Tuesday, 21 October 2014

White Chocolate Snowflakes

Hello everyone,

With only nine weeks left now until Christmas, it's time to start writing wishlists, buying presents and practicing Christmas baking. I'm so excited for Christmas this year; particularly to see all of my family again and eat a nice, festive roast whilst pulling crackers and giggling at the awful jokes with a classic Christmas film blurring in the background. I'm really hoping it snows this Christmas too! Over the weekend, I decided to do some Christmassy baking as practice for when I take some of the baked goods home for my brothers and sisters to enjoy on Christmas Eve. I chose a simple biscuit recipe and adapted it with a twist of white chocolate. I hope you like it!
                              Ingredients:                                                               What you will need:
                                200g plain flour                                                                                 Scales
                     100g of butter or margarine                                                                 Mixing bowl
                               70g caster sugar                                                                          Wooden spoon
                       1 bar of white chocolate                                                                  
                                        1 egg                                                                                                                                                                                                                Preparation:
                                                                                                                                     Set oven to 170C
                                  Icing sugar                                                                            Line two trays with 
                         Silver decorative balls                                                                        baking paper
1. Add margarine, flour and chocolate to the bowl and rub together until a breadcrumb consistency is formed. 
2. Next, bind the egg and caster sugar together into a biscuit dough.
3. Sprinkle flour onto a clean work-surface and roll out the mixture (about 1 cm thick).
4. Using a star shaped cutter, print out the 'snowflakes' and place on a baking tray. Cook for 20 minutes.
5. Once cooked, leave to cool for around 30 minutes. 
6. Sprinkle icing sugar over each biscuit to create a snowy effect.
7. Ice each biscuit using glacé icing (I piped a snowflake on some and completely covered others).
8. Now it's time to be creative and decorate each snowflake however you like!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     These biscuits are really easy and fun to make - me and my boyfriend were getting quite competitive as to who could decorate the better snowflake! To create the snowflake shape, I used the star cookie cutters from the DotComGiftShop which were really simple to use and a bargain at £2.95.The DotComGiftShop is a great place to start buying Christmas presents from as all the gifts on site are cute and unique; there's definitely something for everyone. I'm really pleased with the end result of how these snowflake biscuits turned out; they would make a lovely gift wrapped in cellophane and tied with a cute festive bow for a friend or would be delicious accompanied with a rich hot chocolate served on a big plate for the whole family to enjoy.

Are you excited for Christmas? 


Monday, 6 October 2014

Turning 21: Cocktails, Chanel and Crazy friends!

Hello everyone,

A few Sunday's ago, I celebrated my 21st birthday and it was the best birthday I have ever had; I feel so lucky to have such amazing family and friends who all made my birthday week so special. I  celebrated my birthday early in the week with my family and came back to Sheffield on the Friday to start the weekend celebrations. Unbeknown to me, Emily was hurrying around in the kitchen trying to make my birthday cake on time (she was so happy when I missed my train and had an extra hour or so to add the finishing touches) and decorate the house with the help of my housemates. Once I finally arrived back to the house after a painfully long train journey, I was greeted by bunting, balloons, confetti and birthday banners which were all lovely. I particularly loved the balloon which had been personalised  with my name and 21st birthday in glitter. A short while later, we all headed down to the local pub for a meal (I had a massive burger) and a couple of drinks. After our meal we grabbed some alcohol and spent the rest of the night chilling, chatting and playing Mario Kart on the Wii. 

As the night before involved drinking and staying up late, much of Saturday was spent chilling in the house watching films and TV whilst slowly getting ready for the night ahead. As a birthday treat, I went and got my hair professionally styled at Conrad Blandford Hairdressing. I asked for a Kate Middleton style blow dry and felt like a princess all the way through the experience; Emily and I were treated to complimentary cocktails, I had a lovely head massage and various hair treatments as well as ending with a head of soft, bouncy curls. I'd definitely go there again for special occasions (maybe graduation). Admittedly, I had to touch a few curls up whilst getting ready, however, they lasted for a few days. After getting my hair done I finished getting ready for the party. I wore my Chi Chi London dress I bought about a month ago on sale at ASOS (a bargain at £28!). I love this dress so much; I love the delicate eyelash lace detail and the fit of the dress which creates a nice figure flattering shape with a party dress flare from the netting underneath. Once everyone was ready it was time to get the party started! After a few drinks the candles on the birthday cake were lit and everyone sang 'happy birthday' to me. The cake was so glittery (I love sparkle!), cute and very me and it tasted amazing too (I think I ate like half of it.. oops haha) thank you Emily!

As soon as birthday wishes were made, we played 'pass out' for quite a few hours which was hilarious as the tongue twisters got a lot harder to say as the night went on. Lots of silly photos were taken throughout the night as you can see... the girls wanted a nice photo but the boys would not cooperate- they just wanted to do crazy poses! After taking some time to get a half decent photo of us all together, we headed straight to a fancy cocktail bar for a drink and made a toast to my birthday as the clock struck midnight. I can't really remember exactly which clubs and cocktail bars we went to (oops) but we went to a few places after that and got back rather late. It was such a good night!

On the morning of my birthday we all went to Fancie for breakfast to make us feel better from all the alcohol that was consumed the night before. We all ordered a cocktail once we got there which probably wasn't the best idea as we were all feeling quite rough. The majority of us ordered a full English Breakfast and others ordered pancakes and omelettes.It was so lovely to all go out for breakfast together and I'm hoping that we do it again sometime soon. After our breakfast it was time to open presents; my lovely housemates bought me a beautiful Pandora bracelet with a symbolic sparkly key charm which I have been constantly wearing. My boyfriend got me a cocktail shaker (which I haven't used yet but can't wait to!), Hotel Chocolate hot chocolate (the best hot chocolate ever) and some strawberry cheesecake chocolates. I opened presents from my family a few days before my birthday and was spoiled with Chanel perfume, chocolates, other bits and bobs and money which I have already spent on new clothes! To end the day off perfectly, my boyfriend cooked me a lovely cottage pie which tasted amazing. After our meal we watched a girly film (my choice of course) whilst stuffing our faces with birthday cake - the best way to end any birthday! 

Thank you to all of my friends and family who made my birthday special - I love you all!


Friday, 19 September 2014

21st Birthday Celebrations

Hello everyone,

This Sunday I celebrate my 21st birthday; I feel so old! I decided to go home for a few days to see family and friends a few days before my birthday as I will be celebrating in Sheffield with my friends from university over the weekend. I hadn't been home in a few months so I was so excited to be going home once I got on the train.
 When I arrived home I was surprised with a lovely box of cute personalized cupcakes by Betty Bluebird Cupcakes from my mum; it was such a nice surprise to start my 21st birthday week off! All the cakes have now gone as they were so delicious (and because I love cake... I think I definitely ate the most). The rest of the evening was spent with family having a little party with lots of food and a big catch up.
The following day was a real treat as my granny took me on a day out. We went to Lytham which is a picturesque town with cute, little shops, a big windmill and a seaside view which I have been to many times before when I was little. First of all, we stopped for a little coffee break to start the day and had a long chat and gossip about what we had been up to over the past few months. After that we had a wander around the shops and my granny bought me a lovely tartan scarf from New Look which I can't wait to wear this Winter.
Searching for a place to eat was rather difficult as all the restaurants looked amazing and after many belly rumbles and looking all the menus, we decided to eat at SpagóSpagó is a luxurious Italian restaurant with traditional, hearty Italian food. I loved the elegant interior and the fact you could see the chefs cooking the food.  I chose the spaghetti bolognese with crispy panchetta which tasted incredible, however, I thought the portion was a bit too big for me. My granny chose the lasagna which looked and smelled delightful; I'd probably choose that next time if I go again. Once we'd eaten, we went for a nice walk along the beach whilst eating ice-cream before heading back home. I had such a lovely day; I love it when my granny takes me on days out!
My mum took me and my sister to the beach on Thursday with Nancy and Rocky (our new puppy) and treated us both to lunch. After lunch we went for a nice long walk along the pier in the September sunshine with the dogs; they were very tired after their long walk and slept the whole journey home!
    On Thursday night, I spent the evening with my two best friends Lucy and Bethany. We all got a little dressed up and went for a meal at a lovely Italian restaurant called The Olive Press. I had the most delicious pepperoni pizza whilst Lucy and Bethany both opted for fancy pasta dishes. This was all washed down with a glass a few glasses of Pinot Grigio Sparkling Rosé, giggles and a gossip till late.

Up to now I've had such a lovely week; I can't wait for the weekend!


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Northern Blogger Meet Up

Hello everyone,

A few weeks ago I went to my first ever blogger meet up and I'm so glad I did. Initially, I was quite nervous as I didn't know any of the other bloggers there (apart from Emily) but there was definitely no need as everyone was so lovely and easy to talk to. The meet up took place at Eten Cafe; a cute little place to eat located in the city centre. With friendly staff and delicious food on offer such as full day breakfasts, burgers and light lunches this would be a nice place to go out for lunch if you're passing through Sheffield. I opted for the classic Eten burger which was amazing (and very messy)! I'll definitely go again sometime but I think I'd choose the all day breakfast which looked and smelt incredible!

After chats on beauty, fashion, and sharing blogging tips whilst tucking into our lunch, Lush came in to give us a talk on their company, ethos and products. I found their talk really informative and interesting and was really intrigued when they mentioned about the Lush Spa. In particular, their 'synaethesia' treatment sounded amazing with an 80 minute massage with bespoke music and fine fragrance - I so want to try that! I also loved hearing about their charity pot and how much their company helps those in need; they help many charities  local and worldwide, focusing on the environment, animal protection and human rights. After the talk we were all lucky enough to receive a goody bag from Lush which contained a bath bomb, shampoo and eye cream. I was so excited when I saw the bath bomb as there's nothing better than coming home after a long day and getting into a warm bath bomb filled relaxing bath!
Two Benebabes from Benefit arrived next armed with Benefit goody bags containing a full sized They're Real Mascara and the much coveted They're Real Push-Up Liner (how generous!). The Benefit girls were lovely and gave us all great insight into the background and origins of their company and products as well as giving demonstrations and helpful beauty tips such as eyebrow mapping. We also got a sneak preview of their upcoming Christmas range which looks amazing - I really want the Benefit advent calender!

I left the day with new friends, blog ideas and a bag bursting full of goodies. A lot of effort clearly went into creating the goody bags as you can see! I'm most excited to try the Manuka Doctor face masks so I'll let you know soon what I think of those. Thank you to Faye (Lace, Louboutins and Leather) for letting me use your camera for the day and thank you to to CatherineKat,Tori and Kirstie for hosting such an amazing event, I'll definitely be going to more blogger meet ups in the future!

Have you ever been to a blogger meet up?


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Student Box Swap

Hello everyone,

Emily and I are now approaching our third and final year at university and have just moved into a new house together with some of our friends from last year (moving house is so hectic, we haven’t had any internet for the past month, which explains our lack of blogging lately!). As a way of making up for our absence from the blogosphere, we decided to create a ‘Student Box Swap’ which we hope will encourage student bloggers to get to know each other, share experiences and discover new blogs as well as gaining a box of surprises in the post before the new term begins. We’ve had the idea for a while and think it will be fun so we hope some of you join in! The Student Box Swap #StudentBoxSwap is for both current and new students starting university or college in September in the UK.

The box is to be filled with all things which you think your fellow student blogger will like. To make the box more fun, one item within the box must be something that you consider as a ‘must have’ to survive through college/university. This could be a product you found vital during fresher’s week, an item you couldn’t survive without during exam season or simply something you think your student blogger partner will love.

Here are just a few ideas of what you could put in the box…
-A cute home accessory
-Quirky stationary
-Drinking game
-DVD and sweets

Feel free to email laurenslittleblogs@gmail.com or aletterfromem@gmail.com if you have any questions. Please comment below if you would like to participate in the Student Box Swap and leave your email address so either Emily or I can email you once you’ve been paired with another student blogger.

An email will be sent out to you on the 28th of August with the name and email address of your blogger pairing, so if you want to take part please comment before this date. Once you have been paired with someone you will be able to get to know one another and find out what each other likes (which may be useful when filling your box!), check out each other’s blogs and buy items to fill the box with.

The budget for filling the swap box is between £10-£15, no more; no less (we want it to be fair for everyone! J). Boxes are to be sent out between the the 8th-14th September, just before the first semester begins. We hope some of you would join our Student Box Swap; we’re excited to hear from you! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #StudentBoxSwap on twitter for more information and updates!

Student Bloggers taking part so far...
Emily-Jane www.elature.blogspot.co.uk
Fatiima www.alittlebloglife.blogspot.co.uk
Anna www.annainwonderland.co.uk
Emily www.aletterfromem.blogspot.co.uk
Me www.laurenslittleblogs.blogspot.co.uk