Friday 29 November 2013

Recipe: How to make peppermint creams

Peppermint Creams

This is the easy to follow recipe I used to create the gifts for my bridesmaids.

Makes: 50 approximately 


520g Icing sugar (plus extra for rolling out)
1/4 lemon juice
1 tbsp peppermint flavouring
1 egg white
1 small bar of dark chocolate
Greaseproof/baking parchment 
Rolling pin
1 large bowl
Board/work surface 

Watch out - this is messy work! 

Step 1
Crack an egg and put the egg white into a large mixing bowl. This can be done by swapping the yolk between each shell half several times. Be sure not to get any yolk in your bowl. Whisk the whites until stiff. Tip: you should be able to move the bowl side to side without the egg white moving.

Step 2
Measure out the icing sugar, then sieve it into the mixing bowl.

Step 3

Add the peppermint essence and lemon juice. Remove pips if you accidentally get any in your mixture. Whisk gradually until it all comes together. This might take a couple of minutes, but don't be tempted to speed up as this will cause icing sugar to fly everywhere.

Step 4

Put the combined mixture onto a board covered in lots of icing sugar (also sieved). Don't use tour work surface as the icing sugar makes this tricky to clean. If your mixture looks too much like this (above) you need to roll it around in icing sugar until it looks more like this:

Step 5

Coat your rolling pin with a liberal layer of sieved icing sugar and roll out your mixture. You can do this to your preferred thickness, but I think thinner is best so I aim for 25mm, (no, I don't measure it).

Step 6

Cut your shapes - stars and circles work well. Place these on a parchment-lined tin and refrigerate for approximately two hours.

Step 7

Ten minutes before you remove your peppermint creams from the fridge, melt a bar of dark chocolate on a plate over a pan of boiling water. Pour this over your shapes in whatever way you like (but avoid getting chocolate onto the parchment as it's very difficult to extract the peppermint creams if this has happened). Refrigerate again for 30-45 minutes.

Step 8

Wrap a bundle of jolly chocolatey peppermints in pretty tissue paper and put into a gift box. A simple, but thoughtful end delicious present. Alternatively, use this to make your invitations.

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Handmade, Personalised Bridesmaid Invitations

This week I asked three of my wonderful friends to be my bridesmaids. Yay!

I mulled over how to do this for far too long (I do enjoy making a faff) - quite the opposite to my fiancé who asked two of his friends to be his best men as I flipped pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. It wasn't the sort of moment I'd imagined, but the boys were more than happy.

But that was never going to work for me. I wanted to tell the girls why I wanted them to be such an important part of our day, but without soppy gushiness. Our friendships are, after all, based on a sturdy foundation of hilarious stories, lots of laughter and shared confidences. 

Then this idea popped into my head and I wanted to share it with you because it made them smile. 

Peppermint creams and bridesmaid storyboard


What you need:

A5 watercolour paper (or similar) - one piece per bridesmaid,
Gold pen,
A little patience and a good memory...

Step 1

Choose between 8 and 12 memories of you and your friend. I needed to sketch these out before drawing them onto the watercolour paper. Draw arrows to link them chronologically to trace your 'story'. Stick people work well - and they're easy peasy!

Step 2

On the back, write the same invite, which should include the date and perhaps some tongue-in-cheek 'bridesmaid duties'. 

Step 3 

Roll up the invitations and tie them with a 'to have and to hold' (or other pretty) ribbon.

Step 4

To finish, I put them inside a woven heart with a parcel of homemade peppermint creams. 

And there we are. A lovely personalised bridesmaid invitation for each of your girls.


Wednesday 20 November 2013

Mother of the Bride Autumn Winter Stylish Unusual Wedding Outfits

My post earlier in the year on stylish and unusual mother of the bride outfits received such a great response that I've been asked to write another one for autumn/winter weddings. If you're reading this as a future Mother of the Bride - CONGRATULATIONS! And well done for looking for an outfit that breaks the typical 'MoB uniform' mould; I hope you find something here to inspire you.

First thing's first, ladies - dress to suit YOU. Secondly, dress to suit the WEATHER.

My wedding (yay!) is due to take place in Northumberland in October next year and so no, it's not likely to be warm...or even mild, for that matter. Therefore, my Mam has opted for a three quarter length dress and velvet coat. She's also bought a felt Whiteley hat and will wear tights and gloves. She will look beautiful because a) the outfit is stunning and b) she'll be comfortable and not freezing to death in the church as she waits for me to show up.

Some of you might be thinking my mother is super organised as she has her outfit one year in advance, but actually this is really the only way to do it. By waiting until next year, you will find your only choices are from the spring/summer collections - so, by buying your outfit now, you will be saving yourself from dressing in a flowery dress and flimsy hat and teaming them with blue arms and legs.


Plums, purples, navies, greens, golds and reds are a good way to go. Don't discount charcoal shades either. Pewter is a gorgeous shade and don't forget - Kate Middleton wore black to a friend's wedding a couple of years ago and looked the epitome of elegance. Opt for luxe fabrics such as silk, taffeta, tulle and lace. Embroidery and sequins will add a special touch.


Think about how formal the wedding will be and dress accordingly. Go for a classic style - nothing dates wedding photographs more than hyper-on-trend dressing. 
Tips: Sweetheart necklines are a great option for flat chested and bigger busted women alike and are guaranteed to flatter. Three-quarter length sleeves are stylish, flattering and warm. Skirt length should be between just above the knee and ankle length, but think about your height here. If you have slim calves then a midi will work well. 


A coat is a definite must for autumn/winter weddings. Frock coats (knee length) are particularly elegant and are very much back in fashion. 

Hat: Always a must for a wedding. Consider felt designs as these are chic and practical.

Gloves: Leather, fur, cashmere are all good choices. Make sure the colour compliments your coat/hat.

Bag/clutch: If you don't have any sparkle in your outfit, the purse is the perfect opportunity to add some.

Shoes: Again, if you don't have any sparkle in your outfit, treat yourself to some glitzy shoes. Make sure the height is suitable to walk around in for a long time. Top tip: wear them with thick socks around the house a couple of times before the day. That way the leather will have softened. More accessories here.

The Blackberries

Embroidered Jersey Dress, Maxmara, £245

Infinity Bead Flapper Dress £325 Jigsaw

Alberta Dress, Libelula, £325

Tabitha Dress, Monsoon, £169

Tuesday Dress, Vivienne Westwood, £455

Sliwa Dress, Libelula, £335

The Rubies

Spot Flower Beaded Georgette, Libelula, £245

Layla Lace Dress, Monsoon, £119

Embroidered Tulle Fitted Dress, Jigsaw, £139

Phase Eight £179

Monday Dress, Vivienne Westwood, £430

The Emeralds

Ivonne Dress, Fenn Wright Manson, £200

Eliza J ¾ Ruched Waist Dress, House of Fraser, £91

The Charcoals:

Eliza J Spot Mesh 1950s Dress, House of Fraser, £91

Organza Boat Neck Dress, Orla Kiely

Per Una  Speziale Embellished Sparkle Dress, M&S, £149

Saturday Dress, Vivienne Westwood, £620

The Golds

Halton Dress, Vivienne Westwood, £525

Hobbs Invitation Tamsin Dress, £159.20

Wrap Dress, Issa, £565

Cerys Fitted Dress, L K Bennett, £185

Beatrix Dress, Libelula, £799


Tuesday 19 November 2013

Lucy Says I Do Danish Design Lucky Winner

I have not been around much of late as I’ve been busy revelling in the delights of autumn and basking in the twinkling lights of Christmas markets (is there anything better?).

But, I just have to share with you the most exciting, wonderful, stupendous news a bride-to-be could receive...

I won a competition!

And not just any competition – oh no. I won our entire wedding stationery courtesy of Lucy Says I Do.

Let’s just take a few moments to take that in, shall we?

For fellow brides-to-be, this will most likely be a familiar name as Lucy’s designs have graced many top wedding blogs, websites and photo-shoots. I have long admired her whimsical designs and have seen the full range at a couple of Miss Vintage Wedding Affair events. So, naturally when the competition was advertised I leapt at the chance. 

I commented on the new ‘Danish Blue’ design which, because James’ Grandma was Danish and the traditions she kept are still at the beating heart of his family, and because it’s downright pretty, is the perfect choice for our autumn wedding.

It never crossed my mind that I would be the lucky winner of such an incredible prize, so imagine my delight when I logged onto Facebook on my dilapidated phone while on a delayed train into London and saw this:

That's me!


As any bride will know, stationery can be a bit of a chore – and I’m speaking as a creative sort who can think of nothing better than PVA glue and sequins. But wedding stationery can be a rather intimidating prospect. So, to have it all sorted now is amazing. And to be able to have such a stunning design for ours is more than I could have imagined. I am one very lucky girl indeed.

I’ve included some of Lucy’s photographs of her designs below, so you can get a sneak peak at what our invitations will look like and perhaps be inspired for your own wedding stationery, too. The Danish design comes in two colours, (we’re sticking with the blue, but the pinks and greens would be gorgeous for summer).

Danish Blue

Danish Blue

And you can also see some of my other favourites, too.

All images courtesy of

Thank you so much to Lucy Says I Do for this fantastic prize. We are thrilled and can’t wait to send the invitations so everyone can see how beautiful they are.

Sarah and James x

Saturday 16 November 2013

Marks and Spencer Christmas Dress

Marks & Spencer
Magic & Sparkle

You've seen the advert (and Rosie H-W in her underwear again); now it's time to see the clothes.

M&S have come back swinging this season and their party wear is definitely something to write home about.

Below is my stylist pick of the party range:
Think 'Russian princess' and team plum gloss with crisp white sparkle and top it off with luxe fur to achieve ultimate party perfection. 

If you found this useful, please vote for my stylist choice in the M&S competition: #mandsstyleboard 

Lots of love and festive cheer


Friday 1 November 2013

Dress of the Month November

Dress of the Month

The Designer

Plumo, launched in 1997.

The Dress

Shaker Dress, £229.

French Connection Salsa Faux Fur Coat, John Lewis £156 (Price Match)

Weekend by MaxMara Alpaca Coat, Dark Green, John Lewis, £375

Plain Tights in Plum, Poppy, £17.99

Bow Tights, John Lewis, £8

Bertie Peron Brogue Boots, John Lewis, £68 (Price Match)

The Blurb

Black and indigo plaid dress made from woven organic merino wool. Pin tucked on shoulders and drawstring waist for altering fit. 2 side pockets. Texture of material is similar to cheesecloth. Fairtrade/ethical hand crafted product. 100% wool. Dry clean only. 

The Reason

Well, it's tartan for a start so that should be reason enough. But, the dark shades also make this a subtle and feminine choice - ideal for styling with woolly tights and chunky brogue boots. Or, alternatively, shoosh it up with sparkly tights, heels, and a belt for winter evening chic. This will be your go-to dress for years to come.