24 December 2011

Eat , Drink and Be Merry!

Happy Christmas Eve!!

I hope your Christmas is magical and cosy.



  



Enjoy it as much as you can. 

EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY!

Love Gemma x

20 December 2011

Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Christmas time = Chocolate.

There are no two ways about it.

Something that I have always wanted to make but failed at baking is a decent chocolate brownie. I've tried a few different recipes and did not include any nuts..and found they always always collapsed after I took them out of the oven. Some were really dry and some were just plain sloppy.

I'm happy to tell you that I have found a great recipe by Nigella Lawson that actually works! After reading her recipe I found out that brownies continue to cook after you take them out of the oven...

Why didn't anyone tell me that before!!

Snow Flecked Brownies 
Sourced here


You will need:
  • 375g  dark chocolate
  • 375g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon  vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 350g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 225g plain flour
  • 250g white chocolate buttons
  • a tin measuring approx 33cm x 23cm x 5.5cm

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/350F and line your tin.

Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a saucepan. Allow to cool. In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
Add the chocolate mixture (once it has cooled a bit) to the eggs and sugar, and then add the flour.

Fold in the white chocolate buttons. Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of the saucepan into the lined pan. 

Bake for about 25 mins.

The brownies are ready, when the top is dried, but the middle is dark and dense and gooey still. Remember that they will continue to cook as they cool.




 The outer edges are perfectly moist and cakey and the middle is gooey...just the way I like it!
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It's under a week till Christmas day!! 
5 sleeps!
I'm really exicited but I don't want it to go..I love it so much! Boxing day is good fun too but it's not the same. I can barely listen to Christmas music (♫ soon it will be Christmas day♫...yeah only another 365 days left!!) after the big day has come and gone. 
My birthday is on Friday so I don't know when I will be blogging properly next. Fingers crossed I will be better at it than I was last year and blog again before the New Year!

Gemma x

19 December 2011

Guest Post - Sarah Oxley


New Year will be here before we know it, and with most of us having some time off work, our attention is usually drawn to our homes and DIY. I think this is a great tutorial for window treatments. Have a read on how cheap and easy it is to make your own roman blinds!

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D.I.Y Roman Blinds


Covering your windows with window treatments is usually one of the last things on your mind, when designing your home, yet it still needs to be done. And, of course, after putting so much effort into the rest of the home, you don’t want to just go for the next best thing. It has to match the d├ęcor you’ve already created. However, you don’t want it to cost much either. 

The cheap option is to do it yourself, yes, even when it comes to blinds.
Roman blinds are, currently, very popular and highly fashionable. They are also easy to make:

1: Mounting The Blind
To begin with, you’ll have to decide how you want to mount your blind, as there are three available ways: outside, inside, and hybrid. If you have marred or unremarkable woodwork, it is recommended to choose an outside mount, because this mount covers the entire window as well as frame and trim. Whereas, an inside mount covers only the window itself leaving frame and trim visible. If you have a window with a deep window sill, then the hybrid mount is best. This mount covers the whole frame horizontally including the top, but ends at the sill.

2: What To Measure
The measurement is dependent on which mount style, you have chosen. An outside mount requires the distance between the outermost edges of the window trim horizontally and vertically, and the greatest depth of the trim outward from the wall. More often than not, this will be the window sill. An inside mount just needs the distance between the inside edges of the trim, again horizontally and vertically, while for a hybrid mount you’ll need to measure the outer edges of the trim horizontally, and from the top edge of the trim to the top of the window sill vertically. The horizontal dimension is always the finished width of the blind, and the vertical the finished length. This goes for all mount styles.

3: How Much Fabric
The finished width of the blind needs 4 inches (10cm) added, while the finished length needs 8½ inches (21.3cm) added on. This is called the ‘cut size’ of the fabric. Most fabric sellers will calculate the needed amount of fabric from the cut size. If you want to calculate it yourself, divide each dimension of the cut size by 36 if using inches and yards, or by 100 if using the metric system.

The majority of decorator fabrics are 54 inches (137cm) wide. If your window is wider than 50 inches, it is best to double the length and live with a vertical seam in the blind. It’s best to have too much fabric than too little, as any extra fabric can be used for other D.I.Y or craft projects. For sliding doors or wide windows, it’s best to make several separate blinds, rather than one wide one. Roman blinds require a lining, so be sure to purchase the same amount of lining as you did the main fabric.

4: Extra Supplies
As well as the fabric, you’ll need the following supplies:
Thread (sure, you’ve thought of this one)
Sew-on or decorator-type hook-and-loop tape the width of the finished blind
Twill Tape With Pre-Sewn Plastic Rings- 2 to 3 times the finished length
Dowel Rods- Quarter inch (8 mm) in diameter, cut ½ inch (13mm) less than finished width
Screw Eyes and Mounting Screws
Nylon drapery cord (5 to 8 times the finished length)
For the headrail: A 1" x 2" (2.5 cm x 5 cm) board cut to ¼" (6 mm) less than the finished width


You can also purchase cord cleat, fusible hem tape, cord-luck pulley, a glue gun or glue sticks- these items are optional.

5: Hemming The Blind
As mentioned above, roman blinds need lining, so you’ll need to hem the front and the lining, then sew them together top and bottom, sewing the wrong sides together. The side edges remain open for now. Then simply sew loop tape to the top edge of the back of the blind.

6: Rod Pockets
To make the rod pockets, cut two pieces of twill tape 10 inches (25 cm) smaller than the finished length. Sew one length at each side edge of the blind.  If your blind is wider than 39 inches (1 meter), you’ll need three twill tape pieces. Sew one length at each side, and one down the centre of the blind.  The bottom ring should be 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom of the blind. Be sure that the first ring of each length is 10 inches (25cm) from the top of the blind, and that all bits of tape have an even number of rings. The rings on each tape need to be aligned. Otherwise the blind won’t hang properly and won’t fold properly, either. If you want to have sewn rod pockets, sew a straight line below and above each ring, and then slide a dowel into the pocket. For a no sew, use fabric glue to attach the dowels to the wrong side of the front fabric. A dot of glue every 6 inches (15cm) along the length of the dowel is sufficient. The dowel will need 4 to 12 hours to dry, so lay the dowel on the fabric and keep it in place by weighing it down with books or other reasonably heavy objects, and put a rod inside the bottom hem allowance of the inside-out blind. Once the glue is dry, turn it right-side-out. 

After you’ve inserted the rods, sew the side seams closed.

7: The Headrail
The headrail needs preparing before it can be mounted. Cover the headrail board with muslin or leftover fabric and staple in place on the side that will be facing the wall. Now, staple hook tape to the front of the rail, and place a screw eye in the bottom of the rail. Be sure it us even with the ring tapes. If you’re using a cord-lock pulley, mount it on the end of the rail where the finished pull-cord will be. The rail can be mounted to the inside window frame, the upper edge of the trim, or on the wall just above the trim. This is dependent on your chosen mount style.

8: The Blind
Using the hook and loop fasteners, attach the finished blind to the rail.

9: Threading The Cords
At the top of the blind, thread the drapery cord through a screw eye and each ring of tape. Tie it securely to the bottom ring. From the screw eye, pull the length of cord through the pulley and down along the side of the blind. Cut the cord at the wanted length. Repeat with each piece of tape. Then bring the length of cord across to the rail through the first screw eye and the pulley. Cut it, so it is even with the first cord. For a single pull-cord, braid or knot the cords together and add a cord drop.

10: Sit Down And Have A Cup Of Tea
You’ve earned it.

Written by Sarah Oxley

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Thank you Sarah! This is a great DIY for fabric lovers like myself : )
Gemma x 

14 December 2011

Dear Santa...





I thought it would be fun to share my fantasty  wish list with you for this Christmas. My birthday falls two days before Christmas day so I have a lot of people asking me what I would like throughout the beginning of December (and it is surprisingly hard to think of things!).


Starting clockwise from the top:


1. Lush Snowfairy shower gel - this stuff smells soo good and the smell instantly reminds me of Christmas showers.
2. Small Pearl earrings - I think they look so nice.
3.Christmas PJ's - I always always ask for some Pyjamas at Christmas. I have heard of traditions where families give eachother new PJ's on xmas eve..so lovely!!
4. Kitchen Aid - Okay now that this really is a fantasy! I would love to eventually get my hands on a red kitchen aid one day..but they are so expensive....
5. Lush again - anything else from Lush. The shops are just fab.
6. Black Courts - I would like some nice shoes to wear with fancy dresses over the holiday season.
7. Tala pipping set - Mostly for the tin!
8. Soap and Glory toiletries - I've heard so much about them but haven't tried any before.
9. Jean Paul Gaultier Perfume - It smells really good and it lingers on everything..your scarf, your pillow.
10. A Starfish Charm - for my charm bracelet.
11. Fresh linen candle - I just love the smell. Great in a bathroom.
12. Ina Garten Cookbook - I love her shows and everything she makes looks amazing.
13. After Eight mint chocolates - It's Christmas..any excuse for chocolate.




Who knows what Santa will bring ; )

_ _ _ _ _ _ 


Christmas is something that I anticipate so much and it just seems like it's flying by! I'm trying to savour every last bit. Cramming as much Christmas music into my day, watching some Christmas films at the weekend and baking lots and lots. I plan on baking some chocolate chip cookies, some brownies, gingerbread and cheesecake before the big day arrives. Yummy!

I hope December starts to slow down a bit. I've heard snow could be on the way at the weekend...Not sure if that's good or not?


Gemma x



P.s - What are you asking for this Christmas?



12 December 2011

A few Cheap ideas for Christmas

I found a few little ideas on Pinterest  for Christmas gifts / decorations and thought I'd share them with you.

This is a simple and cheap idea for festive decorations. The look is clean and very organic/natural...

Found on Pinterest

I really want to make these Orange hanging decorations this year. Apparently they smell lovely.


Found on Pinterest
I saw this and thought it is great to use when giving away gift cards or money for Christmas. It's just a little something extra but looks a lot more than just an envelope.


Found on Pinterest


I know I've mentioned these before but truffles are a great gift to give away as a little gift.




Both found on Pinterest


Or alternatively these Hot Chocolate truffles are a great idea. Drop them into hot milk and stir and you have yummy Hot Chocolate! Give them as a gift with a Christmassy mug.


Found on Pinterest



Homemade Vanilla or Chocolate fudge. Most recipes have 4-6 ingredients so it's a great to make and give as a gift.

Found here


My favourite is the idea of the candy cane wrapped around a card. It makes a simple card look festive and yummy!!

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This is my last week of work before Christmas so if you do like the look of anything in my shop I am taking last orders for the UK on the 16th of December. Keep an eye out for sale items in the new year too.

Everything is starting to wind down for the holidays now. My brother and sister finish school on Friday. We are having a little party at home in the afternoon to celebrate. I think its going to be a mix of yummy food and a festive film...can't wait!!

Hope you are all enjoying 'the most wonderful time of the year'!





Gemma x

8 December 2011

I finally Finished my Patchwork quilt!!

I'm so happy to show you my first ever patchwork quilt. I told you about it a few months back, aiming to get it all finished in November. It took me a little longer but I'm just so glad I have finished it while it is still ABSOLUTELY FREEZING outside!

I have to say this project was very long winded and I have made a few mistakes and shed a few frustrated tears..but it was worth it! I used this tutorial.






I love how happy and colourful it is in a 'not-so-crazy' way. I bought a paisley fabric which is very fun. A pretty flower fabric which looks a bit vintage. A soft pink stripe fabric. A nice green polka dot and a lightly patterned white fabric. 

I bought the white one in America from this huge craft store called Jo-annes (so much better than our hobby craft). I intended to use it as the backing but got it home and realised I hadn't bought enough...I got confused by the yards into metres conversion..argh!! I think it works better on the front anyway and it hold a lot of memories from our trip there.

I used a medium pink polka dot for the bias and a cream with pink polka dot as the baking. It contrasts against the main front but looks good.



Doing the criss-crosses was the hardest bit as it took forever and I had to make sure none of the fabric from the top and underside got wrikled and sewn like that. I had to unpick a bit and start again but never mind.


The paisley is my favourite as it is so fun to look at.



I would definitely make another quilt. It took a lot of time and the fabrics weren't the cheapest but it was worth it. I think I am slowly going to collect fabric from holidays or during memorable events and eventually make a new one.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _


 This is for Cindy who wanted to see more of the fairy light tree. It's not a Tree tree but I like to call it that. I love to have it lit while in reading before bed and it's great to hang some Christmas decorations on.

Gemma x

4 December 2011

Happy December

We put up the Christmas Tree in Ian's room on Friday (finally!!).  It's always fun getting the plain tree out and making it look pretty. Most of the ornaments are his families but we have bought a few to use for ourselves when we have our own house one day.









Our special hanging decorations are both from Disney World. It's become a bit of a tradition to get one when we go away.




We had Candy Canes left over from last year so we decided to keep them and use as decorations only...although I'm sure it would be fine (being pure sugar!!).




Hello Bauble! 

I'm absolutely loving Michael Bubles new Christas album. We listened to him while putting the tree up and had a good sing-a-long! He sounds good (as always) singing all the classics. If you haven't heard it them get on youtube and have a listen!

Our favourite is White Christmas which he sings alongside Shania Twain...so catchy! 


Happy Holidays!! (Woohoo!)

Gemma x

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