Sunday, 27 October 2013

DIY: Trick or Treat bags

I don't quite know how to start this post, as it's something I never imagined myself talking about, but I guess I should just admit it - I did some 'crafts'. Just saying the word makes me hate myself, as it conjures up images of a pushy mother who bakes lots and gets overly involved with her children's school activities... (way to stereotype and offend oh so many people in one single sentence, Lucy...)

In a pushy mother's defence, she probably has a reason to make such crafts, I, on the other hand, have created a cardboard 'Trick or Treat' bag, which I have no intention of using and is not aesthetically pleasing enough for me to want in my flat. I know, I know, what a great use of my time. But, what can I say, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and watching YouTube tutorials of pointless things, OK?!

So, if you wish to waste enjoy an evening in with bits of card and some stationary, you could make your very own bag with the simple tutorial below:

What you'll need:
Double-sided sticky tape
Hole punch
2/3 pieces of card in 2 different colours (you can also use wrapping paper around any old card)
2 pieces of ribbon (ideally 2 different colours - one about 1 inch thick, the other about 1cm - way to mix measuring systems)

How it's done:

1. With the first piece of card, measure out a square and cut it out (I think I made this about 6in x 6in).

2. Once you have a square, measure out a further square 1 inch in from the edges.

3. Fold each side at the 1in line and cut tabs into the four corners.

4. Using double-sided sticky tape, stick the tabs down to form the base of the bag.

5. With the second piece of card, measure the height you want the bag to be and cut it to size (landscape view, so that it goes further around the base).

6. Looking at the paper in landscape view, stick double-sided sticky tape across the bottom of the card.

7. Stick the card to the base (around 3/4 of the way up, so that the base is visible), and repeat with a second piece of card to cover, then stick the two pieces together. If you make a smaller bag or use a larger piece of card, you shouldn't need to do this (obviously...)

8. Take the thicker ribbon and place it just above the middle of the bag. Measure out enough so that it goes all the way round the bag.

9. Using two strips of double sided sticky tape, stick the ribbon down.

10. Measure out another square in the original card - this time about 2in x 2in.

11. Fold over the card and cut out the corners of the folded edge.

12. Put a hole in the middle of the folded piece of card (between the two cut out corners) - preferably with a hole punch, but if you 'mislay' yours in your tip of a flat, then just poke a pair of scissors through for a more 'rustic' approach...

13. Using double-sided sticky tape, stick the bottom of the card to the top of the bag, right in the middle. Repeat on the other side, making sure the two holes match up when the bag is squeezed together.

14. Using the thinner ribbon, thread it through the two holes.

15. Using the original coloured card, cut out two shapes of choice and write on your chosen sentiment. I chose 'Trick or Treat' seeing as it's Hallowe'en and all...

16. Stick the cut-out shape down over the ribbon going round the bag, and repeat on the other side.

17. Fill the bag with sweets and tie the ribbon at the top of the bag.

And there you have it, an in-no-way-useless 'Trick or Treat' bag. 

In all honesty, this was just a practice run, as I really wanted to make Christmas gift bags, but thought I had to restrain myself what with it being October and all, and this seemed like a happy medium. 

And I've just realised that made it sound ten times sadder... Ah well, I enjoy wrapping presents, there, I've said it.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Pick of the best scented candles

Now I'm a proper grown up, I love candles. That is pretty much how you can tell if you're a grown up... In fact, when you do the 'grown up' test, the questions go:

1) Q: What's the best thing about being an adult? A: Being able to go out and buy a burger and chips whenever you want without asking permission.

2) Q: What's the worst thing about being an adult? A: Washing, cleaning, tidying, using your own money to pay for boring stuff...

3) Q: Do you like scented candles? A: Yes

So yeh, I'd say I'm doing a preeeeeeetty good job at being a grown up...

Here's a pick of my favourites:


I think my main love of candles stems from the fact that they hide a multitude of sins; I figure as long as the room smells like flowers, then it doesn't matter about the mountain of washing and lack of cleaning that has taken place. That's how it works, right?!

These ones all smell amazing, and they make my flat feel nice and cosy as it starts to get colder (boo), so I would say that that is positives all round. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Review: Liberty Free Beauty Gift

Have you been into Liberty recently? They are giving away the BEST free gifts I think I've ever seen. OK so when I say free, you have to cough up a pretty hefty sum (£150) in the beauty department to qualify for it, but I managed to justify it by buying four Christmas presents that I had been eyeing up a week before anyway, and I figured that I could either use the entire thing as a fifth gift, or even split it up and make a few different gifts. Anyway, that's what I told myself...

But anyway, onto the gift itself. Inside the signature Liberty-print wash bag are 22
samples of their handpicked beauty favourites, including amazing cult products such as Eve Lom cleanser, Nars illuminator, Laura Mercier primer and a Dyptique candle. It's just crazy how good this gift is - take a look:

As well as the great products involved, one of the best things about the gift is how big the samples are. Apart from a bit of a teeny Hourglass lipgloss and Trish McEvoy perfume sample, the rest are all big enough to get numerous uses out of, and some things are even full-size, such as the Liberty body wash and the ESPA fitness oil. They claim that the entire thing is worth £300 and I can totally see how - the wash bag alone is worth £35!

If you're a bit of a beauty junkie, then I assure you that you will love this. If not, it would make a great birthday/Christmas present for somebody as it in no way looks like a free gift, or you could even split it up and make your own little gift sets! I have something special planned for mine that will be appearing on my blog in a few months. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving!

Unfortunately, they have all sold out online (I swear they were on there for less than 24 hours!), but they are still available in store so make sure you get there quickly as they're only there while stocks last! 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

What to do in London this weekend: 13th September

It seems like, nowadays, the only thing I write on here are 'Things To Do This Weekend' lists, which is very much a sign of the times: I'm knackered all week and wanting to fill my free time up with plenty of fun things.

So, here's my pick for this weekend:

Luna Cinema - OK, so there is nothing new here; outdoor cinemas, I seem to mention them every week. However, anywhere that is showing the Rocky Horror Picture Show in London has to be added to this list. And in the incredibly pretty/incongruous surrounding of Kew Gardens? Amazing! Be sure to sign up for Rocky Horror on Friday or Ghostbusters (another fave) on Sunday (sadly, Dirty Dancing has sold out on Saturday), before the weather becomes too awful that even the thought of sitting outside makes your nips freeze.

Hoxley & Porter - Halfway up Upper Street is Angel's latest watering-hole. This glamorous bar and restaurant, styled as a 'Victorian drinking den', serves up exotic cocktails and traditional food in a truly decadent surrounding. As an Angel-ite myself, I am VERY excited to witness the colour-changing, absinthe-soaked scorpion that garnishes the 'Whatever Doesn't Kill You' cocktail and soak up atmosphere in this rhino-headed, palm-treed opulent decor. @hoxleyandporter

London Edition Hotel - Having just opened up on Berners Street, this new kid on the block is bringing plenty of old-school glamour to the London hotel scene. The ultimate union of modern and vintage, this is definitely a must for any tourists or Londoners looking for a staycation. If you don't fancy splashing the cash for a room, why not try out the beautiful Berners Tavern, or The Punch Room - the cocktail bar with no bar, but all drink served on a silver tray. It's like being on the Titanic. But you can be fairly sure that your night won't be brought to a brisk end due to a rogue iceberg... @EDITIONHotels (make sure to check out the most beautiful instagram photos...)

Street Feast London - This has been a personal favourite of mine this summer, and yes, I have spoken about it before, but this is the last weekend you get to check out this Dalston pop-up culinary extravaganza. Bajan fishcakes? Yakitori skewers? Popcorn prawn burgers? This is street food done VERY right! And, entry is totally free. Wins all round. @StreetFeastLDN

(Delicious hoisin duck crepes at Street Feast)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

What to do in London this weekend: 6th September

There is SO much going on this weekend, it's cray cray. My inbox is positively overflowing with exciting activities and openings so without further ado, here is my pick of the best:

Blackout Banquet at Butler's Wharf - Starting tonight and running for the next ten days, 140 diners each night are treated to a completely alfresco (although there is a wet-weather contingency plan if the weather remains as pants as it has been today!|) feast at one abnormally large banqueting table. The best bit? At 8.30pm, all electric lighting is turned off, and diners are left to enjoy their treacle-cured salmon with just candlelight and the flow of Tower Bridge to aid them in seeing such culinary delights. The price of this once-in-a-lifetime experience? £35. Buy a ticket. Now.

Grill Shack - OK, so there are a lot of great breakfast and burger joints in London, but what makes this all day grill really stands out is the innovative take on service. You can either order from their app on your phone or at a self-service station in the restaurant (which also lends itself nicely to sending sneaky drinks to other tables...). What's more, if you're watching your figure or a (nuisance) pescatarian like myself, there are plenty of veggie/healthy options to choose from, which is a welcome break from these places that offer one type of burger or nowt.

Mario signs stuff - First things first, I adore video games, and none more than those in the Mario franchise. I blame my family and friends - my grandma completed Mario Bros. on the Nintendo NES at least ten times, and that is a conservative estimate. At uni, we would play MarioKart on the Wii at least once a day. Therefore, you can understand my unbelievable excitement at the prospect of meeting the big guy himself! That's right, this weekend Mario will be in Oxford Street's John Lewis. Or rather, the voice of Mario, Charles Martinet, will be, and he will also be signing autographs amongst all the fun and merriment of "competitions and games". I swear to god, this is the most exciting thing that has every happened in London. Ever.

Pop-up Ping Pong & Retro Arcade Games - Continuing the theme of nerdy video game obsession, I am VERY excited by Pop Up Ping Pong's upcoming event, which brings together some of my favourite things in life: table tennis, beer pong, drinking and vintage video games. Pac man, ping pong and piƱa coladas (possibly) all for £7?? YES. PLEASE.

Pop-up Screens presents Dirty Dancing- I had the best time last week at Future Cinema's Dirty Dancing After Party; those guys seriously put on an amazing event. And, seeing as how you can never have enough Patrick Swayze (it is scientifically impossible) I would definitely be up for watching this again tomorrow. And who doesn't like an outdoor cinema screen with a bar and gourmet popcorn? Nobody. Except agoraphobics maybe... But yes, definitely on my hit list this weekend.

I carried a watermelon...

Disappearing Dining Club; Back in 5 Minutes - I think secret hideouts are my favourite things about London. Ok, so most aren't so secret (I'm looking at you Mayor of Scaredy-Cat Town), but it's nice to think that we're one of the chosen few who know about something unbelievably good. Step up Back in 5 Minutes, a restaurant and private dining room hidden behind a clothes shop on Brick Lane. This amazing little nook in one of the busiest areas of London on a Saturday night is quietly serving up incredible 4 course meals and Grey Goose cocktails to those in the know.

Redemption Bar - Having ticked off everything on my weekend to-do list, you'll probably have a pretty stonking hangover. Don't worry, I have an answer for that too; an alcohol-free bar! On Sunday, make sure to head to this a pop-up that's going against the grain. But seriously, all your favourite cock mocktails, amazing food, a 360 degree view of London and a clear head for work on Monday morning. What's not to like? 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Things to do this weekend: 30th August

It's almost the weekend (woooooo! I appreciate this so much more now that I have a job), and so here is a pick of things to do on these sacred 2 and a bit days:

Future Cinema presents Dirty Dancing - Future Cinema's Dirty Dancing inspired event, is the ultimate night out for any wannabe 'Baby'. Starting with the screening of the classic movie, complete with bars, activities and my fave B.O.B's lobster, you are transported to everyone's favourite holiday destination, Kellerman's, without ever having to leave Hackney Downs. If you didn't get tickets for this, you can always watch the movie at home, preferably with the drinking game, then grab your watermelon and head on over to Kellerman's staff quarters (aka, Oval Space in Bethnal Green) for the ultimate after party! 

Monikers - such a kitsch 'back to school' theme which even boasts an indoor school bus with plenty of walls that you are welcome to graffiti on - what's not to love? The place is more than just good theming though; what really wowed my friends over at gradfoodies, however, was the incredible food. I'm really excited to try it. Mainly because my favourite meals are those made up of small, shareable dishes, and this place specialises in just that. 

Do all your Christmas shopping - to anyone who knows me, it is no secret that I am OBSESSED with Christmas. Seriously, expect to see a LOT of it here in the next few months. And ok, maybe it's a bit too much to ask to complete all of your shopping by the end of August, but with the summer sales in full swing (feelunique have a particularly good one), now is the perfect time to pick up a lot of bits. Also, with Harrods and Selfridges already opening their Christmas shops, you really have no excuse not to be prepared...

Harrods: Christmas in July

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Housewarming gift guide

I have been completely rubbish at writing on here for the past few weeks, but I do have some pretty good excuses. Firstly, and (arguably) most importantly, I finally got a job! I'm talking real life, in the office for 9am, creating reports and spreadsheets. Every. Day. Weeeeeird.

Other news is that literally every member of my family has moved house in the past month to one place or another. Therefore, I've been travelling up and down the country a lot to visit the new abodes, help (ish) people move, celebrate birthdays (including my own, ugh) and play with these amazing beings:

So yeh, very little blogging... But, I am going to ease myself back into this with one of my favourite things to do: a gift guide! And, seeing as how I've had to buy a fair few of these this month, I'm going to make one for housewarming gifts.

Housewarming gifts

Having quite recently moved into my own place, I think the best advice for housewarming gift-giving is to stick to useful things and no decorative items (that need to match a theme/take up a lot of space) unless you know the person REALLY well, and know exactly what they would like to display in there house. With that in mind, I have kept this list to either useful/overlooked items and inoffensive, universally popular house gifts:

Salt and pepper: Kitchen essentials like this (and things like olive oil/balsamic vinegar), are often forgotten items, and this is a really nice alternative to the standard grinders. I think this is also easier to use in cooking so you can just add a 'pinch' at a time.

Fragrance diffuser: Safer than a candle and a longer-lasting smell. Win-win.

Keyring: I've talked about this before, but a special keyring is a great gift to give to make the whole moving-in process a little more special. Even better if you can attach it to the keys beforehand...

Herb 'allotment': The only attempt I have ever made to grow my own herbs was when I bought a mint plant one time I tried to make mojitos. Not only did the drinks not turn out well, but the plant also died almost as soon as it crossed the threshold into my flat. However, if you're buying for anybody that is just a teeny bit more green-fingered, then this is a cute (and in no way unnecessary) gift.

Vase: When I first moved in, my friends very kindly brought flowers round. However, I did not have a vase in which to display them. Granted, I was pretty crafty and cut a large Evian bottle in half, but there's shabby chic and then there's just grim.

Champagne: Obviously, it does NOT have to be Cristal, which is ludicrously expensive. However, anybody who has ever watched MTV Cribs knows that it is completely essential to keep at least one bottle of this in your fridge at all times if you stand any chance of being taken seriously in your rap career...

Finally, as I have said, there are a lot of everyday things you forget about when moving; cleaning products, biscuits, condiments... Therefore, I think a very nice and thoughtful gift is to put a hamper together of such essential items, which may not be too glamorous, but greatly appreciated and can be spruced up with some fancy wrapping. Come on, who doesn't want a box of rubber gloves and Cillit Bang wrapped up in cellophane when they move into a new house?!