I’ve always believed life is about the little things, the small details and my idea of fashion is much the same. I don’t follow trends, I don’t much care about what’s ‘hot’ right now, I just do my own thing, right down to every little quirk, my fashion is my own. So this month I’m sharing my top styling details, so that you might be inspire to share yours too, after all, our unique quirks are precious, they make us who we are, definitely something to celebrate!
Colder nights are all about one thing… slow cooking! I’m pretty new to this slow cooker malarky and I was sceptical at the start, thinking, how could I face preparing dinner before I’d even had my morning coffee!!! But I gave it a whirl and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome! Coming home to all manner of foodie delights bubbling away IS a very satisfying feeling. And so…today I’m sharing with you the ultimate comfort food recipe, slowly cooked with love…Whisky Banana Bread Pudding (It’s also got Amaretto but I didn’t want to get you over excited!).
Bread. Pudding. It’s just good stuff isn’t it, especially when it’s slow cooked into pudding perfection. This recipe is for a very wet kind of bread pudding, not the firm sort which is also divine.
Half loaf of bread
1 Jamaica Ginger cake
Shot of Whisky/ Amaretto/ BOTH
4 very ripe bananas
1/2 pint coconut milk
1 pint of milk
200g brown caster sugar
Chopped cherries/ nuts (optional)
And you’ll love this, other than breaking up the bread and smashing the Jamaica loaf it’s just a mix-it- all-together kind of recipe. And then just wait for the magic to happen. The only rule: make sure all bread is covered by the liquid and sloooooow cook on ‘low’ for 6-8 hours.
I found it was tastiest served with natural yogurt as it is a pretty sweet recipe. Enjoy! And please share your slow cook recipes, this rookie wants to know more!!!
Christmas Stockings: probably one of my favourite things in the world. The years of meter long knitted socks filled with joyous treasures and wonderful treats has given me some of the happiest memories! My mama, the master stocking filler, is still filling stockings for me and my siblings despite us being in our late 20’s/ mid 30’s! What can I say, she’s a angel.
And I’ve inherited her Christmas stocking spirit, I just love it. I LOVE buying tiny nuggets of loveliness and on the 24th carefully stuffing the stocking, all the while thinking, ah they are going to love this come tomorrow morning!
But where to find all these little treasures and what to put in a stocking? Well now, if I told you that I’d be in big trouble with mother Christmas, you’ve got to find out for yourself, that’s part of the fun!
However these sumptuous organic delights were just too lovely and too stocking sized I couldn’t help but share…. to get your stocking filling creative juices flowing… enjoy!
What mini treasures have your found, I’d love to know, leave a comment below. And happy stocking-filling!
Every little girl dreams of her wedding dress. Well at least that’s what they say, though to be honest I was too busy building dens and washing my barbies hair to worry about such grow up details.
But when the day finally came, to pick out a wedding dress I was surprisingly excited! Hours were spent scrolling through pages of white gowns, full skirts, silky skirts, long skirts, fitted skirts, beaded bodices, embodied bodices, sleeves, no sleeves, it’s enough to make you bridal head spin!
But wow did I find the dress, oh my dress, the dress to make all dresses stare. I really did feel like a princess and why not, a bride (and of course the groom) should feel like a million bucks, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a million bucks. My dress was bought on Etsy for £420. A cheerfully cheap price you may think, off the hanger you may think, but no it was specially designed and made to order, so it’s a one of a kind dress. And if I had purchased it in bridal boutique it would have been 3 or 4 times more expensive! So how? How did I end up with this beautiful custom made dress for under £500? Here are my top tips for buying a stunning dress on a budget and completing the look for tuppence!
- Try before you buy! Before you even think about spending on a dress take your mama or a pal and visit some bridal shops. Try on all kinds of dresses, different styles and fabrics, that way you can know how it’s going to feel on, for example you really wanted a big cupcake dress, but after trying one on and plodding around in the sheer weight of it, you opt for a different style. It’s the only way to truly get the feel of a style, quite literally. Plus it’s super fun trying on all the dresses and being told repeatedly that you look like a princess, that never grows old!
- Always buy online. eBay, Etsy etc, as a big online buyer I highly recommend it, you can save big big bucks and not compromise on quality, because who wants to do that! However, beware, don’t just delve right it, read all reviews first, get a rave reviewed designer, make sure the fabric looks quality, there’s a lot of dreadful Chinese manufacturers, especially on Etsy, but some are great so just look carefully at the photos for high standard dress finishes and more luxury fabrics.
- Measure EVERYTHING. Online dress makers usually ask for a lot of measurements, which is a good sign. The company that made my dress required about 20 different measurements, including nipple to nipple, OMG, but my dress did fit like a slipper! Some also reccomend getting a tailor to do the measurements but my mama managed fine, just make sure you follow their measuring guidelines.
- Do your own hair & makeup. I did mine myself as I only use organic cosmetics anyway and I didn’t want anything too technical. Also I don’t enjoy too much faffing, I find it more stressful than pampering, so I probably saved at least £100 doing it myself. It was a bit stressful relying on your own skill, but nothing a glass of champagne and some patience can’t fix.
- Spend more on accessories. I think when you save so much on the dress you can afford to spend a little more on the accessories to richen the look. I had a jewelled hairband (also from Etsy) custom made in Ukraine, which was a little pricey but exceptionally well made and really special. And remember, the dress you won’t wear again (well hopefully not! lol) but the headband and earrings (also from Etsy and came from Japan) you most definitely will. In fact I’m wearing the earnings right now!
- Buy a budget veil. I kept mine on for all of 5 minutes, handing it over to my mum when the veil lift was done! I think it cost about £8 from eBay and I literally couldn’t tell the difference between that and a designer one! I mean it’s an ivory piece of mesh, how much do you really wanna pay for that!
I hope you find your own dream dress ! Read more about my quirky unique wedding that cost £7000 here. And may LOVE be with you!
The other day I cried, I cried because time tick tocked by and seemed to just laugh in my face at all the plans I had… “As if you have time to do that all!” cackled Time. And so I cried a bit more.
Has that ever happened to you? What a silly question, I’m almost certain it has, and if you’re very unlucky it may happen on a daily basis!
Because you know what… our current system IS flawed, but have you ever stopped to think just how bad it is and how much it’s effecting YOUR life?
Look at an average persons week: working 40 hours (the U.K average) adding on a commute, 54 minutes each way (the U.K average) plus getting ready in the mornings, that’s over 55 hours spent being the WORKER YOU! Not being YOU because YOU are not your job, but being a YOU that’s doing a certain role, for a certain company that you may or may not loathe.
And I guess the rest of the time you’re sleeping? Well, that is, unless you have a child or a life, a family, a husband, friends, where do they all fit in?
And what if your trying to better yourself, you’re writing a book, maybe your a blogger, perhaps you’re trying to set up a company, you’re moving house, you’re pregnant. Or what if times are hard, you’re suffering from depression, you’re going through a divorce, someone in your family is terminally ill, you’re having to take another part time job. These are things that real people are going through every day.
You can quickly see just how easy it is to become a shell….. a ghost of a person, someone who goes through the motions of life, having no time to really relish any of life’s happiness. Wow, do I sound bitter, but I’m not, not anymore…
Yes, I’ve done 12 hours days and silly commute times and I’ve felt sheer momentous exhaustion before, one where you don’t know whether to eat, sleep or shower first. And you know what, I could never EVER do it again. Even for a million pounds and I mean that.
Because I had NO time, NO energy left to be me, Charlotte…. just to sit down and chat with my partner, to go for a coffee with their parents, no time for my writing, no time for watching anime, no time for drawing, no time for eBay shopping and reading articles… I don’t like ‘no time’ for that stuff. Time in mine! And re-connecting with people, and yourself takes time.
So now, I feel exceptionally lucky to work from home and work for myself, because demanding and stressful as it can be, it is totally mine, my schedule is my own. And there’s something really special about that.
So this post for everyone who hates their job, who sighs and almost cries when their alarm goes off, who can’t even find time to read a book or do their 15 mins yoga workout, who feels sick to their stomach every Sunday night.
To you I say….Time is yours…. let’s take back time. Money is money, a job IS a job, but ultimately we make the choice, we shape our own lives and sometimes we forget that. Even if it seems like you have no choice and find yourself saying “Well, it’s all right for them…” STOP. Think…. why are you really doing what you’re doing and is it really worth it?
Is the world going to crumble if you don’t bake a cake for the school’s cake sale, will it be armageddon if you don’t clean the house for one more day, and well all hell break loose if you don’t attend Annalouise’ birthday party? No? Didn’t think so.
YOU deserve happiness, not just at weekends, but everyday and to be happy in your job, in the life you lead.
And because there really IS nothing more important in life than happiness and healthiness and if your lacking in either of these then something has GOT to change.
Wishing you health and happiness always!
I got married! And what a magical day it was, full of love and warmth, colour and wonder. It was my dream wedding and it cost just over 7 grand, not bad considering the average U.K wedding rolls in at a hefty £25, 000, big monies, I mean, that’s a deposit on a house!
So I always knew I didn’t want a big, expensive wedding. I didn’t want to look back on the day and wince at how many holidays we could have gone on or how many months rent we could have saved. And spending your life’s savings doesn’t guarantee a magical day. Sometimes you’re really paying for the gimmick of something or the designer name.
So before you even begin spending out on your big day, you must set a budget. Then start by writing down all the things you want to include, from the essentials to the smallest details. Then think long and hard about where you want the biggest part of the budget to go. Have you got your heart set on a stately home? Have you already picked out a stunning designer dress? Well, for us it was fun…We wanted live music, we wanted a free bar and we wanted lots of delicious food to keep the party going. So, creating the atmosphere was where we spent the big money. Money well spent I say! We all had a fantabulous time, with lots of guests commenting it was the best wedding they’d ever been to!
So, whatever wedding you’re planning just know that it CAN be done on a budget and here’s how…
Look at me celeb-ing it out the car, HA! I really did feel like a princess and why not, a bride (and of course the groom) should feel like a million bucks, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a million bucks. My dress was bought on Etsy for £420. I had it specially designed, so it’s a one of a kind dress and if I had to buy it in bridal boutique it would have been 3 or 4 times more expensive! Buying your perfect wedding dress is tricky business, but CAN be done, here’s my top tips for penny pinching your dream dress READ MORE…
I always wanted a marquee, but not just any marquee, it has to be classic and elegant. This little oval beauty was perfect. I would recommend opting for a marquee as your venue because they’re just so versatile, it’s a blank canvas! We used ours for the ceremony, dinner and the party and it couldn’t have been better. However, I’d advise couples to be picky when it comes to choosing the right marque, shop around. There are some great deals but you often get what you pay for! Also consider getting the tables and chairs from the marquee company as the marque business it pretty competitive and it will be much less fuss than hiring them separately. Our marquee company also handled the lighting which was a god send and in my opinion totally worth the money.
My dad and brother made a simple stage from pallets and the ‘Flamingo bar’ also a daddy creation, was made from stacked milk crates. It was certainly a good spot for propping oneself up! TOP TIP Got friends with a spare field or a bit of land? Bribe them with champagne and chocolates until they let you pitch a marque there! A gigantic saving!!!!
Let’s be honest, the cake IS important. It’s got to look good and of course it must taste good, but when the average fancy pants cake costs £500 you’ve got to get realistic, do you really want to spend THAT on a cake?! Lucky for you, my mama and decided “We can do that!” and baked our very own super star cake ! The cake cost about £80 and was the definition of unique, find out how we made this wondrous cake READ MORE…
Details are important to me. And at the wedding I wanted people to feel special and have unique place settings, so bit of a splurge… I bought Playmobil figures to match each guest and they LOVED THIS! Believe me when I say guests DO care about the little things and they DO appreciate the time and love that goes into it.
The cute hessian bags were a great buy and went perfect with our theme. eBay was essential for the favour bags, lots of bulk buys from China (shipping takes a while so do this well in advance). I also bought a mixture of little gifts, like Chinese coin purses, lucky knots and ‘double happiness’ charms (my husband and I met in China so we thought it only fair to include China in the wedding!). I also bought an assortment of wind-up toys, seed paper hearts (you plant them and a flower may grow) and bags of different chocolates and sweets.
I also found (eBay again) a joblot of miniature bottles and created wedding labels for each one, then using a mini funnel (you get one in airplane toiletries sets) I filled them with amaretto, saki and port. They looked super and were a fun detail that didn’t cost very much. The guests loved them of course and they were great for filling the piñatas and the favour bags. Picture guests scarmbling to pick up little bottles of booze, ha ah! TOP TIP Luggage labels are great for place settings.
Flowers were always going to be important for our wedding as I wanted COLOUR, and lots of it. But I didn’t want to rinse our dosh on something that would just wither away after a few days. I was initially quoted £1.50 per rose, which seemed utter madness, so I opted for supermarket flowers. Most people would feel rather skeptical/ stressed at leaving such a big part of the decoration in the hands of a supermarket! And knowing you can only buy them the day before the wedding… that may be too much for most brides! But it was so worth it. Supermarkets really do offer such amazing prices, especially on flowers like roses and carnations (yes I had carnations at my wedding and they rocked!). We bought bunches of all different colours and although it wasn’t exactly what I planned, it actually turned out better than I could have hoped!
I also I wanted lots of greenery, so a little snip in the garden/ hedges/ here and there, goes a long way and before you know it you’ve got a wonderful pile of ferns and other juicy greenery to cover the wedding arch and mix with flowers. It all looked peeeerfic. TOP TIP Save your jam jars! They make super cute vases and are free!
To say I was excited about the wedding decorations is an understatement! I had been stock piling pom poms (order from china they are half price) for about a year and with the miracle of eBay I could afford a wonderful array of delights. Yes that IS a gold origami crane, super isn’t it, I bought a batch of crane miniatures and then I asked the maker if he could create some giant gold ones. You’ll be surprised how accommodating people can be. TOP TIP Hang pom poms and other decorations using cat gut/ transparent thread, it gives the illusion that they’re suspended in mid the air, really pretty.
Other decorations include rainbow heart garlands, a giant confetti and chocolate coin balloon, which was prematurely popped mid evening! And we also had his and hers piñata’s which were a great decoration/ hilarious activity to break the ice before dinner. TOP TIP Have a fun game that includes the bride and groom, not necessarily all your guests, and don’t make everyone participate in games, some people just enjoy watching, let them be.
It feels like just a snippet of the wedding but I hope you’ve enjoy reading about my magical day! And have taken loads of ideas from it, because everyone deserves their fairytale wedding, no matter your budget!
And finally… THE BREAKDOWN of our £7000 wedding, so you know we we’re fibbing…
- Marquee (inc dance floor, chairs, lights and tables)= £2140
- Venue= FREE (Friend of a friend’s field)
- Aisle and alter= £20
- The car= FREE! (My dad’s old London Cab)
- Nibbles= £100
- Wood (stage)= £125
- Photographer= FREE! (Our photographer pal)
- Catering (serving 40 main meals)= £360
- Fridge hire (from the very kind caterer)= £20
- Gas Burner Hire= £115
- Homemade desserts (Profiteroles, apple pies, trifle)= £30
- Wedding Cake =£80
- Wedding Dress (hoop, veil, headband, jewellery, shoes)= £620
- Groom’s Outfit = £350
- Rings= £503
- Hair & Makeup= Done by me ! FREE
- Salsa Band= £400
- DJ (9 hours throughout the day) =£150
- Generators X 2= £375
- Fancy Portaloos= £550
- Cutlery & plates= FREE! (begged or borrowed!)
- Flowers (table & bouquet) = £65
- Decorations (pompoms, giant balloons, table confetti) = £40
- Piñita x2 + fillers (lindors & minatures) = £35
- Table clothes & glasses= Joblot at auction £16
Have you pulled off a wedding on a shoestring? What are your top tips?
Hello! I’m Petite, so nice to meet you and have you here, reading my blog! The wonderful Lucy Locket nominated me to answer her little Q&A so here goes….
- Describe your favourite way to spend a Sunday. It would be a long breakfast with endless coffees, pancakes and bacon, in bed, just chatting, watching some anime. Then walks in the park/ on the beach with my family and cosy films snuggled with chocolates and cushions.
- What is your all-time favourite book any why? Oh just 1, I can’t, I’m sorry! It’s got to be Peter Pan by JM Barrie, just pure enchanting wonder, Memories of a Geisha by Arthur Golden because it’s so beautifully written and about one of my favourite countries to read about historically, Japan and finally The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, because she taught me that unique thoughts are a powerful thing and I always kept that idea of ‘individualism’ firmly in my head, a brilliant, insightful read.
- What song, if any, makes you cry? LES FLEUR – 4hero, truly Euphoric. I chose it for our end of ceremony song at our wedding blessing, it was a tough tough job to reach that point in our lives, with immigration issues etc (husband is from Colombia) and now every time I hear it I think of how empowered and joyous I felt and how exceptional life can be, against all the odds.
- Who inspires you and why? My mama, for alway finding a way and being beautifully strong and kind. Children, working with them gives me daily bursts of inspiration! Other bloggers, so many of who I’m in total awe of! Roald Dahl, for his wonderful way of looking at the world and for having unique quirks and tastes and sticking to them. And Frieda Kahlo, for having the integrity to lay her soul bare and for being an absolute Goddess!
- Do you have any hobbies? If so, what are they? Drawing, mostly with the iPad, writing, evidently and Yoga/qigong when I can pull myself away from the writing/drawing. And TRAVEL, the 2nd love of my life.
- What has been the highlight of your year? This year has been a pretty epic… but I suppose I’d have to say our wedding blessing, because it was pure love and magic!
- What is your favourite blog post that you have written? My favourite would have to be… ‘Life is perfect, but here’s what you didn’t see’ because it’s my most REAL post to date. I really poured my heart into it and it seemed to effect so many women and stirred up a such supportive and relative response, which was amazing.
- What is one piece of advice you would give to a new blogger? Find yourself, don’t replicate other bloggers, EVERYONE has a unique voice, I really believe that and if you think you don’t then you’re just not looking deep enough!
- What is your top goal for 2017? To keep the happiness flowing….A goal for life i think. And to focus more on mindfulness and strengthen my mindset. I go from feeling empowered to doubtful too quickly and I’d like to work on that.
- Describe yourself in 5 words! Driven, eccentric, childlike, kind and frank.
That was fun! Now, pretty please join in the questiony fun ladies:
My questions are as follows:
1. What’s your favourite cake?
2. What advice can you give someone about to give birth?
3. What is your strongest asset?
4. What was your favourite childhood toy?
5. What’s the most inspiring blog post you’ve ever read?
6. What do you think about Organic products?
7. What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?
8. What’s you absolute fav item of clothing?
9. Can you tell us a little secret that no body knows?
10. What’s on your Christmas list this year?
Autumn is lovely isn’t it, not freezing but just that refreshing nip that makes your home that bit more cosy and your hot chocolate that bit more tasty! That said, one thing I don’t like about this colder weather is the static hair and the dry patchy skin, not a good look!
But do not fear, I’ve found some lovely organic products that will sooth that Autumnal edge and see you thought until Spring !
Organic Surge Moisture Boost Shampoo 200ml, £5.96 It’s a long quest, to find a good organic shampoo. But finally a winner! This shampoo leaves my frizzy dry hair, shiny, clean and quenched and all at a great price!
Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash 200ml, £7.95 Sometimes I find the best solution to dry skin is not just a lotion but a more nourishing body wash or special soap. So this is a lovely product, with a truly divine scent, can never get enough of roses! And it really has a lovely creamy consistency, that soften and nourishes tired, dry skin.
John Masters Rose & Apricot Hair Milk, £25 Loved this product so much I’ve done a whole blogpost on it! This is the stuff, it really transforms frizzy hair and smells like Turkish delight, I’m a little bit in love.
Weleda Lavender Relaxing Bath Milk 200ml, £8.95 Isn’t it wonderful, when you come home, soaked or icy cold and jump in the bath, ahhhhh, but sometimes I feel something is missing, this creamy lavender milk is the perfect addition to your bath, so reeeeelaxing.
LOGONA HAIRSPRAY SILKY LUSTRE 150 ML, £9.12 The first organic hairspray I’ve ever used, I actually bought it for my wedding day as I don’t usually use hairspray but it’s so great, I use it as a daily styler! it smells like nectar, literally, with its floral and honey notes and sits lightly on your hair, no sticky feeling. And it has a great hold. Well done Logona, brilliant product!
Have you found any exciting new Organic products? I’d love to know !