Creamy Chocolate Mousse

23 December 2017

Creamy Chocolate Mousse
One of the most important parts about Christmas (aside from spending it with family) is the food.

I haven’t done a recipe post in a very long time, and as it’s the season for eating your body weight in food, I thought I’d share a super easy recipe that is perfect for knocking up over the festive period. It’s perfect for the gluten-free and vegetarians in your life, takes no time to prepare and doesn't require much effort, leaving you to hang out with your loved ones.

Chocolate Mousse (serves 6)

200g milk or dark chocolate
3 large eggs, separated
50g caster sugar
Softly whipped cream to serve (optional, but so worth it)

To start, place the chocolate and 120ml of water in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of  simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Heat gently, stirring, until the chocolate is melted.

Whilst the chocolate is melting separate your eggs, with the yolks in one bowl, and the whites in another.

Leave the melted chocolate to cool, and in a large bowl whisk the egg whites with the sugar until stiff peaks form - I use my Kitchenaid for this part as it takes a while to whisk the whites by hand! 

Once the chocolate is cooled, stir in the egg yolks with a wooden spoon until well combined. Then, pour the chocolate in to the whisked egg whites.
Creamy Chocolate Mousse
Gently fold into the chocolate mixture.

Spoon the mousse into individual dishes or one large dish and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. 

Decorate and top with softly whipped cream, if desired.
Creamy Chocolate Mousse
Creamy Chocolate Mousse
There you have it! The perfect dessert - and so easy to make! 

Giving back over Christmas

15 December 2017

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It is a time of parties, presents, delicious food and ugly Christmas jumpers. 

It is also a pretty good time to start giving back. 

This is the time of year when even the smallest gesture can have the biggest impact. If everyone of us dug deep into our pockets, we'd make a huge difference. 
#CookforSyria Recipe Book
#CookForSyria is the supper-club that has become a global movement. This gorgeous book features traditional recipes donated by Syrian families, Syrian-inspired recipes lovingly donated by celebrity chefs, Great British Bake Off alumni, and award winning cookbook authors - All 100% donated by the contributors. 

All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to charity in aid of UNICEF's Children of Syria Fund. 

Buy here

 Save The Children Christmas Jumper Collection
Family brand, Selfish Mother have teamed up with charity Save The Children again to create a collection of awesome jumpers designed by a few familiar faces. The money raised from the sale of these sweatshirts could help Save the Children bring essentials like healthcare, education, protection and food to the millions of children around the world who are missing out on the most basic support.

50% of the retail price goes straight to Save The Children. Last year, they raised £75k for this awesome cause through customers wearing and sharing the designs. 

Buy here

Nightsky Pyjamas by Hush and Refuge
This stunning special edition pyjama set with matching eye mask, has been created in partnership with Refuge. 

For every Nightsky pyjama set sold, hush will donate £52 to Refuge which is the equivalent of one night in a refuge for a woman and her children, including essential practical and emotional support. 

Buy here

'let love rule' long sleeve top
Sugarhill Boutique and charity 'let love rule' have partnered to raise awareness and money by creating this lovely Brighton Breton top. £10 from the sale of this garment will go directly to Plan International UK. 

Plan International are committed to advancing children’s rights, and equality for girls around the world. 

Buy here

From Babies With Love SOS Children Charity Soft Duck Toy
The brands best-selling Duck design have created this contemporary and charming soft toy. Suitable from birth, it's made with soft organic cotton, is GOTS certified, features upcycled material filling, and is made in Britain.

Every penny of profit from this unique, ethically sourced design goes to orphaned and abandoned children around the world. 

Buy here

Girl vs Cancer Christmas Tit-tee
As if I could leave this one out! If you haven't heard of the legend that is Lauren - where have you been?! This amazing lady has founded website Girl vs Cancer, and launched the most awesome tit tees. For Christmas, she's designed a festive edition and I cannot wait to wear mine on the big day. Check out her other designs which are equally awesome and can totally be paraded around 365, 24/7.

What's more, 25% of each tit-tee will be split equally between charities; CoppaFeel, Future Dreams, Trekstock and Look Good Feel Better. 

Buy here

MAC Viva Glam Lipstick
In 1994, MAC introduced 'Viva Glam', an outspoken deep red that was universal in its appeal and its glamour - It was also the first lipstick created to raise money and awareness for AIDS. Even now the brand are creating new Viva Glam products for their customers to purchase. 

With 100% of the proceeds of every Viva Glam product is donated to the MAC AIDS Fund, which helps men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDs.

Buy here

Oklahoma Throw
The supplier of this product employs sixty people in a small, modern and clean factory/warehouse in Delhi. Staff receive maximum remuneration and wages are above average for the area. They provide loans and materials to people involved in their supply chain, there is no child labour and they have a waste recycling program. 

The company supports CRY which is a charity for homeless children.

Buy here

Scamp and Dude Children's Christmas Jumper
One of my favourite kidswear brands, Scamp and Dude have designed a Christmas jumper for the kids. All profits from the sale of this sweatshirt goes to Grief Encounter to help support children who have lost a parent.

Buy here

Here are some other suggestions: 
There are so many people out there struggling, who don't have any family and are alone, cold and potentially trying to escape their own personal hell. Please consider just buying one or two pressies for people you’ll never meet.

Give an elderly person a bit of company (£20 – £75) – or donate time for free!

Give back this Christmas in some way - every little helps! 

The Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017 **UPDATED**

12 December 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means it's that time of year where I don my Elf outfit and go into the world wide WebSphere to find some Christmas gift ideas for you lovely lot!

** I've spent that last few days scouring the internet once again for some more gift ideas - check them out below ** 

Go fourth and browse....Just don't blame me if you end up buying something for yourself (that may have happened to me when I was putting this post together) 

Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Christmas Beauty Gift Guide

Christmas Homeware Gift Guide

Womens Christmas Gift Guide

Kids Christmas Gift Guide

Men's Christmas Gift Guide

Under £50 Christmas Presents

Homeware for the festive season

10 December 2017

Festive homeware

I've been hosting Christmas at ours for the last couple of years now, and I always like to make our home that little more festive because of this. So, whilst browsing the world wide web this week, I found some great festive homeware pieces - some of them you could definitely use all year round (the practical buyer in me loves this!).

Dressing for the festive season

5 December 2017

December is that time of year where all the shops are full to the brim with sequins, shimmer, metallic and velvet - party season is upon us, and whilst I'm pretty comfortable spending Winter in my PJ's, I also have a couple of party commitments (is that a thing?).

The high street has enough pieces to get you feeling, and looking festive.  If you're stuck with what to wear to your work Christmas party, or you fancy a new outfit to wear on Christmas Day (any excuse, am I right?!) I've visited my favourite high street stores, and picked out an outfit in each - keeping in mind no one wants to look like a Christmas decoration.

Office Christmas Party with & Other Stories

& Other Stories Xmas outfit

Christmas Eve Drinks with Whistles
Whistles Christmas party outfit
Pins  / Silk top / Boots / Trousers / Bag / Earrings 

Christmas Day with Zara
Christmas outfit by Zara
Bag / Skirt / Jacket / Top / Boots / Headband

New Years Eve with Topshop
New Years Eve outfit inspiration from Topshop

12 hours in...Paris

29 November 2017

12 hours in...Paris
Visiting Paris is one of my favourite things to do, and with the city only 2.5 hours away from London by Eurostar, it’s easy enough to go for the day.
So, I thought I’d fill you in on what a typical day trip to Paris for me looks like! 

Angelina is always the first port of call when I get to Paris, grabbing one of their famous hot chocolates to go and heading to my favourite neighbourhood, Le Marais. 
12 hours in...Paris
When it comes to Le Marais I love the familiarity of it and the fact that it has everything Parisian written all over it, oh and the Chanel store is all sorts of beautiful. Grabbing a falafel to go from L’as du Falafel, macarons from Carette, and a few trinkets from Merci are my go-to things I have to do when in the city but, aside from those there is so much to do and see.
12 hours in...Paris
12 hours in...Paris
I have my favourite restaurants in the city, but I do try to visit a new one each time I’m over there. Pink Mamma is my newest favourite and an easy walk to Montmarte and the Sacre Coeur (more about the restaurant here). Sometimes though, I like to go back to an old favourite, Chez Janou in Le Marais as having some of their chocolate mousse is the best thing ever. 
12 hours in...Paris
12 hours in...Paris
12 hours in...Paris
If I have time, I try to go and see an exhibition - Paris always has something interesting going on, and currently you have the Christian Dior, Couturier du Reve at Musée des Arts décoratifs and Irving Penn at Le Grand Palais, both absolute must-sees. 
12 hours in...Paris
12 hours in...Paris
12 hours in...Paris
Then it's back to Gare du Nord to catch the Eurostar. I like to walk back to the train station instead of getting the metro, as the streets and buildings are so pretty to look at, and you never know what you’ll stumble across.

Paris is a dream, and I’ll never tire of visiting. 

The Weekly Edit: Statement Earrings

26 November 2017

One of the biggest accessory trends right now is statement earrings. I've been loving them for a fair few months now and, like the magpie I am, I can't walk past a display of sparkling statement earrings without taking a little peek.

Proving not to be just for the runways and red carpets, upgrade a casual daytime look – think a plain white t shirt, jeans and flats – by adding a pair of bold and colourful statement earrings. 

But rather than the glitzy chandeliers from seasons past, this time it’s all about modern structural designs, playful mismatched pairs and obnoxious shoulder-dusters. 

Ultra chic

Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color

23 November 2017

Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colors
  Over the last couple months, I’ve become slightly obsessed with lipsticks. For a girl that barely has a top lip, this may be a strange makeup obsession but during the Winter months I love to add a bit of colour to my daily makeup look, and throwing on a bit of lipstick is what I go for. 

 I have a lot of favourite makeup brands, and Bobbi Brown is one of them. One of their latest launches caught my eye. The Crushed Lip Color lipsticks are a total game-changer when it comes to the brands usual lip products - they’re designed to give a ‘blotted’ effect to your lips, which means if you don’t want to go for a super-bold lip, these are perfect for you. 
Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colors
 On application, the lipsticks themselves feel like a balm (thanks to the hit of vitamins E and C and beeswax) and the finish is not matte, nor glossy and they are so comfortable to wear. The washed-out looking pigment does what the Bobbi Brown team claim - a staying power of a lip stain (apparently 8 hours) and they do really stay on your lips for hours, fading as the day goes on but so beautifully I didn’t find myself wanting to re-apply. 
Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color swatch
 With 20 shades to choose from, there really is a shade for everyone. My favourites are Cabana and Regal. The packaging is colour-coded, and whilst it is slightly different to the usual classic Bobbi Brown packaging, I find this really useful for identifying which shade I’m going for, as I have a few colours! 

The perfect lipstick for that ‘undone beauty’ look we’re all dying to achieve. Head to your nearest BB counter now and get swatching. 

Buy online here

The Steam Hotel, Västerås, Sweden

16 November 2017

The Steam Hotel, Västerås
Traveling is a huge part of my everyday job, and I’m lucky enough to stay in some pretty decent hotels. But I've never been able to say I've immediately booked another stay at the hotel straight after I've checked out...until now.

The Steam Hotel is located in Västerås, about a 90 minute drive from Stockholm. Only opening in August this year, I stumbled across this hotel whilst looking at places to stay for our honeymoon, and knew I needed to visit it whilst in Sweden. 

The enormous building, which sits on the shores of Lake Mälaren, was once a steam power station, providing energy all over Sweden. Now, it’s home to a 227-bedroom hotel and spa, with several restaurants and a rooftop bar. Most of the industrial features have been retained inside - for example, an old steam boiler is now a bar.

Let’s take a look inside (Prepare yourself for lots of photos from here on in)
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The lobby itself is breathtaking. The huge space is framed by open steel beams, with an open fireplace taking centerstage. Big plump sofas and armchairs are dotted around, creating cosy areas perfect for curling up with a book and a glass of wine. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The main restaurant is on the ground floor of the hotel, behind the lobby area. Beautiful chandeliers and furniture create a cosy, intimate atmosphere when the sun goes down, and for breakfast, the area turns into a casual setting drenched in sunlight coming in from the floor to ceiling windows. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås

The bedrooms are designed with a ‘industrial-romantic style’, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Lake Mälaren. Exposed brickwork, and a mix of eclectic furniture with brightly coloured textiles feature throughout, and the beds are so comfortable, it's hard to leave them. The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
Above the restaurant is a mezzanine area, which features a champagne and gin bar (it's like they built this place for me!) as well as playing host to football tables, shuffleboard, a cushioned seated area to watch films, 2 private dining rooms, pool table, and a host of board and computer games. Perfect for the kids, or in our case, the big kids in us - who knew I was so competitive after a few glasses of champagne!?
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
We had two days at the hotel, and as our trip was all about relaxing and de-stressing, we decided to spend one of the afternoons properly chilling out at the hotel’s Spa. Located on the seventh floor, there’s an indoor pool and Sauna - heated by an old steam turbine salvaged from the building, treatment rooms and a relaxation room featuring huge beds big enough for two positioned around an open fire with copper chimney. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
Out of the dark, and into the light there's a conservatory-style area with huge beds, chaise lounges, and a bar playing host to a raw food menu as well as cocktails and juices. There’s even an outdoor heated swimming pool overlooking the lake. We took full advantage of the spa and spent the afternoon lazing around with the most stunning views. Bliss. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
After an afternoon of bliss, there was only one last place to go - the rooftop bar. With views across the lake and town, this place is perfect to watch the sun go down whilst sipping on a glass of something cold and fizzy. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
A hotel with everything you need all on one site - Could there be anywhere more perfect?

(I can't wait to head back in Spring!)