Baking - Mince Pies

Sunday, 10 December 2017

As many of you may have noticed, Christmas is fast approaching, and of course this means that it was about time for me to do some festive baking. In previous years, I have tried making some mince pies and considering that they turned out rather well, I thought that I would give them another go this year and share the recipe with you all in the process...


Ingredients

Mincemeat 
200g Plain Flour
40g Golden Caster Sugar
75g Ground Almonds
125g Unsalted Butter
1 Egg
Milk for glazing



Methods

1. Firstly, I buttered a cupcake tin, and then placed the flour, sugar, almonds and butter into a bowl and rubbed the ingredients together until they resembled breadcrumbs.
2. I then added an egg to bind the mixture together, before rolling the pastry together into a ball and placing in the fridge for around half an hour to chill.
3. Next, I rolled the pastry out on a floured surface and cut out 12 circles which I placed into the holes of the baking tray. Then, I added a spoonful of mincemeat to each one, before cutting out 12 more circles which I placed on top, pressing down the edges to seal them.
4. Before placing in the oven, I sliced a small cross in the top of each mince pie, and then brushed a small coat of milk on them too. They then went into the oven for around 20 minutes, when they were golden brown in colour.
5. After leaving to cool for a while, all that was left to do was to dust some icing sugar over the mince pies... and then of course, proceeding to eat them!

Hopefully this post got you all in the festive mood, because I know that baking mince pies certainly helped to get me feeling Christmassy...

Olivia xo

P.S. You can find a link to the original recipe HERE, however I did slightly alter it.

A Day In Birmingham

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Living in the Midlands means that Birmingham is just a short train journey away, and it is therefore somewhere that I often visit to shop and explore. Therefore, on one of my more recent trips into the city centre, I decided to take some photos of to show you all what I normally get up to in Birmingham, and where I like to visit...



Visiting a city quite often means that you get the chance to try out lots of places to eat and drink, and it was on a recent visit to Birmingham that I finally visited the Boston Tea Party. After passing this cafe several times before and seeing the good reviews that it receives on sites such as Trip Advisor, it was finally time to try out this lovely-looking eatery. 

I certainly wasn't disappointed by my experience in the Boston Tea Party either, as with it's cool and quirky interior, plus it's gorgeous range of cakes (I just had to try a chocolate brownie!), it is certainly only a matter of time before I visit again as all the food on their menu looked really good too!

Inside the Boston Tea Party Cafe...
...where I had the most gorgeous brownie



After a bite to eat, I then visited another cool place within the city - this time, I went to the Oasis, which is an alternative clothing shop full of independent sellers and lots of items of vintage clothing. The store was actually being refurbished when I last visited so some parts were closed off, but nevertheless, I still managed to find myself a Smiths shirt amongst the hoards of band t-shirts. What's more, there were also several other bits and pieces that I had my eye on (including some lovely culottes) which probably means that a return visit is on the cards in the future, especially considering that the store also houses a record shop too.

As wel as this, I also had to visit all my usual favourite shops within the Bullring (the main shopping centre in Birmingham City Centre), including HMV for a browse through the vinyl, Harper&Lewis which is a super cool vintage store, and also Selfridges where I managed to get a photo of the gorgeous Christmas decorations that have gone up.

Grand Central is also very handy for nice shops though, and is linked to the train station which is pretty convenient considering that that is my choice of transport into the city. Featuring a rather large John Lewis, I usually tend to pay a visit to Foyle's bookshop and Tiger whenever I visit this shopping area. However, it also contains some rather lovely looking restaurants that I am determined to try out in the future...

Christmas comes early to Selfridges


Taking the train home.

I really do love exploring cities, and with Birmingham being pretty local, it's always nice to visit different places there - therefore, I do hope that this post provided anyone who is perhaps going to Birmingham at some point with a bit of inspiration on where to visit.

Olivia xo

My (Recent) Favourite Things

Sunday, 26 November 2017

It occurred to me not so long ago that I haven't actually wrote up a 'favourites' post in quite some time. Therefore, instead of doing a monthly round up of the things that I have recently been loving, I decided to compile a small list of a few random things that I have obsessed with over the past few weeks...




 24 Hour Party People 

The first favourite thing that I'm going to mention today just has to be '24 Hour Party People', as not only is it a fantastic film that I discovered a couple of months ago, but also a pretty good book too. Based on the Manchester music scene and detailing the career of record label founder Tony Wilson, the film was right up my street considering that it focussed on things like punk music in the late 1970's, and also one of my favourite bands Joy Division. I then proceeded to have a read of the book too, as I really do love a good musically-themed novel - I certainly wasn't disappointed with that either due to how it gave a more in-depth look at the bits and pieces featured in the film.


Dr Martens

Over the past couple of months, I have virtually lived in my Dr Martens. At first, they did rub my feet a fair bit, but now they're rather comfy and so have ended up being paired with all manner of my outfits. What I really like about my DM's is that they seem to make even the most casual outfits just look that little bit more dressy - for someone who would probably otherwise wear trainers, this is an incredibly good thing, as these shoes do look really good with a lot of my autumn/winter outfits and will certainly be getting a fair bit of wear over the next few months.



A New Ring

I have really been looking to expand on my ring collection recently, as I have found that it's probably about time that I stop buying cheap rings that turn a funny colour after a few wears ( the amount of money I have spent on these sorts of rings is kind of ridiculous), and I'm instead trying to buy ones of a better quality. 

Accessorize have a particularly nice ring selection, and on a recent visit, after trying on a few different styles I finally opted for the cute one you can see in the image above. Made of Sterling Silver, I certainly didn't mind paying around £14 for this ring - I really love the simplistic style of it, plus the little black gem in the middle really appealed to me with it's wintry vibe.



Benefit Mini Concealer 

In terms of makeup, this little beauty has definitely proved pretty useful over the past few weeks, because not only is the concealer itself of a very good quality but the handy travel-size of the product means that I can easily pop it into my handbag to used when I'm out and about.

Due to it being the Airbrush concealer that Benefit brought out not too long ago, it is literally perfect at covering up any blemishes and red patches - plus, due to it's flawless application, it is easy to top up this product throughout the day without it looking all too cakey.


On a final (arguably pretty random) note, I feel like I have to mention my excitement at the approach of Christmas and the return of the dark nights. Every year I get excited for when the clocks go back, as it then feels like Christmas is finally on it's way, and although I do end up moaning about being cold a lot of the time, so far everything has been feeling pretty cosy so far with me being able to light my candles and put on my fairy lights!

Olivia xo

Affiliate Links have been used in this post.

Sweet Dreams with REN...

Sunday, 19 November 2017

I always feel pretty intrigued when REN let me know of a new item that they are soon to release, and this was to happen again just a couple of weeks ago when I learned of their new product, '& Now to Sleep'...

The idea of a scent that you spray onto your pillows and linen when you go to bed which helps you to relax before heading off to sleep, immediately appealed to me - as an A-Level student, I feel pretty accustomed to the stresses of school-work, and so this product seemed ideal to help create a more tranquil atmosphere for me of a night.





Containing a blend of frankincense and lavender, the smell of this spray is really quite comforting, and in my opinion, pretty perfect in creating a sense of warmth throughout the colder Autumn and Winter months. With it's adorable, perfectly designed packaging, I have so far really enjoyed spritzing a bit of this product around my bed of a night, as it creates a soothing atmosphere that ultimately smells pretty good.

What's more, I must also say how much I love the little bag that I received alongside me '& Now to Sleep' spray. Featuring a similar cute design to the packaging of my product, this bag is the perfect size to pop my new sleep spray into... however, I may well pop it into my handbag to use as a makeup bag too, because it's just so adorable!





After feeling pretty intrigued by this product from the off, I can say that within my first couple of weeks using it, it does seem to create a pretty calming surrounding for me to sleep in - of course though, I'm going to have to keep up with using it over the next few months to see how it helps me become more relaxed during say, exam season...

Olivia xo

You can find the '& Now to Sleep' Spray HERE

This post was sponsored by REN Skincare.

A New Bag

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A new season means a new handbag, right? Well, that's what I thought anyway, and so a few weeks ago I set about on a mission to find myself a new bag for the Autumn and Winter months.

After a few unsuccessful searches around the shops, I thought I would instead do a bit of online shopping, and eventually ended up on Bershka (one of my old favourites), where I found exactly the sort of handbag that I was looking for...

Out & About in Birmingham with my New Bag...
I had a few specific wants in my new bag: it needed to be black to match the majority of my Autumn/Winter wardrobe, it needed to have a cross-body strap, and it also needed to be big enough to fit all my necessities in, but at the same time not too massive (I know, I am a little bit picky). Anyway, the bag that I spotted on the Bershka website seemed to tick the boxes of all the above categories, and so I immediately decided to get it!

As you can hopefully see, this new bag of mine is pretty cute - for just £17.99, I have to admit that it was a bit of a bargain, especially when I have found the quality of Bershka items to be incredibly good in the past. I really love the look of it as despite being rather simple in terms of style, I can easily add a little something extra to it by tying my cute little M&S neck scarf onto it's handle. 






 What's more, it's also nice and roomy inside so fits all my bits and bobs in perfectly, and of course seems to pair well with the vast majority of my outfits. The long cross-body strap adds to the practicality, as it is pretty simple to just sling it across me when I am out and about, or have to carry additional bags (I do normally manage to accumulate a fair few shopping bags whilst out), which means that I have been using it pretty much every day recently and will probably carry on doing so for the foreseeable future.

Hopefully you all like my new handbag as much as I do... and if so, you can find it HERE.

Olivia xo

Affiliate Links were included in this post.
 
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