crème Brûlée for desert, I'm like an expert on this bad boys, trust me!
 So here are the instructions on how to cook up these ramekins of delight.
Ingredients:
500ml/18fl oz double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g/4 oz caster sugar (plus more for the topping)
6 free range egg yolks
How-To:
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
Pour the cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream. As we didn't have any vanilla pods, we used vanilla flavouring, which does not produce the same taste, but is helpful in times of crisis! I would advise to put as much vanilla flavouring you want to put into it, the more you like vanilla, the more you pour in.
Chop the empty pod into small pieces, and add them to the cream.
Bring the cream to boiling point, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for five minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks together in a large heatproof bowl until pale and fluffy.
Bring the cream back to boiling point. Pour it over the egg mixture, whisking continuously until thickened - this indicates that the eggs have begun to cook slightly.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug, and then use this to fill six ramekins to about two-thirds full.
Place the ramekins into a large roasting tray and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up their outsides. (This is called a bain-marie.)
Place the bain-marie onto the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, it is usually advised to cook for 40-45 minutes, but ours were cooked to perfection by 15 minutes. Or you can test whether the custards are set by wobbling the ramekin and waiting for a wobble in the middle.
Remove the ramekins from the water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Chill until needed. We left ours in the fridge for 2 whole days, this allowed the Crème Brûlée to set.
When ready to serve, sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar evenly over the surface of each crème brûlée, then caramelise with a chefs' blow-torch.
Try not to be mucky pups like us and get it all over the hob!
 
This was most certainly the most fun part of the whole process, using the chef's blow-tourch to caramelise. Mmmm yum.

Tuesday, December 25

Ho Ho Ho

Merry Christmas! I wish you all a peaceful, happy Christmas. Oh, and that Santa got you everything you wished for!
Here are a few snaps of my Christmas so far...
 {A candlelit ornament we have on our fireplace. Wish there was snow on my rooftop today!}
 {Me at the Christmas dinner, celebrating with a glass of Sherry.}
 {Christmas candle}
{The camera I had been waiting for, the photos above were taken using this Nikon D3100.}


Monday, December 24

Nostalgia

The sequel to The Snowman which aired tonight really sparked a festive feel inside of me. The Snowman and The Snowdog was an emotional half an hour story which played on my childhood memories of the first story. This story is about the same young boy, whose dog dies and when it starts to snow he decides to rebuild his old friend, the snowman and a snowdog to remind him of his recently deceased dog. The trio go travelling together one winter night, by flight of course, and have a sledging/skiing competition. Then when they return something magical happens to one of the snow creatures (watch the rest to discover what happens)! The first time I saw The Snowman was when I was 3 so memories came flooding back. A great British classic.


Saturday, December 22

This Week

{This photo never fails to amuse me. After numerous attempts to try and capture the beauty of this fish, I finally got the shot I was patiently waiting for. The colours are so bright, definitely a must have fish if you have an aquarium.}
 
This week has been extremely relaxing, I have been off from University for a week with my boyfriend, B who has also been on his Christmas break from joinery. Due to our busy schedules we hardly see each other in the day times and it has been lovely to relax and laze around. We have been catching up with keeping fit, going to the gym daily and went Christmas shopping at the Trafford Centre. I cannot wait until Christmas, to spend time with my family and friends, relaxing even more!
{My room is almost completed, this light from Laura Ashley is so bright, the brightness comes across in the photograph.}
{My cousin, Charlotte came over to stay earlier in the week, it was lovely to catch up and chill out. We both procrastinated the whole evening in which I did something productive, set up a sparkling new tumblr account.}
{B and I spent one evening relaxing with a bottle of wine, candles and Beyoncé 4.}
{Looking remarkably fresh and relaxed after such a sleepy, restful week.}