I could have called this post oxblood head-to-toe, which is technically what is going on here, but I wanted something a little more festive. With this shade, pomegranate is what springs to mind first.
A big trend this season was wearing a single colour top to toe. I bought this skirt a few months ago (see it’s first blog outing here,) and the jumper shortly afterwards. Right from the off I wanted to wear them together. When it came to my first Christmas dinner of the year – a tradition with friends we have, it seemed like the perfect option.
Fortuitously I remembered my oxblood accented Zara boots that worn (bravely) without tights, look really striking with the slit front and snakeskin toe cap. In another stroke of outfit luck, this year I bought a snakeskin clutch from Whistles that completes the look.
The last touch of fierce glamour came from an AllSaints chunky necklace and I’ve even extended my colour of choice to my lips and nails. It’s a great Christmas look, whether for drinks as the sequin skirt lends glitz, but it’s also remarkably comfortable for when seasonal indulgence is required.
*Apologies for the crappy iPhone photos readers… I’ve missed so many great outfits recently in poor light and then my camera battery died when Pete was about to snap the first of these. However, on with the show!
I was in two minds as to whether I should put together some gift guides for Christmas 2012 this year as they take some time to do and I wasn’t sure how useful you guys find them. I decided to go ahead for two reasons. One, I love reading gift guides myself and spotting things on them that I wouldn’t have thought of and two, I love browsing gift guides and finding things that I would like for myself.
Today’s gift guide is for the stylish, lovely female friend or maybe sister in your life who you love to spoil. The person that you think of about 25 things to buy for every year but have to settle on just one or two.
Girls Aloud, Ten [Deluxe Edition] // Lucas Jack Star Ring // Sequin wash bag, Ted Baker // Yves Purple Shoes, Reiss // Merino lined wellington boots, EWE Wellies // Caviar and Oyster Eye Pallette, Bobbi Brown // Ice Queen necklace, Banana Republic // Nail Polish gift set, Topshop // Candle, Fox & Crow // Young House Love book // Glitter Clutch bag, Miss KG
Just over a week ago I told you all that I would be participating in #ShareAdvent, organised by the lovely Anna over at Skin and Blister. Today’s theme is ‘Make a Christmas Craft/Write Cards’ so I’m sharing my DIY Christmas cards.
Let me first say that whilst I love DIY and the idea of crafting, I lack the time and the patience for prolonged projects. I have made my own Christmas cards on and off for several years now, but the last couple of years have got the better of me leaving me feeling sad that I hadn’t had time to do something I enjoyed. I was thrilled to resurrect the tradition this year with a few tweaks.
In the past I have kept things super easy by using rubber stamps and silver or gold ink with a few simple designs. This year I decided to try something similar but with a little more impact – embossing. I haven’t done this since I was a Guide in my teens, but I knew all I needed additional to my stamps was the embossing powder and heat tool – available quite cheaply online or if you’re in a rush like me, at Hobbycraft.
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to colour and love Scandi style Christmas decor so opted for a red glitter to emboss onto white cards. I also read somewhere that dark colours and jewel tones look more expensive and as I’m obsessed with rose gold and copper tones when I saw a copper embossing powder I thought it would look nice on Navy cards for a luxe option.
It’s really easy to do – simply apply your stamp with either a toning or clear ink to the card (checking it is the right way up first!)
- Next cover the stamped area in embossing powder then shake off onto a loose piece of paper you can use to tip the powder back into the pot with.
- Make sure you brush any loose pieces of embossing powder off the edges of your design as they will be fixed once heated.
- Hold the embossing tool (just a craft heating tool like a small hairdryer,) over the design moving it around and allowing the embossing powder to melt.
- Stand back and admire your handiwork!
Have you ever made your own Christmas cards?
December is here and right now, all I want for Christmas is a festive red nail.
I usually shun red, feeling it’s a vintage shade and doesn’t work for me, however, I recently re-discovered its merits. For me, Christmas means red, in all its festive glory and here are a round up of my favourite shades available right now.
I’d love it if you would share your favourite shade of red this morning… tell me which one I need!
The build up to Christmas is the best part of it for me. I love the preparation and in years gone by used to make my own cards, bake the Christmas cake and throw drinks parties. Now I can just about manage the drinks party and sadly what is my favourite time of year often passes in a whirlwind of stress, to-do lists and not enough time enjoying the season with the most important people to me, enjoying the preparation I love best. This year I have a plan to counteract the usual Christmas chaos.
Courtesy of Skin and Blister
Anna from Skin and Blister has concocted ‘Share advent’, something she will be doing with her family. The idea is to help you savour the season and make Advent an even more special time. Anna has invited other bloggers to take part too and I am IN!
For the last few years I have made an Advent calendar with envelopes and inside each one I have put something to do or enjoy that day. It’s really made Advent an even more special time of year for us.
This year, I wanted to invite you to join in with me.
So, I am posting this early because as you can see, some of the activities require a little preparation. Maybe you need to plan a trip out, gather together ingredients or stockpile craft supplies. Maybe you won’t be doing all of these activities, but even if you pick and choose a few, I don’t think you can fail to make more of the festive season and really relish this special time of year.
You can read more about the idea over on Anna’s brilliant blog - Skin and Blister, where I might add, she has some very sweet and genius ideas for DIY advent calendars that require no more than a little time, imagination and a whole lot of love. Which I love. Because that’s what Christmas is about right?
Do leave a comment if you love this idea, or if you’ll be taking part – give Anna shout @skinblisterblog and use #ShareAdvent if you’re a twitterer. Oh and look out for my Share Advent post coming soon in December I’m excited already!
Is it ever too early to talk about Christmas? I’m in two minds about that one but my general rule is that I like to get Halloween and Bonfire night over then it’s a festive free for all. Today it’s 6 weeks to Christmas Eve so I consider it time to start spreading a little Christmas cheer and chic around the blog.
First I wanted to share something that really has to be considered early. I buy a few new tree decorations and trinkets for around the house every year and manage the cost of the more luxe baubles by just purchasing two or three. The end result is a varied tree with a mismatched look that I prefer. However year, I miss out on a few of the prettiest picks because they are sold out already. Common culprits are Graham and Green, Cox and Cox and The White Company, so I thought I would share a few now, before you miss out!
Floating Pinion Bubble, Anthropologie // Three glass pumpkin decorations, Cox and Cox // Feathered Owl, Anthropologie //
Baubles, The White Company // Three Toadstools, Rockett St George // Three white birds, Cox and Cox //
Ceramic Pine Cones, Felt Swan and Zinc candle house, all Rowen and Wren.
I also buy a single ornament for my Mum’s tree every year – it’s a bit of a tradition and I often buy items that are meaningful instead of simply pretty, like this glass owl, reminiscent of a much less sophisticated glass bird she had as a child.
Have you got your eye on any luxe decorations and do you ever give decorations as gifts?
PS! The White Company have £5 off when you spend £25 on Christmas tree decorations before Nov 14th.
Just a very short message to say Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. Thank you so much for reading Florence Finds – you’ve all made my Christmas just by being along for the ride so far and I hope you all have a relaxing and fun holiday with the people you love, and get lots of gorgeous gifts of course!
For the holiday period I’ll be spending time with family and Pete, (as you read this, I’m finally in the hairdressers getting the chop,) so the blog will be quiet until Wednesday 28th when I’ll be posting some short and sweet posts before another break for the New Year holidays.
Of course, I’d go mad if I wasn’t doing a little bit of behind the scenes blogging, so I’ll be working on sprucing up the blog and a special series that I’ve got planned for January, to beat the post-holiday blues.
Until then, be happy, take care and enjoy the holidays.
It’s a slightly harried Gemma here who will no doubt be spending the season waist-high in un-assembled IKEA furniture as we battle ever onwards trying to make our flat habitable. For those of you who can actually access your kitchens without having to climb over a chair, a christmas tree, a box of records (which you broke the handles of and thus can’t move) 70 million computer cables and a racing bike, here’s a festive food post for those who fancy something slightly different for dessert come C-day.
It’s my cousin Eliza’s Antipodean-weather-and-child-friendly icecream Christmas cake, we think the recipe originally came out of an Australian Women’s Weekly cooking supplement but we’re not 100% sure, and I’ve adapted it slightly to add more of a Christmas flavour. We’ve always found that picky kids tend to want to eat this more than a traditional fruitcake, but if you’re aiming it at an under-18 audience perhaps leave out the brandy. Or, indeed, leave it in, if you want the nippers zonked on the couch while you attack the cheese course
200gms softened butter
1½ cups icing sugar
400gms good quality dark chocolate (chopped), or mix of dark and milk chocolate if preferred.
3 litres plain vanilla ice-cream (make sure it’s a good quality one as it needs to be re-frozen, and some go ‘grainy’)
pinch of nutmeg and pinch of cinnamon
300gm frozen raspberries
100gm white chocolate
a couple of handfuls of crumbled store-bought sponge cake (or left-overs if you’ve been baking – I find that 2 fairy cakes work well for this) which you can soak in brandy if you so desire
and any/all of these bits to make it more Christmassy – candied peel, glace cherries, dried apricots, nuts, figs, etc etc.
1. Allow the icecream to soften in a mixing bowl
2. Crush the maltesers and white chocolate with a rolling pin (don’t smash into oblivion, just into smallish chunks)
3. Still armed with the rolling pin, attack the raspberries with a lighter hand so that they’re in pieces of differing sizes, then put them in a bowl in the freezer so they don’t melt too much. (All this smashing and rolling-pin-ing is a great way to alleviate the Christmas ‘I stood in this queue for half an hour to buy these two phone covers for my nieces which I had to track down from opposite ends of the store while your disinterested staff looked on and now you’re telling me that it’s closing for lunch what the WHAT?’ stress, if you have it)
4. Cream your butter and icing sugar and then add eggs one at a time.
5. Melt the chocolate slowly, stirring as you go, either in a bowl of warm water (that’s a bowl inside a bowl, btw) or in the microwave on a very low setting, and then add it to the butter/sugar/eggs mix.
6. Line a deep sided cake tin or lasagna dish or the like with baking parchment.
7. Spread about half of the crushed malteser/white chocolate mix onto the bottom of the dish, then pour on half the chocolate/butter/sugar/egg mix over the top and pop in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set it.
8. Add the rasperries, cinnamon and nutmeg, sponge cake and any other bits like candied peel that you’re using to the icecream which should be nicely soft by now, and fold through. Then add the icrecream/raspberry mix to your dish.
10. layer over the remaining chocolate mix and then the rest of the malteser mix. Stud the top with left over whole maltesers, cover the lot with tin foil and keep in the freezer. Take out 5-10 minutes before serving et voila!
Ps. You could also layer this up in a domed bowl instead of a flat dish, and then it would be more pudding-shaped, a la Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Bombe.
Ciao Bellas! Gemma here, with a little bit of Christmas chat inspired by my love of travel.
Ever since I visited Italy for the first time at 15, I’ve wanted to go back there for Christmas. I feel like the yuletide season in Italy would be like Christmas to the power of 3 – I mean, even the Italian flag is in Christmas colours! I’d love to go to a Christmas service in one of the beautiful ancient churches for hymns and carols sung in Italian and mass in Latin. To gorge myself on Italian Christmas delicacies like il torrone (Italian nougat) and Panettone, (Italian Christmas fruitcake, baked in a tall mould with light buttery dough and filled with candied fruit, raisins, ginger, honey, almonds and hazelnuts) and to wander the winding, snow-covered streets cradling a caffe corretto (that’s coffee ‘corrected’ with a shot of cognac or another spirit hand in hand with a handsome man.
However. This year the handsome man and I are staying at home for Christmas in our new rental flat in London, so instead, I’ve come up with an Italian-inspired gift guide which hopefully includes something for everyone.
First up, for the tree (considering we had the Christmas tree up in our house before we had plates or cutlery it’s safe to say I prioritise ‘decking my halls’!) this stunning decoration from Versace. I know that the price of it is a little bit ridiculous, but that’s what makes it so fabulous and it would definitely become a family heirloom.
Cibi e Bevande (Food and Drink)
- Toast the season with a traditionally Italian tipple – Prosecco. And if you’re after a gift for a wine buff, you could give them a bottle with some Riedel Prosecco glasses (I know Riedel is Austrian but they went to a LOT of trouble working with Italian Prosecco makers to design this glass which directs the drink to the right part of your palate so that it maximizes the sweetness and fullness of the wine while minimising bitterness… it would be scrooge-ish of me not to include them, no?) Panettone: this amazing cake, which is similar to brioche in texture, can be eaten on its own, smothered with nutella (what? It’s an example..) or used in any recipes that call for bread – once you’ve tried bread and butter pudding made with this you’ll never go back.
- Italian coffee: this is self explanatory. I’m name-checking Lavazza here. They’ve been making the stuff since 1895, and am I the only one who loves the styling of their ads? Giving a pack of ‘posh coffee’ along with a stove-top Espresso maker like this beauty from Bialetti can be a truly life-changing present for people who’ve only ever had instant at home before.
- Italian food cookbook – The Italian Diet, Gino Di Campo. For anyone who thinks Italian cooking is; a, too easy, b, too fatty and carby, or c, boring, this is the book. Lots of fresh ideas that are healthy, and lots of unusual dishes that go past the basics like lasagne. I picked up a friend’s copy and went to write a few dishes down, then I realised I liked the sound of so many I might as well get the book.
Per la casa (for the home)
- Alessi Stovetop kettle: I have wanted one of these for a vairrrrrry long time, but as I’ve just bought an enamelled grey whistling kettle that was more ‘in-budget’ please let me know if any of you are getting this for Christmas or indeed already own one. I like the pale blue/burgundy colour combo best, and yes I’d like to see home photos.
- MOR Italian Blood Orange candle
- Venetian mirror – in my quest to make our rental flat homey and livable (at the moment it’s homely and laughable) I am after a statement mirror. I have bored many people, including Rebecca, with mirror-chat. So to shut me up, someone please direct my long-suffering husband to this Laura Ashley Valencia mirror.
- Murano glass paperweight – yes, a paperweight, potentially the world’s most-given, least-thought-about gift. Except that if someone gave me this I would so totally put it on my desk, stat. (Well, if they gave me a desk to go with it)
- Ok, so her mother is Icelandic but she obviously gets her name from her Italian father, and if you’ve never heard Emiliana Torrini you might want to keep one of her albums for yourself. My fav of her tracks? Jungle Drums, Heartstopper and her exquisite cover of Tom Wait’s I hope that I don’t fall in love with you. This Rarities
vinyl is also frameable.
- In my Christmas day schedule I’ve set aside time for film watching in my pjs. First up is Life is Beautiful, (which is not to be confused with A Beautiful Life) an Italian film that will make you laugh and cry, and then I’ll be sighing over polka dot dresses with La Dolce Vita.
- Having learnt to speak Spanish in the last year and wishing with all my might that I’d payed attention to Italian lessons at school, I think the Rosetto Stone Italian lesson program is a fab gift. Rosetta Stone really works, too.
- Oh, Italian fashion, how I love thee. Maxmara reversible cape? I’m talking to you. Oh, hello there Missoni sweater – I do agree you’d be trans-seasonal and therefore a justifiable expense and Miu Miu calf leather boots and coat, why, it’d be a crime to buy one of you without the other. Sigh.
- However, back here in the real world, I do like the look of this Italian Silk scarf for men which is very, um,
stealableborrowable… I mean, only when he’s not wearing it…
I’d love to hear from anyone who has spent a Christmas in Italy – what have I missed? Do you have a dream Christmas destination?