30 Nov 2012

December Days

Ringing in December (and also the weekend), I am sharing a few wonderful ideas for Christmas decorations with you. As mentioned previously, the whole period of Advent is my favourite time of year and although it is not as traditional and decorative in the UK as it is in Germany, I don't want to miss out on anything just because I moved to another here. This means the upcoming weekend will be dedicated to decorating the house all Christmasy and pretty. All pictures and sources can be found here.

29 Nov 2012

Quilted Sleeves

Zara Coat - Topshop Scarf and Hat - Esprit Patent Brogues

A little while ago I told you that I got a new winter coat from Zara and promised to put some pictures on the blog. I have now had the coat for almost a month, I'm very happy with it and have been getting loads of compliments for it. At first, I was a little worried that the quilted stitching on the sleeves would come off really quickly but so far nothing happened and I have only seen 1 other person wearing it (other than this Zara Coat which I am seeing everywhere). Although the wool is quite thin and light, I have not been cold yet and the leather sleeves feel very soft and comfortable.

28 Nov 2012

Counting the Days

Not long now and it is finally here: December 1st. Advent is my absolute favourite time of the year and you will be getting a lot of Christmas related blog posts from me for the next few weeks (I hope you don't mind). I love the season's bakery, decorations, smells and festive moods. Since I was a little child, my Mum has (hand-) made Advent Calendars for me and my brothers every single year and since Joe got one for me this year - see here - I will be making one for him, too. Above is my inspiration (links and references can be found on my Winter Pinterest Board) and the actual making-of will follow next week.

27 Nov 2012

Blueberry Pancakes

This weekend I made blueberry pancakes for Sunday brunch. Sometimes you just don't get up until well beyond noon and think you need something a bit more substantial than cereal so a blueberry pancake stack with syrup and whipped cream is just perfect. 

Ingredients: 250g all-purpose flour (sifted), 2 ½ tsp baking powder, 3 tbs granulated sugar, ½ tsp salt, 2 medium eggs, 350ml milk, 25g butter (melted), 250g blueberries, vegetable oil

Stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a different bowl, mix together the milk and eggs, add this mixture and the melted butter to the flour mixture and stir well. If the batter is still quite thick, add a little extra milk. If you don't have a special pancake griddle (I don't), simply use a small pan and grease it with a little bit of vegetable oil; I like using a brush to just brush some oil onto the pan's surface instead of oiling it straight from the bottle. Contrary to crêpes which are thin and large, these pancakes only need a couple of tablespoons of batter so that they stay small. Sprinkle some blueberries on top. Cook them until bubbly, slightly risen and dry-ish on the edges. Turn and brown on the other side. Makes about 10 pancakes.

26 Nov 2012

December Sponsor Call

Photo by the lovely Quatre Saisons

Hello Girls! I hope you all had a good holiday / weekend!? I have been working on the blog a little bit last night and apart from updating a few bits and bobs, I have changed my ad swap organisation. I am quite busy at work currently and because I want to focus on writing blog posts rather than organising everything else, I have decided to join Passionfruit Ads. I love discovering new blogs, we can still swap for free and I am a little less stressed. Perfect! Simply visit my sponsor page and use PRETTYSWAP at the Passionfruit checkout for the Swap Ads. Please just let me know via email or via Passionfruit which size of ad button you need from me for your own blog.

23 Nov 2012

Wonderful Wreaths

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers!!!! Here in Europe we don't celebrate Thanksgiving but we are already wrecking our brains to find the best possible way to decorate for Christmas. After I was able to secure myself the Ciaté Advent Calendar yesterday (my boyfriend insisted on giving it to me which is even more brilliant), I am now thinking about making a wreath for our door. Obviously the queen of interior design and arts and crafts (Martha Stewart) knows how it works so I got some inspiration from her website. There are 33 wreath ideas in total and I picked my favourite 6 to share with you. Which one do you like best? And will you be making a wreath for your front door this year?

22 Nov 2012

Look at That!

Have you heard of the Ciaté Advent Calendar? I read about it in yesterday's Stylist Magazine and I couldn't believe my eyes. This is such a lovely idea and you still get to do the whole advent calendar thing without gaining a pound (cause there's no chocolate involved obviously). And let's face it: particularly around Christmas, we can all do with a little less calories. Sadly this Christmas miracle is currently sold out but I have put myself on the waiting list and I will definitely get one as soon as they become available again!! My very own Ciaté Advent Calendar is ordered and will hopefully be with me soon. I love it!

21 Nov 2012

Pretty in Leather

Oasis Faux Leather Ponte Dress - Oasis Leather Cutwork Detail Dress - Whistles Sleeveless Leather Shift Dress - Muubaa Sofia Leather Cowl Dress
Leather is one of this season's hottest fashion materials and there is almost nothing that you cannot get in some sort of leather; skinny trousers, jackets, shorts, cardigans, t-shirts, shirts, skirts and so on. The other day I even saw a leather bra here! Among others, there are many leather dresses popping up in all kinds of shops and I have picked my favourite 4 of which I particularly like the Oasis Leather Cutwork Detail Dress to share with you (the budget ranges from £40 to £379 in the order they are displayed - left to right).

20 Nov 2012

Clean Your Brushes

[1] This is what my brushes look like after a couple of weeks of using them. This is when it gets time for a little bath and the brushes go all "Yay, yay, bath time!!" and I will then take them for a bathroom stroll.
[2] Now I take a little shampoo or soap and rub this into the brushes while holding them under the water brush side down. I continue doing this until the water is clear. Never ever let the water run into the handle of the brush (which would happen if you washed them brush side up) as this will ruin it irreversibly and the hair will start falling out.
[3] Now I get a towel (mine is a special micro fibre one which never really gets wet so the brushes dry perfectly on it) and brush the excess water of the make up brushes onto the towel. Usually there is quite a lot coming out onto the towel which is why micro fibre is ideal.
[4] Now I simply leave the brushes to dry overnight. I usually clean mine in the morning after applying the make up and the next morning they are all fresh and dry and ready to be used again.
[5] Never leave your brushes to dry like this as the water may either run into the handle which is just as bad as washing them brush side up or the hair of the brushes my bend into odd directions which obviously also ruins them. Always leave them to dry lying down on a towel. Done!

19 Nov 2012

Chocolate Tart

My Au Pair family from 6 years ago invited me for dinner last weekend and I promised I would bring the dessert. Because I know they all loved the French cuisine (it is a half French family) and because I used to do a lot of baking with the two girls I looked after on babysitting nights, I decided to make a chocolate tart. It's a bonus that everybody (I know) loves chocolate. I searched for a recipe and I decided on this one by BBC Food minus the white chocolate sauce as I thought that would be a little much probably. Plus I like things minimalistic. Joe, who didn't go to the dinner with me, was extremely happy that the ingredients were enough to make 1 big tart and one smaller tart just for him!

17 Nov 2012

Bar Matters

In our dining area (combined kitchen, dining and living room), Joe and I have a wall with a radiator on it which is really neither pretty nor very useful. So I suggested "Hey, why don't we put a bar cart there?!" Joe was very sceptical and thought that having a bar cart would be extremely tacky, however, he is coming round to the idea and we are now looking at pictures of other people's bar carts to see what ours could look like. Will it be bright and colourful, subtle and subdued or arty and modern? You can find all of my favourites on my Bar Carts pinterest board.

16 Nov 2012

Holiday Dress Parade

French Connection: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
Ladies, do you know how much I love dress shopping?? Dresses are more important to me than shoes or handbags because I simply love them. Long, short, midi - black, colourful, neutral - sequinned, patterned, uni - I love them all. Dress shopping is particularly fun (although not for my purse) when the dresses get all sparkly and romantic from mid-November. Beads, sequins, lace, jacquard and chiffon are high season currently and there are soooo many beautiful dresses out there to make your Christmas and New Year's the most amazingly glamorous! I have chosen 4 dresses each from 5 of my favourite shops to share with you. There is always one that I am particularly keen on!!
Hobbs: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
Hobbs currently offer 20% off of all dresses.

Jigsaw: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Oasis: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Whistles: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

15 Nov 2012

Movember Boys

A big shout-out to all of the guys participating in Movember! You have made it half way and we are all very proud of you even if we don't always find your moustaches that appealing (I mean, seriously, some men are truly blessed, others just cannot pull it off and yet others totally overdo it). For all the ladies out there who want to be supportive, you can find mind moustache making tutorial here!! Happy Movember everyone!

14 Nov 2012

Kitchen Print

I found these cute kitchen prints by bunnypumpkin while browsing the web yesterday and noticed they pretty much display my 2 of favourite treat foods: sushi and fondue. Joe and I go for sushi probably once a month and it is always very special and soooo delicious (see my suggestions for sushi in London here); and some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of sitting around the table with my family on New Year's Eve with the fondue stove in the middle and loads of mini or cubed food options to  choose from for the sticks. I should really get back into this Swiss invention as it really is a lot of fun!!

9 Nov 2012

Stay Warm This Winter

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7
... with these wonderful pieces. I never leave the house without a scarf, snood or shawl during the colder months because I am constantly cold around my neck and just like to snuggle half my face into the thick wool while the rest of my body has to stay warm someway else. I have done a little browsing to find a number of lovely, versatile pieces with at least one for every budget.

8 Nov 2012

Cute Cats

These cute illustrations by Gemma Correll are seriously funny. Some of them are so hilarious, they will actually make you crack up in front of your computer. She tells the story of a little pug, a few funny cats and creates brilliant comics about everything else that inspires her in everyday life. For the sake of bringing more smiles and laughter into your life, find her on Facebook here and buy her wonderful artworks here.

7 Nov 2012

October Beauty Haul

Topless & Barefoot - Don't Sweater It - Bobbing for Baubles - Recessionista - Fiesta
Here comes a little overview of all of my October beauty buys, including tops and flops. I did also buy the Zara coat which I showed you last week here and photos of that are to follow. I absolutely adore it, that's for sure. First on my list were 2 shades from the essie stylenomics LE - Recessionista and Don't Sweater It. I spent ages trying to find these 2 colours in my local drugstores but I gave up in the end and simply bought them online from a small seller on Amazon who also had a few of the colours that I have always wanted from previous limited editions (see above). I will show you what they look like on my nails once I have tried them all. Next on my list were some facial products such as a wash gel, toner and moisturiser. A friend of mine recommended the Simple Skincare series and so far I am really happy with it. Particularly the wash gel shows excellent results as it removes my foundation much better than most others I have had. The products are free of perfume which means there is just a subtle soapy smell to the wash gel and almost none to the toner and moisturiser. Right now I am happy.
refreshing facial wash gel - soothing facial toner - hydrating light moisturiser
The next thing I got were 2 tester products. Because my skin is always dry but particularly so during autumn and winter, I got myself a fancy hand moisturiser from Soap & Glory - Hand Food - and so far I am really happy with the product. It keeps what it promises: non-greasy, smooth and soothing. I also had really dry hair these last few weeks so I was looking for a miracle product to help me quickly. I bought a tester sized 3 Minute Miracle by Aussie. The fragrance is a little odd at first but not unpleasant. My hair seems to have definitely recovered slightly after I used the product a couple of times after my normal showering routine.
Soap & Glory Hand Food - Aussie 3 Minute Miracle
The only flop this month is Garnier's (allegedly) waterproof eye make-up remover below. Unfortunately it doesn't keep what it promises and it has not been able to remove my waterproof mascara. On top of this disappointment, it also seems to be a little aggressive and actually makes my eyes go a little sore. I only bought this product because my usual (and much loved) NIVEA waterproof eye make-up remover doesn't seem to be available in UK drugstores. Sadly I cannot recommend this product by Garnier although I usually really like their stuff, particularly the BB Cream and the roll-on concealer.

6 Nov 2012

Apple and Berry Crumble

Using the last few of the summer berries (I know I shouldn't actually buy these in November) I made a delicious crumble last night. It is so easy and prepared so super quickly that it is almost a pity when people buy ready made crumbles in the supermarket. If you make your own you can decide on the fruit mix entirely yourself and add any of your favourites or throw in one or the other unusual ingredient like pomegranate seeds for example. For the crumble topping, simply mix together 100g soft butter, 100g sugar (caster or brown), 150g flour and 50g oats. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes or until the crumbly top is golden brown.