30 December 2012

Haul | 'rush-shopping' // unashamedly addicted to topshop

The other day I was feeling a bit blue. It was nearly Christmas, I was hormonal and was determined to be pathetic about life. And when I'm sad, I shop.

I had an hour and a half before I was due to meet some friends so I hopped on a bus to my nearest decent-sized Topshop and I rush-shopped.

Now, I like to think I'm a good person to shop with. When it comes to friends trying on clothes I would say I'm patient and encouraging and happy to go where they want and wait while they try. I advise, I compliment, I go and I fetch all manner of different sizes and colours without a moan in sight. When it comes to me shopping, however, I'm a machine, and I don't want anything stopping me. I rush-shop.

I was in, I was out. I spent £140. Need I say more?

I think the theme of the shop was 'wear with spanx'...

I'm hoping when I get around to trying these on again I'll have changed my mind and take at least two back...I could definitely do with a fair chunk of that money back, that's for sure.

I also got these snazzy little booties:

I bought my first pair of heeled boots a month or so ago and they are HIGH. So high I can barely walk in them and nearly fell over 3 times wearing them last week before I changed into my fabulously flat Chelsea boots and hurried on on my way, trip-free. These are a farrrr more sensible height. A very comfortable height actually. I wore them out for the first time that night and they were super comfortable and super easy to walk in. I paired them with black Topshop Leigh jeans and a cream strappy Topshop top - I think Sir Philip Green himself should write and thank me for keeping that store afloat. Anyway, at £45 and leather they are a seriously fabulous bargain, in Topshop terms at least.

I'm sure I'll be in a Topshop again soon now I'm flush with Christmas money and, in fact, a Topshop voucher. Mmmmmmm Topshop. But, until then, any advice on how to style those dresses would be most welcome. And anyone know where I can buy some spanx?..!

29 December 2012

Recipe | t'is the season to (stuff yourself and) be merry!

I've never been a great cook, cooking's not one of my things. I don't whiz things up and make it look easy as cake. I can, however, whip up cake, if I've got a half-decent recipe and a half-decent frame of mind.

I had decided that this Christmas I was going to make a Yule log and, considering mama Siddalee is vegan (and that I have avoided spending any money whilst being at home this Christmas), I made a vegan log. Generally, the recipe uses ingredients most non-dairy households would have in their kitchen cupboards/fridge and it makes a super-yummy chocolate cake relatively quickly and easily.

Siddalee's Chocolate Yule Log

(/Buche de Noel de Siddalee if we're being French about it)

What you'll need:
200 g / 7 oz self raising flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
30 g / 1 oz drinking chocolate powder
75 g / 3 oz soft brown sugar
225 ml / 8 fl oz water
85 ml / 3 fl oz sunflower oil
25 g / 1 oz chocolate drops

150 g / 6 oz vegan margarine
350 g / 12 oz icing sugar
60 g / 2 oz drinking chocolate powder


1. Preheat oven to gas mark 4 / 175C / 350F
2. Sieve all of the dry ingredients for the cake in a bowl and stir
3. Measure water in jug, add oil and stir (looks so pretty! lava lamp time!)
4. Add liquid to dry ingredients a bit at a time, stirring thoroughly and 
making sure the liquid is fulling mixed in before adding more


5. Add chocolate drops and beat the mixture
6. Pour mixture into a shallow tray lined with non-stick baking paper
7. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes/until cooked!

8. Tip cake onto baking paper, cut a shallow line 1.5 inches in 
and roll tightly, using baking paper. Leave to cool
9. Put margarine in a bowl and beat until fluffy
10. Mix icing sugar and chocolate powder together and mix into
margarine until even and smooth
11. Unroll log and ice all over before rolling up tightly without
baking paper
12. Ice the outside of the log, smoothing all over before running 
knife along lightly to make uneven ridges
13. Sprinkle icing powder for snow!

Now, seeing as this recipe is for a plain ol' round chocolate cake, I had some issues. Namely that it broke into 5 identical pieces when I rolled it. In the end I went for a layered effect...I managed to smush some of the broken bits to get 3 layers of cake which I iced before icing the top. Also after an hour or so the icing powder soaked up some of the icing moisture and went a bit hard and brown which actually added to the log effect, but don't sprinkle until just before serving if you don't want this! Overall it was delish, super yummy and chocolate-y and absolutely smothered in chocolate icing, just how I like things.

I've used this recipe before for a chocolate sandwich cake, just split into two greased cake tins and use icing for middle and outside. Cook for about 20 mins. If you're doing just one big lump o' cake, as the recipe suggests, cook for about 40 mins. I've doubled the amount of icing because the original recipe didn't give enough either time! Hope you make and enjoy!

It's Chriiiiiiistmaaaaaas!

Well, it was. And it was full of such festive joy! Thought I'd share a few snapshots!

Mama S made this little feast for Christmas breakfast before laying the table with all kinds of festive decorations. It was the first time we had Christmas just the two of us, without the crazy nans and extremely loud aunts and uncles and she worked so hard to still make it super Christmassy! She bought a snazzy little vegan box of goodies which had meat-free alternatives to pigs in blankets, turkey, gammon and even had some delicious balls of stuffing, my fave!! There was even roasted parsnips and mashed swede, it was SO GOOD.

As Mama S had to work Boxing Day I arranged to see my nan for lunch before meeting up with the rest of the clan. I wore my new Jack Wills winter leggings in the morning - ridiculously expensive but also ridiculously comfortable - and got stuck into making a yummy Yule Log. Recipe to follow!

Boxing Day also happens to be my aunt's birthday and it's often a bit more festive than the actual day in my family. Christmas is my one excuse for dressing nicely and getting all my special things out for an outing!

OOTD: Gold short-sleeved top and black Leigh jeans, (both Topshop), black Chelsea boots (Office) & Chanel necklace

Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer (no.2)
YSL Touche Eclat (1.5)
Elizabeth Arden Intervene foundation (no.03 Soft Sunbeige)
Rimmel Glameyes Day 2 Night Mascara (001 Black)
Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl (001 Black)
Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil (004 Black Brown)
MAC Pro Longwear Blush (Stay By Me)
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (Soft and Gentle)
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (Medium Dark)
MAC Lipstick (Amorous)

I had lunch (and games!!) at my nans before we went over to my aunts. For more games, natch. We're a pretty competitive family. Things can get preeeeetty tense.

There were even quizzes on our napkins... Seriously intense stuff.

I've also never had meatballs with anything but a tomato sauce...I don't know what this was but it was lemony and garlicy and utterly delicious. My aunt is such a culinary genius!

I've spent the last few days going to see my first ever ballet (amazing!!!) and catching up with friends which has all been lovely. I think this is the first Christmas I've really made the most of my free time and seen lots of people and gone to lots of lovely places. Working full-time really does make you appreciate a week off!