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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Garden party with a spot of glamping

So, Saturday 31st was my birthday and let me start by saying I absolutely HATE birthdays. I'm not sure what it is about them, perphaps it's because I always hold unreal expectations for what the day will bring and I get very upset when something (or someone) doesn't comply with my plan for the 'perfect' day. Of course this happens every year! You'd have thought I'd have learnt by now to just relax and enjoy, yet I can not help but to stupidly pursue my desire to have a perfect day, of course perfect doesn't exist and nothing (well not for me) runs exactly to plan. 

Rather ambitiously I decided to host a garden party/bbq in the daytime for my friends and to glamp (posh camping if you've never heard the term)in the evening with my boyfriend.
I use the term ambitious because I had invited guests over for 3pm, yet between the hours of 11am and 3pm, a mere 4 hours, I had to erect a marquee and a gigantic tent (and decorate). I mean I could have started earlier but who wants to wake up early on their birthday! 

Lets just say, 4 hours of manual labour in the garden was not what I had anticipated for my birthday. During the second hour of struggling to put up the tent, I had a huge tantrum. I do feel for my poor boyfriend having to deal with me, but to be fair I was extremely stressed. I wasn't dressed nor had I decorated the marquee and people were arriving in half hour, not exactly the 'perfect' situation. 

Anyway, by some sort of miracle we got the darn thing up and I proceeded to run around like a headless chicken as my friends started to arrive.

From 3pm onwards everything went much more smoothly and I managed to relax and enjoy some yummy Pimms, despite all the horrible wasps!!

My birthday dress, I was very rushed to get changed and the shoes I had planned to wear were not suitable for the garden!!! I also forgot my gold chain necklace, I didnt do so well with the outfit plan...

Birthday dress: £15, Vintage market. View similar here  and here

Necklace: Newlook, £6.99
Shoes: Wallis, £25

Rocco dog was loving having all the girlies around to give him attention! 

And all the yummy food to pinch from unsuspecting victims plates!

I had a surprise visit from my sister and my nephews, which was lovely, even if it was rather conveniently as soon as food started. Harry kept double dipping carrots in hummus, ewww!

Thank you dad for BBQ'ing! We had a large variety, to keep everyone happy! Sausages, burgers, steak, chicken wings and of course heaps of salad ;)!

Thankfully all the nasty insects disappeared as darkness crept upon us. The fairy lights sparkled and copious amounts of alcohol were consumed, jokes were shared and laughs were had. 
So I suppose, as long as you enjoy yourself with friends and family, what could be better and more special than that.

I was a rather mean host and kicked everyone out around midnight, I was too excited to go glamping!!

All comfied up and ready for bed!

Here's what I did with the tent. (It was a 6 man, thus very large!)

Bedding: Asda £15, Cushions: Dunhelm mill and one hand-made, Patchwork quilt: Dunhelm mill

It may not exactly be the most boy friendly decorations but I loved it!!

I tried my best to make it as homely and comfortable as possible.

The following morning I made us a scrumptious breakfast, some extremely unhealthy and buttery pancakes! I have to admit, I did cheat a little bit and used a powder you just had to add milk to but whatever it tasted amazing!

We devoured brekkie in the tent and watched Sherlock on the laptop. I guess it wasn't such a bad birthday after all :p

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Patchwork Magic

Sorry it's been a little while since I last posted! It's been a really hectic few days and this is the first chance I've had to sit down and review the weeks events, Saturday was my birthday and i've been in the hospital on a placement! I shan't neglect you again, I promise.

I've been meaning to make some cushions for my bedroom for quite a while and when I stumbled across an easy guide on channel 4 I couldn't resist but to make one myself.

You can choose almost any shape that you like, I chose a square but rectangles and circles etc. will work just fine too. You can also mix up the colours and patterns any way that you like. 

Have a raid through the house for some old material to use, if that fails have a search through the charity shops for old bed sheets etc. If you have a clear idea about the sort of fabrics that you want, pop into a fabric shop such as dunhelm mill, they sell fabric per metre between £4 - £6. They also sell fat quarters for £6 each. Do NOT go to hobbycraft, it's an absolute rip off.

I started by cutting out a square piece of paper, roughly 15cm x 15cm, then I used this as a measurement for cutting out my fabric.

I used 4 squares for my cushion, I tried my best to make sure they were all the same size as this makes life easier when you're sewing them together. 

It's also helpful if you iron the squares, flatter ones are much easier to sew together. 

I sewed my cushion by hand but it'd probably be easier with a sewing machine if you have one.
To start, take two of your squares and turn them over so the fabric is on it's back (the side where the pattern is faded). Then put one square on top of the other and sew the tops together using a simple running stitch. Then when you turn them back onto their front (where the pattern is boldest) you will have a neat look.

Repeat with the remaining two squares.

Now it is time to sew the two sets of two squares together, leaving you with 4 squares neatly sewn together. You do this in the same way you've been doing with the other two squares, simply turn onto their backs and place one on top of the other and sew along the longest side. 

Perfect, four little squares sewn together. 

Next, I cut out a heart to sew on top of the four squares. 

I used a different stitch to sew the heart on top, so that the edges won't fray.

You need a backing for the pillow as well, so I cut out a square of fabric slightly larger than the four squares sewn together. 

You also need two pieces of wadding for the pillow stuffing to be put in between, these should be the same size as the four patterned squares. 

Then place the four patterned squares on top of the backing sheet and fold three of the edges of the backing sheet over the patterned squares and pin into place, you need one side open in order to put the pillow stuffing inside. 

Sew up the three edges and stuff, I used old pillow insides for mine.

I sewed my edges by hand, so inevitably it's a little wonky. Make sure the backing fabric is folded over when you put the stitches in, you get a much neater finish. 

And there it is, as easy as that! Have a go yourself and make sure to send me some pictures of what you've made!

The video here was really helpful, so I suggest you watch this before starting. Happy sewing!!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bank holiday cocktails

I only have a few bank holiday weekend traditions and cocktail night with the girls is most certainly one of them and definitely my favourite. As much as I love a big lunch with the family (another tradition) cocktails are truly the way to my heart.

I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon shopping with the boyfriend, well, me shopping and him tutting in disapproval, then I headed off to get dolled up for a night of gossip and laughs with my girlies.

Top: Zara, £25.99, Wet look leggings: Topshop £18, Boots: Newlook £24.99

The girls looked gorgeous as usual, have a look below for similar items to what they're wearing. 

I loved the red lipstick Megan was sporting, Rimmel lasting finish.

One of our favourite bars in the area is Bar 44, Cowbridge. It's both a cocktail bar and a tapas restaurant, serving food until 10.30pm. I always get ravenous after a few drinks so the easy access to scrumptious food late into the night is one of the main reasons why I adore it so much.

Every Sunday night, excluding bank my horror, they have a selection of yummy 2-4-1 cocktails. Normally a cocktail will set you back around £6.25, so for £3 each they are an absolute steal. 

The menu is extensive, so it's really hard to choose what you want.

We started off with a classic, Long island ice tea.

Contains vodka, gin, rum and cointreau

Recipe from BBC food

15ml/½fl oz vodka
15ml/½fl oz gin 
15ml/½fl oz light rum
15ml/½fl oz cointreau
15ml/½fl oz fresh lemon juice
15ml/½fl oz freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp sugar syrup
coke, to top up
lemon wedge, to garnish

Put  all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and shake. Then strain the cocktail into a glass, top up with coke and garnish with a lemon wedge.

We arrived at Bar 44 pretty early, so we were all very peckish, lots of yummy food needed to be ordered. 

Olives, £3.50

Fresh crispy Squid, Saffron Alioli - £4.95 and Anchovies - £4.25
Triple cooked chips with aioli dip and tomato relish - £3.30
Tiger Prawns, Garlic, Chilli, Olive Oil - £5.50

Then we moved onto Pomegranate mojito's and frozen strawberry daiquiri's. 

Strawberry Daiquiri - contains rum and strawberry liqueur.

Pomegranate mojito - contains rum.

Recipe for Strawberry daiquiri from BBC food

4 fresh strawberries, plus 1/2 strawberry to garnish
2 tsp white sugar
35ml white rum
1 tbsp strawberry liqueur
25ml lime juice

Put the strawberries, sugar, rum, strawberry liqueur and lime juice into the base of a cocktail shaker and mash with the end of a rolling pin. Put the lid onto the cocktail shaker and shake well, strain into a Martini glass and garnish with half a strawberry.

Recipe for pomegranate mojito from

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
12 mint leaves
6 tablespoons white rum
1/4 pomegranate juice
1/8 - 1/4 fluid ounce soda water
pomegranate to garnish

Combine the sugar, lime juice and mint leaves in a tall glass. Mash with the back of a spoon, then mix in the rum and pomegranate juice, fill the glass with ice and top with a splash of soda water.

We continued the night with gin (bombay sapphire) and tonics. I loved the glasses they were served in, the glass was so big it was like a goblet!

If you're in the South Wales area I highly recommend you visit Bar 44 Cowbridge, they've just opened another one in Penarth too which I'm sure is just as good! 

Make sure if you do decide to visit that it's not on a monday because it will be closed and if you're going for drinks over the weekend, you'll need to get there early to secure a table, it gets extremely busy! 

Our evening came to close around 10pm, by that time we were all well and truly sozzled, thank goodness we had all of the next day to recover in bed...and that is why I love bank holiday cocktails, chin chin! 

What did you get up to this bank holiday, anything good?