Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Sugar Skull Halloween Costumes

When I was at sixth form my A Level Art project was the study of the Mexican tradition, The Day of The Dead. Since then I have always wanted to use it as inspiration for a Halloween costume but have never got round to doing it. Adam and I are going to a friend's Halloween party next Sunday so finally I am going to do it! We didn't want to spend a tonne of money on costumes and the basics of this idea we already had so we just needed little extras to bring it all together.
If any of you fancy doing the same thing, I am going to talk you through how we're going to do it and where we have got all the bits and bobs from. 
For Adam's costume he will be wearing black trousers, white shirt, black suit jacket and black shoes. All of which he already owned. We ordered him a top hat and a black bow tie from eBay fancy dress shops, both of which were ridiculously cheap and were delivered super quick. I bought a bag of artificial flower heads, also from eBay, to add onto the top hat to make it look the part. I am going do this by glue gunning the flower heads to piece of black elastic and simply placing it over the existing band on the hat already. I didn't want to glue directly onto the hat just in case we needed the top hat again in the future. I am then just going to paint Adam's face a sugar skull design using the Snazaroo Rainbow Face Painting Kit and then he's set to go! The colours in that kit are absolutely perfect for this kind of face paint design, they're nice and bright and great quality. 
For my costume I am going to wear a collared black dress with a lace bodice that poofs out slightly at the waste with black tights and black boots. All of which are already in my wardrobe. I ordered some lace black gloves from Amazon and bought some fake eyelashes to pop on after my face paint. I have done a practice run of the face paint design so I'll put the picture further down. I'm really happy with it but it did like 2 and half hours so I'm going to have to speed up on the day because I'll have 2 of us to paint! I am going to curl my hair and create a quiff at the front and then pin the flower heads into the side of the quiff. 
There we have it! A cheap but really cool Halloween costume! 
What are you going as this year?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

5 Affordable Things to do in Autumn

Finding things to do in our spare time is always a challenge, especially when we are being very strict with our spending. Everything seems to cost the earth these days! You can't go to a sweet cafe for a cuppa without being charged a tenner for two drinks and a brownie. Adam and I are used to Yorkshire prices. Now the weather is on the turn too, we are even more limited with our options! I don't think we are alone in this predicament so I thought I would let you know what sort of things we end up doing and hopefully it'll help out.
1. Get into the Halloween spirit and get your pumpkin carving on! 
This is one of my absolute favourite things to do this time of year and I feel it is an important tradition to keep up. I have always done it religiously since I was a kid. My mum actually told me that pumpkins used to be blinking expensive when I was little so she used to buy us turnips to carve instead...Yes turnips! Can you imagine hollowing out a turnip?! Our pumpkins were 2 for £3 from Asda which I thought was a good deal. Adam admitted to me the other day that he has never even carved a pumpkin before! I was horrified so am taking it upon myself to rectify the situation on Monday. Carving pumpkins always takes a while and is always a lot of fun. So there we go, an afternoon of festive fun for £3!
2. Baking! 
For me, baking in the cooler months is all about tradition and anything with warm flavours. Anything that makes me feel homely. Treats such as gingerbreads, shortbreads, carrot cakes are perfect and all very simple. I will be blogging a carrot cake recipe soon. I love spices but I don't like them to be over powering. Carrot cake is lovely because it has sweetness alongside hints of nutmeg and cinnamon with the crunch of tasty walnuts. It is one of my favourite things ever.
3. Get into a series or watch some festive films.
 I love to watch the traditional Halloween type films at this point every year. I'm not talking about scary films, I'm talking Disney's Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Both oldies but goodies in my eyes.
Adam and I recently watched an amazing series on Netflix called Narcos. The series tells the true story of Pablo Escobar and the creation of the Colombian drug cartel.. Not festive at all admittedly BUT still fantastic! We binge watched it over 2 days whilst cosy-ing up with baked goods and big fluffy throw.
4. Another thing to do with a fluffy throw and baked goods is to snuggle up and read. Often on a night we will be at either end of the sofa with our noses firmly stuck in a book. At the moment I am reading Alan Carr's autobiography which is hilarious. I just finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and I can't recommend it enough. If you love a awkward and humorous love story then you're in for a treat with that one!
5. I know I mentioned the turn in the weather but when it isn't raining, Autumn offers up the most beautiful, crisp, sunny days. When we're feeling energetic on days off (which is very rare) we'll wrap up go for a little walk to the park a couple of minutes away from our flat, just to get us out and about. I love being wrapped up in a big scarf and hat, scouting around for the perfect conker like I'm 5 years old... 
Take a flask and some gingerbread, sit on a bench OR a picnic blanket if you're feeling extremely Pinterest, and just take in the wonderfulness that is Autumn!  

Whats your favourite thing to do in Autumn?

Sunday, 18 October 2015

A Croc-ing Day Out

Today we took a little road trip to Crocodiles of The World in Brize Norton, the UK's only crocodile zoo. Adam's absolute favourite thing is anything with scales. It has been his dream to visit this place for a very long time so when our friend Erica suggest we go this weekend, we jumped at the chance.
The admission for an adult was only £8.95 which I thought was really reasonable. Admission for children is £6.95 and children the age of 2 and under go free!
It was fantastic to hear about how the zoo started just from one man's dream and to see how the zoo has progressed over the years. The zoo is still quite a small premises but it has grown vastly over the past few years and they spoke about further expansions in the near future. 
Don't be fooled by the name! The zoo is not exclusively crocodiles/alligators, there are a variety of other animals dotted around. Meerkats, Kookaburra, Lizards, Macaw and snakes to just name a few. There is also a little play park for if you are visiting with children. Talks and activities go on through the day also. We watched the Nile Crocodile feeding and were involved in the Meet the Animals talk, which finished we an absolutely adorable baby skunk! Both were brilliantly presented by a zookeeper called Terry (I'm pretty sure he was called Terry). Another lovely zookeeper called Ian was on hand to tell us info on some of the other crocodiles in the enclosures. One of which had just had babies (Awwww). We also got the opportunity to touch one of the slightly older babies, they have super soft tummies and were very very cute. 
Overall, we had a really lovely day and the staff were all brilliant. It was nice to see the scalier animals get a bit more attention! 
On the way back home we stopped off at a country pub and had a tasty Sunday dinner topped off with a chocolate brownie for me and pint of Guinness for Adam. Perfection. A very nice way to spend a Sunday I think!
Now we are just cosied up watching The Big Bang Theory so I thought do a quick blog post to show you what we've been up to! 

Hope you've all had a nice Sunday!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Seasonal Makeover / Affordable Ways To Change Your Decor For The Change in Season

Interiors and changing up our decor in the flat is something I love to do so if you're anything like me, the change in season not only effects your wardrobe, but effects your home decor as well. Gone are the days of bright patterns and florals. The time for spicy scents and fluffy blankets are upon us! 
Its unrealistic to change every single part of your decor and honestly, who can afford too?!
I recently got a couple of things that have helped to transform our flat ready for the chillier months.
You don't have to break the bank to change things up with your decor, just a few subtle changes will make a big difference.
I don't have the best of cameras so the pictures aren't as great as I would've liked. Also we only have a diddy one bedroom flat so they're is only one angle I can really take pictures from. 
Anyways, here we go!  
1. Every year, I always buy some sort of seasonal bedding. George Home at ASDA have some absolutely fantastic duvet sets in at the moment. There were so many to choose from. In the past I have picked a design that is super super christmassy, like a fairisle print or like last year I got a set that was covered in stags (Both of which I still love). This year I was conscious that I also had to take Adam's taste into account so I didn't want to got tooo crazy. I chose the George Home Christmas Tree Duvet, just a plain white cover dotted with black and grey winter tree drawings/paintings. Not only did I love the design but the price was too good to miss out on as well. For a kingsize duvet cover and two pillow cases, £14 seemed like an absolutely amazing price! I was slightly weary of what the quality would be like but when the set arrived I was happy to discover that my doubts were unnecessary. The quality is brilliant, no scratchiness, no cardboard-like feel and it felt even nicer after a wash. The parcel arrived super super quick too so I definitely recommend taking a look.
2. Cosy is without a doubt the way to go in the Autumn/Winter months. Fairy lights and candles just scream cosy! There is just something about snuggling up in a big fluffy blanket (or your new bedding) with your candles lit and you fairy lights twinkling away. Both can be bought on the cheap too. You can get some gorgeous fairy lights from places like Primark, Home Bargains, Wilko's, eBay, tonnes of places. My white fairy lights came from a DIY shop in my hometown about a billion years a go and they've lasted me years.
The pearly tealight holders on our bedstands were from the Yankee Candle Outlet store in York. They were only a few pounds each and they look absolutley beautiful when they are lit up.
3. Everything always smells so much more warming and homely in the cooler months. I love to get the foodie scents out that have a hint of spice to them. It smells like your baking delicious treats all of the time just without the effort. The last thing I got was a reed diffuser from Homebase. It was the lovely price of £3.99 and it smells delicious. I can't find the scent online to leave a link and unfortunately it doesn't have it on the bottle either so I am not sure of its exact name. It came in orange packaging and definitely had a name related to spices... I'm a doughnut and can't remember. If you're near a Homebase, do go and smell them because they have some lovely ones and they usually come in candle form too. This one smells like a spiced cake in the oven. You get a whiff of it every now and then and its like heaven! £3.99.. can't go wrong!

So there we go! I know these changes are probably obvious but I just wanted to prove that you don't have to do much or spend much to change things up! 

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Rosie Loves / Autumn / Wishlist #1

Hello everyone!

This is my first ever wishlist on this blog. I love Autumn and the fashion at this time of the year is my absolute favourite. I love to be wrapped up all nice and cosy! 
Adam and I are trying to be super super good with money at the moment so I'm just going to have to keep window shopping for the time being. 
So here are just a few things from the high street that I am absolutely in love with. 
1. Black Cord Dungarees - New Look £26.99
2. Ankle Boots - H&M £29.99
3. Zazula Faux Suede Biker Jacket Mustard - Missguided £40.00
4. Mini Cable Knit Roll Neck Jumper - Topshop £28.00
5. Topshop Matte Lip Bullet Shade Get Me Bodied - Topshop £8.00
6. Handbag - H&M £29.99
7. ASOS Open Cage Ear Cuff Pack - ASOS £5.00
8. Sleeveless Belted Coat - Topshop £50.00

So there we go! All the things I'm lusting over currently. Let me know what you're wishing for this Autumn.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Salted Caramel Dark Choc Chip Cupcakes

Hi again! Long time no speak!

Salted Caramel is one of my favourite things of all time. I'm not always a fan of sweet with savoury but I just feel that salted caramel really really works. As it is now Autumn (my absolute favourite time of the year) I thought it was time to bring out the Autumnal-ish bakes! This is a recipe that I haven't attempted before so it was a bit of a guessing game. I chose to add dark chocolate chips as I thought they would tone down the super sweetness of the caramel. Its easy to get sickly with such a strong flavour. I had quite a few taste tasters for this bake and they seemed to be a success. So lets get started!

6oz (170g) Butter (Softened)
6oz (170g) Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
6oz (170g) Self Raising Flour
1/4 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
1x 100g Bag of Dark Chocolate Chips (Keep a few aside for sprinkling at the end)

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
1x 397g Can of Caramel
3oz (85g) Butter 
1/4 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
15oz (425g) Icing Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 170C and fill your muffin tin with 12 cases. I picked a bright Autumnal Orange for this bake. 
2. Cream butter and caster sugar until smooth.
3. Measure flour into seperate bowl and add salt. Add the flour and eggs gradually to the butter and sugar mixture.
4. Stir in dark chocolate chips, making sure to leave a few for sprinkling if you'd like!
5. Spoon mixture into cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer/sharp knife comes out clean.
6. While the cupcakes are cooling, whip up your buttercream. Measure approximately half a can of Caramel into a large bowl along with the butter.
7. Measure icing sugar and salt into a smaller bowl and add gradually to butter and caramel mixture. Use an electric whisk to whip the mixture up until it is holding its shape.
8. When the cupcakes have cooled, use some of the remaining caramel and spread it on top of the cupcakes.
9. Fill up your piping bag with the buttercream and pipe away! I attempted to put stripes of the caramel into my piping bag before my buttercream so that it would make a nice swirl effect, which it did! BUT it only lasted for a couple of cupcakes so I wouldn't recommend it.
10. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on the top to finish them off.

There we go! A tasty autumnal bake to cheer you up in this bleak weather!