Pink Peplum Skirt

Pink Peplum Skirt by What Laura did Next
Yey! The sun has been shining for a few days now. Albeit, with the odd rain shower but, I feel like Spring is well on it's way. I've been wanting to shoot this ASOS skirt for a while now and here it is! I'm sure not everyone will love this piece but, it's full of bounce and a real statement piece which is just what my wardrobe needs. This outfit would be great for various occasions and, I'll definitely be wearing it more once the weather is warmer.
Pink Peplum Skirt by What Laura did Next
Skirt: ASOS 
Top: Zara (similar here)
Clutch: Accessorize
Shoes: Kurt Geiger London via Shoeaholics.com

Striped Trousers

When the weather is cold and wet and I have plans for a night out, I usually opt for the staple dress and tights combo. However, something drew me to these trousers from Mango. These are the first pair of trousers I've purchased for a good few years and, they are so comfortable. Teamed with a pair of my highest heels, they bring a different sort of glam to my usual night out. 
Striped Trousers by What laura did Next
Striped Trousers by What laura did Next

Trousers: Mango, Top: H&M, Shoes: Kurt Geiger London via Shoeaholics
Coat: Vintage, Bag: Chanel


Winter Floral Dress

Winter Florals by What Laura did Next
Whilst waiting for the milder weather to hit, I've been wearing transitional pieces that will be perfect for Spring but, are great to wear now (with a bit of layering). I picked this dress up from H&M in their trend section along with several other pieces that I just couldn't say no to. This dress is great paired with thick tights or over a pair of skinny jeans with heels.
Winter Florals by What Laura did Next
Winter Florals by What Laura did Next
Dress: H&M Trend
Jacket: H&M (old)
Sunglasses: Ray Ban 

Sophia Webster AW14

Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
If I could start every Sunday morning 'checking in' to Sophia Webster's Heartbreak Hotel, then that would be totally fetch. 

The 'Heartbreak Hotel' was a mixture of super-girly decor with a colour palette of pastels and vibrant shades. Quotes were everywhere including "Forget Prince Charming....I'm just glad I got my shoe back" and, my personal favourite "CINDERF*$?INGRELLA". 
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Each 'hotel room' featured a model- one was in a huge bathtub with her Sophia Webster heels hanging over the edge, whilst another was strutting around in her walk in shoedrobe - if only I had a Sophia Webster shoedrobe! Most of the models were holding phones which were in the cutest phone cases - is this a new addition to the Sophia Webster collection? I hope so.
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
Sophia Webster AW14  by What Laura did Next
As for the shoes, I want them all. This collection screamed 'girl power' and, it seemed to be larger than her previous ones (no complaints from this end) with a few more clutch bags added in. My AW14 wish list is already getting big but, I HAVE to own the CinderF*$?ingRella clutch and several pair of her shoes. 

Sophia Webster

Salted Caramel Milkshakes

If Valentine's isn't your thing and, you're planning a night in with your girlfriends, here's an idea for you that involves the BEST drink ever invented. Apart from a 'Yours truly'

Ladies, I give you the Salted Caramel ice cream milkshake.
Salted Caramel Milkshakes by What Laura did Next
Isn't it beautiful?

You can't go wrong with a tub of Häagen Dazs. They have got me through breakups, bouts of the flu, dinner parties and nights when you just need a bit of naughtiness. 

We've all been there.

When I saw they'd added Salted Caramel to their long list of yummy flavours I did a little dance in the food aisle of my local supermarket. Making a milkshake out of it was probably the best idea I've had this year. 

Ingredients
Häagen Dazs Salted Caramel ice cream
Milk
Whipped cream (out of the can is good)

There isn't really a set way to making this - just shove a few scoops and some milk into a blender and whizz it up. Pour into some tall glasses and add your cream. I did grate a little chocolate over to finish it off. Because, adding chocolate is never a bad thing. 
Salted Caramel Milkshakes by What Laura did Next
Salted Caramel Milkshakes by What Laura did Next
A night in with your friends is not complete without lot's of sweets, some of your favourite magazines and, some films to stick on and watch whilst you talk about life's important things - clothes, food and men. 

Whack on your comfiest clothes and have a lovely night in. Better than heading out to a bar and being leered on by all the creepy boys.
Salted Caramel Milkshakes by What Laura did Next
Salted Caramel Milkshakes by What Laura did Next
Happy Valentine's everyone!
xoxo


Valentine's Day Cocktails

Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
So, remember how I mentioned in yesterday's post that I had a great after-dinner idea for your Valentine's Day date?

No, not that sort of idea, you cheeky scamps!

Cocktail making is so much fun. Back in the day, my friends and I used to make punches for our pre-dancing, getting ready drinks. However, this is slightly different as it involves following some recipes. NOT just pouring every liquid to hand into a jug/bowl and hoping for the best.

Here's the ingredients you will need for two of my favourite cocktails.

Let's start with an old classic - The Whisky Sour

50ml of Whisky (Depending on what you like. Jack Daniels was the choice for this one)
25ml of Lemon juice
17ml of Sugar Syrup
Egg white (I leave this out but, that's what you would normally add to it)
small handful of ice
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
All you need to do, is chuck everything into a cocktail shaker and shake it like a polaroid picture.

Simples

Next up, is a fruity and sweet cocktail. I'm going to call it 'Yours Truly' because, it's just like me and, has my favourite alcohol in.

To make a jug of Yours Truly:
1 pack of Raspberries
1 handful of Strawberries
1.5 tablespoons of Caster sugar
6 sprigs of fresh mint
240ml of vodka
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 bottle of Prosecco
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
Put the berries in a bowl with the sugar and mint. Smash up until there are no lumps. Add the lemon juice, vodka and Prosecco. Grab a sieve and pour the mixture through it into the jug.

Serve over ice. Pretty straws and strawberry garnish, optional. Glass jars are from Homesense and, cost under a Tenner for four!
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
WARNING: This drink tastes delicious but, it's strong...

and may have you pulling a face like this:
Valentine's Day Cocktails by What Laura did Next
Happy making and shaking!

Valentine's Day Dinner Idea

Eating out on Valentine's Day can be very tricky. Heading to some overpriced, overcrowded restaurant for food that’s just....blah. Avoid the trashy and cheesy decorations, red roses and chocolates and do something a little more personal which, I can guarantee will give you lots of brownie points.

I've come up with a delicious three-course meal that is simple yet so good. Seeing as I like to be nice and helpful, I'm going to break it all down in to a step-by-step guide for you. Plus, you'll also save money, keep dry and warm from the horrid weather and, get to spend some time with your loved one. 

MENU:
Shell-on prawns in a garlic and chilli butter
Steak with double-cooked chips and Bearnaise sauce
Banoffee Pie

The night before:
Don't leave it until the last minute to grab your ingredients. Head to the supermarket, butchers, deli, etc the day before to get everything. That way if you do forget something on the day, it's not a massive stress.

Shopping list:
2 x packs of shell-on prawns
3 x cloves of garlic
Butter
Chilli flakes

2 steaks - my favourite is Rib-eye but, it's up to you what cut you choose
Jar of Bearnaise sauce (Maille is my favourite brand) 
3 large potatoes
Sunflower oil
S&P

3 Bananas
500ml of Whipping cream
1 Pack of plain digestive biscuits
1 tin of caramel (Dulche de Leche) 

As many bottles of Champagne/Prosecco/Cava as you wish. Most supermarkets have great offers on these right now so don't spend too much.

Making the base of the Banoffee Pie
Grab some of your Digestive biscuits and, in a bowl smash them up until they're crumbs. Heat some butter in a small saucepan and mix the crumbs and butter together. Once all mixed in, tip into a pie dish and squidge down until it's all compact. Place in the fridge overnight so it sets well. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
On the night - first things first:
Start by pouring yourself a drink and whacking some music on to get you in the mood (My personal favourite to cook to is Prince). Then, peel your potatoes and cut them into chips. Wash them under cold water for 5 minutes to get the starch off. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Once this is done, put them in a saucepan of cold water and cook until the chips look as if they're about to fall apart. Drain and place them on a plate, on a windowsill with the window open to dry them. 

Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. Once really really hot, start cooking your chips (in small batches) until they start to get a little 'crust' on them. Take them out and place on the same plate, and put in the fridge for 1 hour.

Now, take your steaks out of the fridge. This is important as it will help them get up to room temperature. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
By this point, your date should've arrived. Pour them a glass of cold Champagne/Cava/Prosecco before cracking on with your first course.

Starter: Shell-on prawns in a garlic and chilli butter
Put a large knob (teehee) of the butter in a pan over a medium-high heat. When this is nearly all melted, add the crushed garlic and chilli flakes. Once the butter starts to bubble and the garlic is getting a little soft, add your prawns and cook for 8-10 minutes or until they start to turn a slight golden colour. Serve straight from the pan. If you want, cut up some bread to mop the sauce up and, make sure you have plates for the shells and a bowl of water to wash your fingers in.
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
So tasty they'll be gone in minutes. 

Now, top up your glasses and get back to the kitchen. 

Main Course: Steak with double-cooked chips and Bearnaise sauce
Take your chips out of the fridge and heat up the saucepan of oil again. Fry them in small batches until they turn a lovely golden colour. Sprinkle some sea salt over them and place them in the oven whilst you're cooking your steaks. 

I'm a huge fan of steak and, a little bit of a snob when it comes to eating it - it has to be done the right way! Otherwise, you can end up with a grey slab of meat that tastes of nothing. So, with that little rant over, I'm going to share some tips from the steak experts at Hawksmoor. Seriously, they are major know-it-alls when it comes to preparing and cooking meat so listen up. Oh, and buy their cookbook - it's amazing!

Prepping steak tips
  • If you can, get your steak from the Butcher. It only works out to be a couple of quid more than buying them in the supermarket. 
  • Take them out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking. This will get them up to room temperature.
  • If your steak is wet, pat it dry with a paper towel. Otherwise, it will struggle to perform a decent crust
  • Leave it to the VERY last minute to season your meat. More than you probably think - it will help build up a yummy salty crust
  • Don't use any oil on the meat or in the pan. If it's hot enough, the meat won't stick. Also, oil can add a hint of flavour that doesn't sit well with beef. 
Everyone has their own way of how they like their steak cooked. I am a massive fan of rare - the more red, the better. But, that isn't to everyone's taste. Here are a few tips on how to cook your steak.

Cooking steak tips
  • Get your pan really really hot. 
  • Leave the steak in the pan for a couple of minutes, and then flip it. Carry on turning every couple of minutes until it's how you like it. 
  • Rare - 2 mins on each side, Medium - 3 mins on each side
  • If there's a thick layer of fat on your steak, hold it up and brown it. 
  • When you're happy with it, put the steak on to a warm plate and leave to REST for 5 minutes. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Serve with your chips and Bearnaise sauce. The heart shaped serving board is optional but, I couldn't resist (Available from Homesense).

Dessert: Banoffee Pie
Grab your buttery biscuit base out of the fridge and start to whip your cream until it's all lovely and fluffy. Spoon out the caramel onto the base and smooth over so it covers the whole thing. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Then, slice your bananas up and place on top of the caramel, before spooning the whipped cream on top. If you're feeling extra naughty, grate some chocolate over the top before serving.
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Carry on the night however you wish - after eating all this food, you'll probably just want to curl up on the sofa and not move for the rest of the night. But, I have an idea that will get you up on your feet and having more fun in a jiffy.

Here's a sneak peek. Come back tomorrow for a proper nose
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next