Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Memory Lane and a Happy New Year: 2013-14

Chinese; why not?
For those of you standing beside myself who are regrettably not as loquacious and lingual to speak or understand Chinese: it means hello.

And I shall add to it now with a great big welcome and a preposition. Go and get comfy; go and get something to drink; or, if you're peckish, rustle up something to eat. Because, I tell you now, this will be a long post.

This year was a year of healthy eating - after which I am proud to say that I have managed to lose some desired weight. It was the year I made new friends and saw several new additions to the family. It was also the year that I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital; but more importantly, the year I was supported and learnt the true meaning of family and friends.

January was the month I got my gorgeous, wonderful, cheeky little bunny: Domino. He is now a confident, lively little soul who fills our day with endless poop-cleaning and lovely little cuddles. January was also the month I became best friends with Bea; forever to be my little Beatwix. 
February was a quiet month. Nothing much happened during this time. It was the month of my sister's birthday and she turned nine. It was also the month that I had to spend some time in hospital.

March was again filled with bundles of laughter; through my birthday and birthday party. I turned thirteen so you could say I came of age. Stereotypically I then became a teenager - wit woo, I felt all grown up. It was the month that I had been planning for for who-knows how many months ahead. I hosted a vintage tea party - in accordance with my love of all things vintage - for my birthday party. I loved it so much: the bunting; the pink lemonade; the old fashioned sweet shop;  the petit fours, cupcakes, fruit tarts and many more sugary delights! 

And that brings us on to April. April was the month I went back home and visited my friends and family in South Africa. I spent quality time with people I had never seen before, made new friends, saw old friends and enjoyed the two weeks staying with my family. 

May, June and July were quiet months and very hot months. We had a very lovely, hot summer this year which meant we could spend more time outside. You would probably have found me frolicking in some lavender meadow beside a cherry-blossom tree or swimming in a natural lake (if I remember correctly; I think I actually did that!) during these months. I remember having lots of barbecues, lots of picnics and spending lots of time with friends. It was an amazing summer!

August was the month I went on my summer holiday with my family to Provence and the French Riviera. It was a relaxing month to take a break from everything and just enjoy family-time, enjoy being in a country I had never been in before, enjoy seeing new places and tasting new foods. It was also the month I tried mussels for the first time and found them delicious!

In September I went back to school after the splendid summer holidays. I was faced with a new year filled with new expectations and preparations for the upcoming GCSEs. 

October was another quiet month. This month was Halloween: I dressed as a pirate. Not much really happened this month.

November was the month I started blogging - and I am very pleased that I did so. I did many posts on preparing for Christmas, baking and wrapping gifts and whatnot. It was also the month that I spent a loot of time in hospital and had a big operation - which thankfully I am now fully recovered from and well. It was sadly the month that my Grandpa died but also the month that he found a more peaceful home.

December was the month of Christmas, of sparkly lights, merriments, festivities, gift-giving and receiving and another month of blogging. Christmas is my most favourite time of the year and I absolutely loved this month. It is now 20:44 on New Years Eve and so it is also the month of looking back on the past, on the year; being thankful for family, friends and what we have. 

By golly, that was 2013 in a nutshell and it brings us smoothly onto 2014.

Happy New Year everyone,
Did you all have a wonderful year? Let me know in the comments below!
Get excited for tonight!
Love you always,
Dani xxx

Groovy Salt Dough Gift Tags

Bonjour little darlings,
Are we all well?

This is just going to be a quick one amidst my busy day. I have been hurtling around all afternoon doing endless whatnots and to-do's. 

This picture is from the start of this week, I just have not had any time to write this post yet, what with all the end of year going-ons. 
I made these gift tags with salt dough, pressed or cut shapes into them and baked. Then I painted them and left to dry.

I do hope that was inspirational!

Have a good new year,
Love you always,
Dani xx

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas Day Breakfast and The Big Meal

A good morning, good afternoon and good evening to you all, complete with a hearty squashing hug.

Before I begin, I tell you now, this may be a lengthy one so it would be wise to grab any edible substances within an arms-length radius and hoard until one feels peckish, or, quite like me, ravenous. Suggestions could include the ever-popular tea and biscuits to fill in as a light snack; something more heart, warming a nod festive such as a soup; or, the wisest option, in my opinion: a full on roast. Get comfortable, pile up the pillows, snuggle down in the duvets, stretch out over the grass. If you happen to be on or in, either a hammock,  a homemade den or a tent - for whatever reason (well done to you). 

And scroll on...

It has indeed been Christmas Day and I do hope you all had a most splendid time, filled with laughter, joy and many a well wishing! I greatly enjoyed spending the day with my family and just enjoying the moment for the moment; so there are not many pictures. I do think it would be a bit of light fun to take a gander through the days photos to gain ideas or whatnot for any other fanciful day, night, event or maybe you just feel like going glamourous on full whack at any random, absurd or un-given time (and I would applaud you for it). The menu was rather versatile so I imagine you would be able to rustle up something similar at any time, throughout the year, not just Christmas; alternatively, there is still next year.

P.S. The pictures are not in order, sorry.

We had French toasted croissants, dolloped on Mascarpone cheese, drizzled over some berry coulis and dusted in icing sugar. Simply scrumptious and terribly easy to make, if one bakes the croissants the day before. 

The centrepiece: the turkey. Soaked in orange juice and smothered in maple syrup and covered in bacon rashers. Such a eye-catching beauty, in its own way. And of course, the platter is adorned with apricot, sage and cranberry stuffing balls and devils-on-horseback (dates/prunes wrapped in bacon). 

Red cabbage and Parmesan roasted potatoes - so scrummy!

The delicious green bean, chorizo and roast nuts salad.

How can one not have Yorkshire Puds on a Roast Dinner table? And naturally, in the Christmas spirit, complete with honey roasted carrots and parsnips.

The starter was scallops and chorizo in a chilli, citrus and chive vinaigrette. Went down a treat!  

 Being traditionally lazy, we bought a Brussels sprout, Stilton, bacon and bread crumb bake from Aldi. It was so nice and such a treat. A nice alternative to plain Brussels sprouts.

All plated up...

And there we have it, the foody pictures from Christmas Day. Hopefully you did not find them too boring and maybe even had a bit of inspiration. 

Have a wonderful Christmas season,
Love Dani x

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Wonderful, Wacky Watercolour Gift Tags

Ahoy there fellas,

Are we all having a simply splendid day? I certainly hope so.
I am absolutely shattered out of my bones after a full day of crafting and so, after flopping down on the welcoming sofa, I am now posting this.

My watercolour gift tags.

I saw this brilliant easy idea on the 'eat drink chic' blog and seeing as nothing else was planned for today; gave it a whack. I honestly think they turned out spiffingly well - truly, the bee's knees!

I cut the tag shapes; made magic with the hole punched; painted on my watercolour paints; cut and stuck on the words... And voilà!

Do enjoy this quick read and give these tags a whirl,
Let me know what you think?

Love Dani

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Sparkly Christmas Outfit

Seasons Greetings!

I do believe it is that time of year again: Christmas! Yes, it's time to let the festivities really begin; add a bit of sparkle and glitter to all that you do and have a very merry time.

This is my Christmas outfit - complete with a grand amount of sequins, sparkle, and gems. 

  • Plain black long sleeve cotton t-shirt
  • Sparkly sequin black play-suit
  • Black stockings with black gems on

On Christmas Eve (and probably New Years Eve, too), I completed the outfit with my darling silver glitter peep-toes; for a bit of glitz and glamour. On Christmas Day; where comfort is necessary; I wore it with my burgundy patent Doc Martens.

I am so excited! I'm sitting by the tree, staring longingly towards the tree of gifts and decorations: calling my name. The suspense is really building! I hope you all have a lovely Christmas day too and spend it with your loved ones, relax, don't get too stressed and enjoy the day. Be sure to let me know what you wore in the comments below!

Loving you all,
Merry Christmas,
Dani xxx

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

DIY Christmas Nails

L Thumb: Nude Pink base. White snowflake nail-art. Silver Glitter topcoat.
R Thumb: Gold Shimmer Base. Clear Topcoat.

L Index Finger: Nude pink base coat. Green Christmas tree nail-art; Gold, Orange, Purple, Blue, Pink dots (baubles). Clear topcoat. 
R Index finger: Nude pink base coat. Green holly leaves nail-art; red dots (holly berries). Clear topcoat.

L Middle Finger: Gold Shimmer base coat. Clear topcoat. 
R Middle Finger: Gold Shimmer base coat. Clear topcoat.

L Ring Finger: Red Glitter base coat. White candy-stripe nail-art. Clear topcoat.
R Ring Finger: Red Glitter base coat. White snowman nail-art; Brown lines (arms/sticks); brown dots (buttons). Clear topcoat.

L Little Finger: Gold base coat. Clear topcoat.
R Little Finger: Nude pink base coat. Silver glitter topcoat.

I love you, darlings,
Dani x

PS. Have a very merry Christmas

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Hot Chocolate Gift Hamper: Requested

Hello darlings,

This blog post was requested by a reader so I am trying to do it justice. I was asked to do a sort of follow up to a previous post. However, as I was preparing and taking pictures and what not, a slight problem occurred. I was asked to do a post on a home-made, DIY 'hot chocolate themed' and 'movie night themed' Christmas gift hampers (wow, that was a mouthful!), which I mentioned I would be doing in the future.

 As I was thinking and making the hampers, I decided not to do the 'movie night theme' one as I didn't have enough people to give it to. I did do the 'hot chocolate one but I kind of mixed a bit of the 'movie night theme' one into it. So after that ramble, in conclusion, I have only one hamper to show you, not two, but it is a hybrid (sounds fancy) of the two.

Another problem: please do excuse my unorganised-ness, I feel deeply sorry and rather ashamed. I have already given away the hamper to my nearest and dearest (before taking any pictures), leaving me with no hamper to flash before your eyes!

I have been able to take the following picture of some home-made chocolate dippers, which I plan to give as a gift to another friend on their own, not as part of a large hamper. I'll try to describe everything I put into the hamper so you can know exactly all the details etc. so you will have some trifling (I feel like this is the wrong word) inspiration. I am so very sorry that I do not have more to offer!

As you can see, I've used the gift tags I made earlier on in November and a heart shaped cookie (bought from IKEA, iced, and then presented as being 'entirely home-made') to give the wrapping a bit of sparkle and oomph. I've tied everything together with an adorable, darling little baker's twine which I bought on eBay about six months ago. It has come in very handy when I've been doing crafting or scrap-booking and especially now that it's gift-wrapping time. I just love baker's twine! 

I'll quickly run through how I made the hot chocolate dippers because I probably should do a separate post on them but I'm not sure if I will as I only have this one image to work with.

I melted chocolate - I am not afraid to say, they were the stores own brand, extremely cheap, nothing special chocolate slabs as I do not think you need luxury chocolate for this as it all tastes the same once you have melted it and added what not. I was lazy and melted it with boiled water from the kettle in a bowl and a glass bowl with the chocolate cracked into on top. You should really do it on the stove because it's quicker; but, you know, I have no objection to being lazy. 

Then I poured the melted chocolate into little shot glasses (but you could pour them into the spoon bit of a spoon). I pushed a skewer in (but don't do this if you're using a spoon), and decorated with Christmas-must have mini marshmallows.

I left them to cool and then ran some hot water over the glasses and the dippers slip right out.


In my hamper, I included:

  • A pale blue mug (from IKEA)
  • A good light read (I chose Katie Fforde's love stories)
  • A pair of fluffy sleep socks (from Primark)
  • The home-made chocolate dippers
  • A milk frother (from IKEA)
  • Snowmen shaped marshmallows (from IKEA)
  • A fluffy grey and white throw/fleece blanket (from IKEA)

If I were to do it again, I might have included some luxury biscuits or a flavoured syrup for the hot chocolate.
I think you could easily change the chocolate dippers for some coffee beans or luxury coffee. 

Sorry again for the lack of photos, I do hope you enjoyed this post and got some inspiration for your own gift hampers or at least now know how to make hot chocolate dippers.

Enjoy the merriments,
Joyeux Noel,
Dani xxx

Our Vintage Christmas Tree: through Pictures, Word and Song

Good evening my darlings.

This is a last minute post from me to you; a virtual goodnight. I will try and make this a quick one, but I must warn you, there are rather a lot of snaps. 

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blaetter!
Du gruenst nicht nur,
zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im WInter,
wenn es schneit,
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blaetter!

(Oh yes, German, are you not all impressed!? I think it's spelt right but I'll blame it on Dad.)

The Christmas season is upon us and the festivities have begun. 
I have been meaning to do this post for quite some time now, I just haven't got around to it. We've been busy adorning the tree and house with many star-spangled festal decorations. We went with a traditional red and green colour scheme but we also had a 'vintage, Victorian, handmade' theme throughout. So all our decorations were wooden, or passed down over the ages, also some bought but they are very cute and vintage-y!

I thought it would be fun to share some of the memories with you all so you cam see how it looks. Enjoy x.

Since about two years, it's become a bit of a family tradition to go tree chopping (sounds fancy doesn't it?). However, it's not all it sounds. The tree's are usually very bald or lopsided and have a rather irritating tendency to die on us before Christmas Eve is even anywhere near. So this year, still sticking with a real tree (because who, just who, doesn't love that smell?!), we decided to buy our tree from Tesco's - they have really good deals on right now, in case anyone's interested. The tree is a very nice size, a bit empty around the top but, all round, a great choice. I think the 'roughness' of it adds to the home-made theme somewhat. 

We've strung our tree lights round the tree to add some twinkle and then continued on to add the many decorations (which are gradually getting more and more by the day, leading up to a boundless mass of glittery ornaments). 

We have a few of these on the tree this year. It's a little wooden hand-carved rocking horse which is part of a delightful set of various different Christmassy wooden figurines. 

These are another two of the nicest decorations on the tree. I just think the darling mouse is so cute and I love the little stocking. 

This is a gorgeous wooden decoration that was given to us by my Mom's friend and I just adore it. It has a little etched design of two reindeer and a Christmas tree and a pretty border around the edge. How sweet?!

These were both bought in the Disney store a couple of years ago and I am literally swooning at the sight of them. I think they are the most enchantingly beautiful decorations ever. The Minnie Mouse is made from metal and has a little bauble bell at the bottom and the other is a glass bell with Tinkerbell hanging inside. So pretty!

This is a handmade straw decoration which matches the theme perfectly. I think they were my Oma's and we've inherited them - we have loads of different ones: snowflakes, stars.

And there the pictures end, but the jolly times are not;
Have a very Merry Christmas,
Love Dani xxx

PPS. It's now been a two-day long post.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

My Vintage Room Tour

Hello again darling,

I do hope you are all having a groovy day? 

Now are you all comfy as this is going to be a long one. Are you perched on slumped or maybe on a hammock (applause to you, my friend)? And have you all replenished your supply of biscuits or maybe you were feeling tremendously empty and felt the need for a full-on feast. Which ever took you fancy, I hope this will to.

I've been wanting you to feast your eyes upon my room for quite some time now. I am rather proud of it, you see. It has taken me quite a bit of re-positioning before this was achieved. The vintage flare runs throughout. 

I was actually thinking that after all my efforts, cleaning, sourcing ideas, DIYing and then repeating once more; that there might be a few tips or ideas you could magpie. Let me know in the comments if you like it or anything you would change that you think would make it, how shall we say, charming. 

  • Little things to look out for that make the room a bit more special and personal include:
  • My grandma's rose pink porcelain trinket box (on my dressing table to store my earrings in)
  • My vintage magnets (bought in a boutique store in Clarens, South Africa - on my white board)
  • The three antique plates hanging on my wall (my mom's which she inherited)
  • The pig-leather travel luggage bag (on top of my shelf cupboard, it was my dad's, bought on one of his many travels many decades ago)
  • My floral head wreath on the wall (made at my best-friend's birthday party)

Enjoy x

PS. The photo's are not in order.

My makeshift dressing table. Works a treat actually!

My grandma's rose pink trinket box. It's a bit chipped at the side but I think this adds to it's history. 

The little wooden ladybird was made by me at a craft fair. It's etched into the wood.

My desk. The place where mind miracles happen.

My shelf cupboard. The top shelf is home to my dad's old leather travelling bag but the shadow is towering over slightly. Underneath are the cream metal tins and the two wooden woven baskets with clothes and socks in. And finally, at the bottom, is my dressing table shelf. 

I keep my jewellery in this sectioned box which my Mom made and she used to keep tea in. I've 'borrowed' it.

My vintage magnets: one advertising M. Singer and Son's Lemon Soda, the other advertising Alpen Glow's Pale Dry Ginger Ale.

My shelves on the wall. 

My DIYed chair. We (me and my mom) made this last summer. We sanded down an old garden chair that wasn't being used and re-painted it white. Then we added a cushion on the seat.

My sunglasses hanger, hanging from hooks on the shelves.

My mannequin. I got this for Christmas one year, after months and months of endless pleading and begging. Recently, I've glammed it up a bit with broaches and necklaces which were acquired after a raid through Mom's jewellery drawer. 

My floral head wreath on the wall.

A close up of my mannequin. I've also added some safety pins and sewing pins for extra sparkle.

Hanging on my wardrobe handles.

My beautiful bunting!

Excuse the darkness but this is my chandelier.

And so after that rather rambling post, I hope you are all of to re-design your own or someone else's rooms; or at least enjoyed looking at mine. Hopefully it didn't bore your socks off!

Get busy!
Love Dani x