Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Books are Amazing... April Edition!

Welcome to the April edition of what I like to call Book Club. Although it's not really anything like a book club, as we aren't all reading the same book and discussing it over wine. But we ARE talking about books, and I'm pretty drunk right now.

This month's Book Clubber is the lovely Alex from Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks. She has lovely taste in books, dresses and country houses. That's good enough for me! Take it away, Alex...


Thanks for letting me invade your blog, Sarah!

I’m Alex and I am a complete bookaholic – I read fast and I read a lot (over 300 books a year). You might wonder from looking through this list of my favourites if I ever bother with books published after about 1985. I do, I promise! It's just that I read so much that books have to really stand out in order to make it anywhere near my favourites list. I'm sure some newer ones will jostle their way onto it soon but for now, these are my best beloved books:


Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I can't even tell you how much. Looking at how many copies of it I own might help illustrate my love for it though. I love it so much that I want to shout to the world about how amazing it is but I have to fight that constant battle of people being judgey about romance novels. Lots of people scorn Georgette Heyer and lump her in with Barbara Cartland and all the modern Regency rubbish romances. These people are idiots. She basically created the genre of Regency romance, although her books are so much more than that. A lot of them are comedies of manners, some are mysteries, some are straightforward historicals; all of them are immaculately, captivatingly written. Devil's Cub is my absolute favourite of all her books and probably my favourite book ever, by any author.

This is a Georgian romance rather than Regency and is a sequel of sorts to These Old Shades which is also rather glorious, although you don’t need to read them in order. Dominic, the Marquis of Vidal, is a very wild young man; a reckless gambler, drinker and dueller (totally swoon-worthy though!). Mary Challoner's younger sister Sophia, a rather ditzy piece, is about to flee to France with him when he's forced into exile but Mary intercepts a note and takes Sophia's place (masked, of course) in order to save her reputation. Well as you might imagine, things don't go exactly to plan. It's a tremendous romp through France with elopements, shootings, duels, fibs and confusions aplenty and a wonderful hero and heroine. Please don't be put off if you don't like girly books or romances - give one a go and judge it on the quality of the writing and storytelling. She puts most authors to shame.


A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones
I've loved this book for years and years.  Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favourite authors and this book is the perfect example of her inventiveness, sense of humour and amazing skill.  Her books may technically be for children but there's never the slightest hint of pandering to her audience. They're quite often deeply steeped in mythology and folk literature (try Fire & Hemlock or The Homeward Bounders for two of her best). That doesn’t apply quite so much to this book but the concept behind it is just as fascinating. It starts in Britain in 1939 where Vivian Smith is being evacuated from London.  Only she never quite makes it to the safety of the countryside because she's promptly kidnapped from the train station by Jonathan and Sam (two boys who are under the impression she's a different Vivian Smith) who then whisk her off to Time City.  The city is set in a patch of space and time outside history - the people there observe and maintain history and stop it from going wrong.  But now the city itself is now starting to crumble, the Time Ghosts are behaving in unexpected ways and history is going critical. 

It's complicated to explain why this is happening and even more complicated to explain why Vivian, Jonathan and Sam start venturing into the Unstable Eras of history in search of missing polarities, so I suggest you read it yourself! DWJ's writing is an absolute treat and Time City is practically a character in its own right, with the most intriguing mixture of technology and traditions.  I think perhaps you're meant to feel a bit sorry for Vivian, having been hauled out of her normal life into this exotic and baffling place, but I just want to be her, having lessons with Dr Wilander, wearing one of Elio's favourite outfits, joining in with the mayhem of running around to find Sempitern Walker's ceremonial clothes and trying the thing that I think everyone remembers this book for.  BUTTERPIES!  If you don't want to eat one of those, there's no hope for you.


The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson
Oh, how I wish this book had a different title. It was originally published as The Countess Below Stairs (presumably they thought shoving the word secret in made it sound jazzier?) but that's not great either. I'd like it to be called something a bit less twee because I’m sure it puts people off picking it up in the first place. If they knew how utterly charming and captivating it is, they’d be buying ten copies at a time and throwing it at their friends. It was the first of Eva Ibbotson's books that I ever read and I loved it so much that I now own everything she's ever written, even the books that are solidly aimed at the under 5 market. This one in particular is my go-to comfort read. It's not complicated or issue-ridden, it's just a very good story, wonderfully well written and described. Even after umpteen re-readings, there are still parts of it that make me bite my knuckles and whimper (p237, I'm looking at you. Oh my god. Rupert kills me every time).

The (not-so) Secret Countess is Anna Grazinsky, part of an aristocratic Russian family who have had to flee their homeland during the Bolshevik Revolution and start a new life in England, in much reduced circumstances. She goes to work as a maid at Mersham, a large country house which has been a bit unloved during the war years and is now being spruced up for the return of the new Earl and his new (and extremely rich) fiancée. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would be all cliches - swooning embraces behind the potted plants, cardboard characters and the evil fiancée destroying their happy little world. It's not. It's magical. Well ok, Muriel is a complete horror and she does manage to upset an awful lot of people, but even that is is done beautifully in a very insidious sort of way. The characters, even the minor ones, are so real and vivid that the worlds of Mersham and post-WW1 London sparkle to life.


Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson
Speaking of charming books, let me introduce you to another one. Miss Pettigrew is an utter delight of a book and I’m pretty sure I’ve recommended it to everyone already. On the off chance that I haven’t, let me inform you that it is brilliant and you need to go out and buy a copy immediately. It fills me with complete joy when I read it and there aren't many books that I can say that about.

It takes places over the course of a single day and starts off with a misunderstanding. Miss Pettigrew goes for a job interview (the wrong job, as it turns out) and is swept up into the fun and chaotic world of Delysia LaFosse and her various friends, acquaintances and lovers. There’s a makeover, several parties, a bit of carousing and some excellent examples of how to tell off alpha males. Oh, it’s magical. I might be making it sound like virtual candyfloss here but it has a definite bittersweet edge. Miss Pettigrew is in really dire straits at the start of the book and she can't entirely shut out her poverty-stricken reality, even when surrounded by a dizzying whirl of champagne, silk frocks and nightclubs. I love the way she blossoms throughout the book and discovers a version of herself that she didn't know existed. It's not entirely a fairy tale but I think it's the twentieth century version of one.


China Court by Rumer Godden
Another book featuring a country house. Yes, I know I’m predictable. But I am a complete sucker for any book where the house is just as much of a character as any of the people that live in it and China Court, a house in Cornwall, is every bit as interesting as the Quin family who live there. I devour Rumer Godden’s descriptions of it each and every time I read the book. Her prose is sumptuous. If I started quoting sections to show you what I mean then I'd be here all day. It's that good.

I hesitate to label this book as a family saga because it’s definitely not one of those awful potboiler novels where everyone mopes around Oop North wearing clogs and having lots of incestuous, illegitimate children. This does cover five generations of the Quin family but it’s beautifully written and very cleverly structured. It swirls around the generations, skipping backwards and forwards in time from the 1860s to the 1950s and telling little parts of the various stories of the Quins that don’t really fit properly together until the very end of the book. The resolution is so neatly tied into the intertwining stories of all residents of the house that I can’t really go into too many details and anyway, I really don’t feel like I can do this book justice in a brief description. You’ll have to read it for yourself. And as luck would have it, it’s just been reprinted as a Virago Modern Classic – hurrah! Treat yourself to a copy.


Ancestral Voices by James Lees-Milne
This is a diary covering the period 1942-1943, a time when the author had been invalided out of the Army and rejoined the National Trust in his pre-war job as Historic Buildings Secretary. It was a very different organisation to the one you may know now, with hardly any staff and only a handful of houses open to the public. Yet this was a time when finances were dwindling, heirs were dying and country houses were fading out of their former glory. His role was to tour the country and talk to owners of these houses to see if any could be handed over to the Trust. His impact was astonishing - he saved an amazing amount of significant houses for the nation - and this diary is an extraordinary record of that long lost world.

It's also a wonderful, vibrant depiction of London during the war years and for those of you who are interested in mid 20th century aristocracy/artists/novelists/society folk, it's a must-read. He was very well connected - the Mitfords, Churchills and Sitwells get frequent mentions, as do most of the intellectual and social figures of the time. He’s not particularly kind about them either but the whole thing is written with a level of candour and wit that makes you forgive his lapses into bitchiness.

And there you have it: six of the best. If you want to know more about my taste in books, hop on over to my blog and have a look through the A Blogging Good Read series. I’m hoping to persuade Sarah to join in with it soon!


Thanks, Alex! These books are really fleshing out my Amazon wishlist. I have bloggers lined up for the next few spots, but if you're interested in being a contributor, let me know!
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Monday, 29 April 2013

Beating heart baby.


When I get obsessed with something, I find it hard to let it go. Like my urge to own a Mulberry - one day I WILL make it happen. You can be sure of that.

On a slightly cheaper scale, were Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes. I know that everyone and their wife has them, and wedding blogs are utterly saturated with them, and I suppose that means they are frightfully common. But I LOVE them. I just think they're so pretty, and the fact that they're made of rubber just makes them seem like the awesome jelly shoes you wore when you were kids. And did I mention they're pretty?

Well, I made it happen, and I still love them. I actually let out a little squeak when I saw that Spartoo had added Melissa to their brands, and had added these to my basket before I had time to think about it. Sometimes you just have to.


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Friday, 26 April 2013

Dance alone to the beat of your heart.

As promised in my last Friday Frock, I spent a little part of last weekend on a mission to make myself feel like ME again. Isn’t it funny how having a bug for a few days can make you feel totally different? In my case, I always just feel hideous – my hair seems extra frizzy, my skin seems dull, the bags under my eyes have their own postcode. You know how it is, right?

Anyway, I redyed my hair and got a long overdue cut on Saturday – it had been about four months and it was becoming impossible to force a brush through it (I don’t know how some girls get their hair cut only once a year!) and I instantly felt better. There’s nothing like having shiny hair to make you feel more positive about things – shallow, yes, but also true. I rarely straighten my hair these days as it just doesn’t STAY straight, but when a professional does it, I can make the blowdry last and last.


Dress – New Look
Blazer & Tights – Primark
Necklace – Topshop
Shoes – Buffalo flat shoes

I picked up the dress in the New Look sale about a month ago for a bargainy £12. It’s by Mela Loves London which I’ve raved about before – their dresses just seem to fit me so well and they’re always well made but inexpensive. I love the print so much, and felt rather nice when I teamed it with my new blazer from... Primark! I KNOW! It’s nice, innit? Honestly, the sun shining always puts me in a good mood, but when I’ve got a new outfit and new hair to boot, I’m pretty much unstoppable.

I then made my way to the George at Asda event on Carnaby Street with Chloe, where I took in their new collection (see our favourites below!) and indulged in candy floss. And as if they KNEW that I hadn’t had much time to beautify myself lately, as there were also lovely ladies on hand to give us manicures and makeovers. Hooray!







Afterwards I took Chloe on a bit of a tour of some of my favourite nearby haunts – a late lunch at Tibits, a cupcake at Hummingbird and then cocktails at Thirst. Not a bad Saturday, all in! What did you get up to?
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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Busy bee.

I usually have a little list on the go of blog posts that I need to write about and the ones that always fall to the bottom of the list are events. I don't know why, because they're always one of my favourite things about blogging. I love seeing brands in their natural habitat and experiencing the creative ways they promote themselves - but obviously, the best part is hanging out with other bloggers!

I've been to a few different things lately so thought I'd do a bit of a 3-in-1 dealio right here.

Witch Bowling Event
I mentioned this a few weeks ago in an outfit post but never actually posted about the event, which is a travesty. Witch Skincare arranged for their Flawless Friends to take over the All Star Lanes in Brick Lane for bowling, nibbles and cocktails. So many cocktails.

I also got my makeup done by Lisa Valencia, a professional makeup artist who works with Witch. She's awesome. She did a super glam look on my face and also gave me lots of advice - so much better than when I usually ask pro beauty people like facialists for advice as they're all slightly biased.

It was such a giggle - I had a good old gossip, made sure my 'Biggest Loser' track record in bowling stayed intact and even took part in a Harlem Shake video. No, I don't really understand it either.






Fossil Press Day
I used to get invited to quite a lot of press days but gradually the invites have dried up, and quite rightly, because I can never make it to them! I'm always a little envious of London-based bloggers or those who don't work full time, because there are so many events that finish at 6pm or so that I just can't make it to because of work. So I was excited to be in London in time to catch the end of the Fossil press day.

I love Fossil, I've had the same Fossil wallet for nearly two years now and it's just such good quality, I'm confident that I'll have it for even more years. I didn't realise that they actually sell various other watch brands like DKNY and Armani Exchange. How pretty?


Pics taken from Fossil Instagram because mine were rubbish!

AX Paris
There's nothing like a good old Bloggers party and AX Paris delivered this a couple of weeks ago! We watched acrobatics at Circus Bar (I only managed one blurry picture, below, of one of the EXTREMELY attractive performers), drank cocktails, had fun in a photobooth and of course giggled and gossiped away as we watched the new AX Paris TV ad - it looks amazing! You can watch it here.

Chloe and I grabbed a burger at MeatMarket on the way home as we took in the contents of our overly generous goody bags - the Ryan Gosling colouring book was definitely a highlight!





I stole this picture from Sarah of Chloe, Lauren and I - dear god, those are some PINK cheeks! I was unknowingly coming down with a throat infection at the time so I'm pretty pleased I avoided most cameras on the night - I may not have realised but the cameras did!

Outfit Credits: Witch are here | Fossil & AX Paris - Dress - Dorothy Perkins | Rockport Ankle Boots c/o Spartoo
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Monday, 22 April 2013

Let's go to the beach, each, let's go get away.

A couple of weeks ago I took a cheeky caravan holiday with my mum and sister in Kent. We were all dying to get away for a bit of a break, and it was also a chance for my mum and I to spend some quality time with Becky and her gorgeous family. Romney Sands, where we stayed, is right opposite the beach - perfect for a bit of kite flying!

I love spending time with my family - Becky's babies are growing up so fast (and I count her big girl Ellis-Rose amongst her babies, double digits this year!) and it was so nice to sit reading with Cameron and coaxing a smile out of Noah (it's really not hard, he is the smiliest baby ever).

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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Here comes the sun.

The sun is out and I'm getting overexcited, aren't you? I am still well and truly in my trusty black opaques - let's not get crazy now - but this weekend I gave my winter coat a rest and went out in a blazer. A BLAZER! With cropped sleeves! And I wasn't even cold. Spring, I salute you.

As soon as the sun comes out, I start planning the summer. Glastonbury may be a good couple of months away yet but I'm already thinking about festival-friendly ensembles. My faithful Office wellies are finally on their last legs and as it's my seventh Glastonbury, I think it might be just about time that I picked up a new rainmac (although I must confess my Millets Peter Storm one is still going strong). Oooh, and maybe a new tent...

I've been eyeing pinafores lately too, and it's now occurred to me that they're perfect festival wear - just change the top underneath and you can rewear and rewear. Considering my propensity for over-packing, I'm loving this idea!

I don't know if it's too early to think about this stuff, but there it is, and this is what I want to buy.



Tent - Cath Kidston | Raincoat - ASOS | Hat - Accessorize | Sunglasses - Urban Outfitters | 
Backpack - Zatchels | Black Pinafore - New Look | Red Hunter Wellington Boots - Spartoo Shoes
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Friday, 19 April 2013

I want to be known for my hits, not just my misses.


I wasn’t going to feature this dress today, but it’s actually the perfect choice. It’s a dress that doesn’t need to try, smart and structured but low maintenance. No ironing required, minimal accessorising – just lop your unbrushed hair up, chuck a cardi on and go. You see, not having to try appeals to me this week because I’ve just been focusing on getting through the week. I’ve been fighting a nasty ear and throat infection combo for over a week now and have spent the bulk of the time rocking a great PJs & birdnest hair look. Just don’t get ill, kids. It’s RUBBISH.

I’ve only recently started to team red and navy because I am five thousand years behind the rest of the world, and also because I only just got a navy cardigan which makes everything easier. It’s kind of hard to team red and navy together when you don’t have any navy in your wardrobe. But the colours DO complement each other beautifully and although it’s a traditionally nautical combo, I don’t think this outfit screams ‘Hello, Sailor!’ which is totally fine, because that is not what I was aiming for. But if there are any sailors reading this... hello!

Dress – Closet via Dorothy Perkins
Tights – Tesco
Necklace c/o Matalan
Blink Court Shoes c/o Spartoo Shoes

It’s in stark contrast to the last time I featured it where I was all like ‘I have just got my hair cut! I’ve bothered to use my ghds! Here is a snappy jacket! Look how cheerful I am!’ Past Me is so much more on the ball than Current Me, even if she is a bit unbearably happy with annoyingly good hair. See, this is the occasional problem with the Then & Now feature. Maybe I should only start using examples when I look better NOW. Hopefully Future Me will sort it out… as a start, I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow, mostly because I’ve felt so UGH all week that I’ve decided the only way to fix it is to pay someone to make me look better. Also, my fringe has reached the point of no return. Fix me, hair magicians, fix me!

PS - Entered my amazing ASOS giveaway yet?
 
PPS - Oooh, I just found out that Zatchels are having a flash sale tomorrow with 50% off everything to celebrate their 2nd Birthday! I don't normally post about sales but I adore Zatchels bags and half price? I am so there! I want this one, or this!. It's only on tomorrow though so hurry!
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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

GIVEAWAY: £50 ASOS Vouchers with Appliances Online

I don't know what I'd say if I was asked to name my favourite website. I like a lot of websites. I like Pinterest for ogling, and Twitter for gossiping, and Spartoo for shoes (I'm currently obsessed with these Betty London sandals, but for overall pretty things to wear, it's probably gotta be ASOS. There's just so much pretty on there! Here is an excuse to show you some of it!


1 | 2 | 3

Anyway, the nice people from Appliances Online contacted me recently, and were like 'Isn't ASOS great?' and I was like 'YES! It totally is! Let's be pals!' and they were like 'Er, no, but do you want to trick your followers into loving you by giving away some ASOS vouchers?' and I said 'YES! Trickery is my favourite way to make people love me!'

So! To win £50 of ASOS vouchers, all you need to do is...

Leave a comment on this post with the following details:
1. Your email address, twitter handle, blog name... basically a way that I can contact you easily. Not a postal address, because who can be bothered with stamps? Nobody.
2. Tell me what you would spend your voucher on! Whether it's part of an item or part of your voucher, I wanna see!
3. Follow me on Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin and let me know which in your comment
4. To be entered you must do all of the above but for extra entries you can Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and/or Appliances Online
5. You can also tweet something along the lines of Don't miss out on @essbeevee's giveaway - you could win £50 of ASOS vouchers! http://bit.ly/XEFGEe
6. Do all or some of the above before 7pm 30th April 2013. Any entries after this point won't be counted!

The best part is that Appliances Online are giving ME some vouchers too! I mean, for you that might not be the best part. But for me it totally is. I'm massively selfish that way.


4 | 5 | 6
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Things I've bought that I love.

Sparkly flats - New Look

One of my favourite blogs for a long time was TV writer Mindy Kaling's ode to shopping, 'Things I've Bought That I Love'. Sadly it's no more, but the term always sticks with me when I blog about items I've bought and fallen for. Lately, I've had the shopping bug but thanks to a few vouchers leftover from Christmas, I haven't had to resort to using my credit card, which makes my savings a little healthier.

Here are some of the bits I've bought latelyish... that I LOVE.

I adore Converse! The indie kid in me will always be a Converse fan, and my old black pair were so ripped and worn that it was high time I replaced them. Oh, and how cute is this polka dot skirt? Over the last couple of years I have pretty much replaced my love of skirts with a love of dresses, but lately I find myself buying more skirts again. It was only £10 in the River Island sale!


Teal Bow Heels - Office


I'm completely obsessed with these teal shoes from Office and can't wait for an excuse to wear them. They're super pretty but have a practical heel and are really comfy. Also, I have a dress that they match EXACTLY. Woohoo! The sparkly flats above are the prettiest things ever... and just £7 in the New Look sale! Daaamn, my bargain-hunting skills are on FIRE.

And finally, this heart shaped Primark duvet set is my new favourite thing. It's so cute and girlie!

I know there is often this thing about how vouchers as gifts are boring but I love them! What's not to like about guilt-free shopping? Have you bought anything new lately?


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Friday, 12 April 2013

Time crawls on when you’re waiting for the song to start

I wish I was one of those girls who didn’t care a jot about diets, but when I try that, I end up gaining a bunch of weight, because I still care a whole bunch about food. I know it’s a bit alienating to those girls who don’t care about it, but people on diets really love talking about diets, and I find it really hard not to talk about it MORE.

The truth is that I can’t help but think about dieting when I think about this dress. I bought it back in January with a voucher that Tesco had sent me and although I loved it, it was a bit too tight around the middle, so I popped it into the back of my wardrobe with the tags still on and promptly forgot about it. I dug it out a couple of weeks ago and realised that – after losing nearly a stone and a half - it fits beautifully! Tesco cut their dresses really well for my shape – they always hug my waist whilst allowing enough space for my boobs, which makes me happy. My boobs like space.

I’ve always been quite hourglassy with a defined waist and big ol’ hips but I realise now that at the start of this year when I started Weight Watchers, my waist was disappearing. I’m glad it’s back.


It’s quite a… mature dress, I guess? I always thought that when I was in my thirties I would buy my workwear from M&S and Next and wear heels all the time and lots of chunky jewellery. Pretty much the only part of that that’s accurate is the heels part, except for how it’s not all the time because my feet get sore, and spending too much time at the dizzying heights of 5’4 or 5’5 gives me vertigo.

Anyway, so I think that this is a bit of a ‘thirties’ dress in that it looks like the kind of thing your fabulous manager would wear, I think, with a snappy fitted jacket. I chose a cardigan because I am not all that snappy, and it’s still kind of cold. Also, I don’t really GET fitted jackets. Like, do you wear your coat over the top of them? Or do you just freeze? Either way seems silly. Just wear a lovely cardi, hmm?

Dress & Belt c/o Clothing At Tesco (belt from a different Tesco dress)
Cardigan – New Look
Tights - Primark
Necklace - Fallen Saint at Amazon
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Monday, 8 April 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars


I think we all have our go-to recipes that we pull out for every special occasion or bake sale. Mine is chocolate peanut butter bars, the recipe of which I've featured on this blog at least four times... and of which I've made (and eaten) countless times.

When we went on our little blogger minibreak to Norbury Manor a few weeks ago, the girls had a great list of cakes they were planning to make (especially Sarah!) and so I wasn't planning to make anything at all. But the night before, I was looking in the cupboards and realised that I had rather a lot of leftover bits from Christmas to use up... chocolate, peanut butter, butter, condensed milk - it was a no brainer really, apart from how chocolate peanut butter bars do not use condensed milk. SO... I modified them!


Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients:
- 500g Icing Sugar
- 250g Crunchy Peanut Butter
- 250g Butter
- 20 x Digestives
- 500g Milk Chocolate

For the caramel:
- 1 x tin Condensed Milk
- 150g Dark brown sugar
- 150g Butter
- 1 teaspoon of salt

FYI: You can mess with the quantities in this recipe and it won't make a huge difference - I always just use a whole jar of peanut butter which I think is more like 340g.

1 - Break the digestives into crumbs, either by blitzing them in a food processor or by placing in a sealed plastic sandwich bag and bashing with a rolling pin. I do the whole lot in a food processor!
2 - Melt the butter and add to the crumbs, and combine well.
3 - Add the icing sugar and combine, then add the peanut butter and combine (the order in which you do this doesn't really matter).
4 - Line a large tin with foil and then press the mixture into it with your fingers well until the whole of the base is covered and it's evenly spaced
5 - Make the caramel! In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar slowly and stir until combined.
6 - Add the condensed milk and stir well. Allow to simmer until it just come to the boil then remove from the heat. That's it! Add some salt, if you fancy (you should).
7 - Pour the caramel over the digestive mixture until completely covered and then leave aside to set.
8 - When the caramel is almost cool, melt the chocolate in a bain marie or carefully in a microwave, and pour over the top of the caramel. I topped with sprinkles which is totally unnecessary, but fun.
9 - Allow to cool and then pop in the fridge to set overnight. In the morning, get it out and chop it up then eat it all up, share it with your friends and become very popular.


I've always been kind of scared of making caramel but it was super easy! I want to make it all the time now, but I probably shouldn't. Because then I would eat it, and that's not advisable all the time.

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Friday, 5 April 2013

I am, I feel.


I HAVE A NEW BAG.

I am such a bag person, way more than a shoes person, so a new bag is a very very important thing, you see. This little lilac BritStitch number is not just CRAZY pretty, but actually has a lovely little story behind it. The first BritStitch bag was made in 1967 for a local milkman who needed a cash bag. He bought it back in recently to have the strap repaired, and they realised that a beautiful leather bag that could last nearly 50 years of daily use without needing repairs was probably something that other people would like, too. And they’d be totally right – I’ve been coveting one of my own ever since spotting them on other blogs, and so I was over the moon when they offered to send me one of my own. It’s beautifully made, and so sturdy – plus, its petite size forces me not to pile in everything I own, as is my way.

Purple is one of those colours that I don’t wear enough, but SHOULD. I would count it as one of my favourite colours - ever since Alisha’s Attic sang about putting a purple skirt on – but it doesn’t make its way into my wardrobe too often. I can’t really work out why. Perhaps it’s because I’m trying to keep certain items out of my workwear wardrobe, because I feel like it spoils things a bit. Popping a dress into my daily dress rotation takes away its specialness, and I think it’s worth keeping a few ‘for best’. And not JUST the ones that don’t need ironing, although that’s super logical, obviously. I also have this weird idea that this dress doesn’t fit because the first time I wore it, I felt horribly uncomfortable. It was actually because it was a boiling hot day and this really isn’t a bare legs dress, so I was pleasantly surprised when I teamed it with opaques over Christmas and realised how lovely it was.

Doing 'Then & Now' is interesting sometimes. I have been debating going back to brunette lately, which I did for a couple of months last year. However, seeing the two hair colours next to each other... nah. I'm still a ginger at heart.

Easter nails!

Finally, the boots. Thanks to my sponsorship by Spartoo, I have lots of new pairs of shoes to wear, but you know how it is… you always go back to the classics. These are the most comfortable heels I own, and even though the zips are giving way and they’re becoming shabbier and looser, I’ll keep wearing them until they fall apart completely. I wore them in the very first Friday Frocks post, and about a million other occasions since then. They are the best boots ever.

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