Thursday 28 November 2013

Brit Decor: You've got mail...

Days like yesterday really do make me smile. When I received a large brown envelope with 'please do not bend' printed across it and a bold red & white coloured sticker, which read 'Lucie Sheridan', I knew my day was about to become a whole lot brighter!

Lucie, a talented illustrator and screen printer is based in Bristol and has created pieces for the likes of Heals, The Guardian, The Sunday Times and Penguin, to name but a few.  I love her simple but quirky style and so naturally I was absolutely thrilled to receive three of Lucie's amazing 2014 calendars hot off the press. Lucie has also produced a super-cool sausage dog print and fun textile designs, including some fantastic lampshades - all available via her online store.

Although I would love to be ultra greedy and keep all three,  I have decided to give a calendar away to one lucky reader via the Brit Decor Facebook page. To enter, all you have to do is 'like' the Brit Decor FB page - simple! The closing date is 6th December and the lucky winner will be picked at random.

A big 'thank you' to Lucie and watch out for her in 2014 #BrightFuture.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Brit Decor: Midweek Bake

Okay I know all of this sweet baking is becoming a bit of habit but how could I resist making these Malteaser crunch biscuits!? They are so easy to make and with minimal ingredients, plus I had the added bonus of relieving some stress using a vintage spoon to crush the Mateasers ready for the biscuit topping.

Here's how to make around 12…

220g of unsalted butter
170g caster sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 eggs
300g self-raising flour
135g of Malteasers

Preheat the oven to around 180 oc /Gas mark 4 and line two baking trays.
Mix the butter together with the caster and muscovado sugars until creamy then add the eggs and the vanilla extract until the mixture becomes fluffy. Slowly add the flour until the mixture is nice and thick.

Spoon or freestyle 6 blobs of the mixture onto each tray and bake for just under 10 minutes. Meanwhile crush the Malteasers up, leaving a dozen or so whole & untouched and place to one side.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and press the whole Malteasers into the soft biscuits. Then sprinkle over the remaining crushed chocolates.

Yes it really was that easy!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Brit Decor: Handmade

Does anyone else become overwhelmed with the urge to craft and create in the run-up to Christmas? Well no prizes for guessing that I have been busy rolling up my sleeves for a little bit of festive creativity!

I am usually drawn to striking graphic print cards and very nearly opted for the V&A Printmakers range but instead I decided it was time to explore the homemade option and release some creative energy…

My brief was to go for a handprinted look with something of a vintage 1930's feel (it's been a very 'Gatsby year' you know) so this Indigo blu rubber stamp really ticked the boxes. I wanted to keep the overall design simple and I loved the natural feel of these recycled postcards and envelops. In keeping with my vintage theme, I opted for a very traditionally festive red ink which offered the perfect contrast against the textured brown card.

There was something extremely satisfying and therapeutic about gently dabbing the stamp against the ink pad and then hand-printing it onto the card. The end result was exactly the look I was hoping for and I can't wait to start posting them out to friends!

Have you chosen your Christmas cards yet?

Friday 15 November 2013

Brit Decor: Bakes

Something for the weekend…I have wanted to make some red velvet cupcakes for too long to remember, so in a eureka moment I decided to roll up my sleeves and have a good old fashioned baking session this week. The deep rich red colouring of the fluffy sponge set against the pale cream frosting makes these little gems look so tempting and so it seemed only right to add some glamorous gold cupcake cases to complete the luxurious look! As with many of the Brit Decor bakes, I tend to opt for simple and speedy recipes and this one is no exception...

You will need:

60g unsalted butter
150g plain flower
150g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml milk
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
11/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar 
Cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

12 hole cupcake tray.

Preheat oven to 170oC or 325oC gas.

Place the milk and butter into a mixer and beat until light and fluffy before adding the egg. In a separate bowl mix the cocoa powder with the red food colouring and add the vanilla extract to create a thick red paste. Add this to the butter mixture and stir in. Gradually add the milk and flour before adding the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar - beat these ingredients together well.

Put the mixture into cases and place in the oven for 20-25 mins (mine were perfectly cooked in 20).

Cream cheese frosting:
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter 125g cream cheese

Gently sift the icing sugar and add the butter before mixing together and adding the  cream cheese -  beat until light and fluffy. I chose to sprinkle some freeze-dried raspberry pieces over the frosting and couldn't resist adding some cute little flags.

Enjoy your weekend friends!

Monday 11 November 2013

Brit Decor:ate

1/ Natale Gold LED Fairy Lights £20 Habitat 2/ Bentzen Crystals £10 twentytwentyone
3/ Arran Cream Wool Bauble £3 Habitat 4/ Grey 9 Point Star £9.95 Idyll Home
5/ Cream Paper Christmas Decoration £10 Starling Store 6/ Driftwood Christmas Tree £48
Idyll Home 7/ Noah Cream Felt Reindeer £3.50 Habitat 8/ Set of 3 White Paper Decorations
£8 Rockett St George  

One of the great things about blogging is the editorial freedom that it brings me and so when friends and family make a special request for a feature, I like to make it a reality for them, simply because I can. So when my amazingly talented Sister recently asked if I could offer her some inspiration on re-modelling her Christmas decorations this year, I leapt at the task with elfish skips of joy! 

As luck would have it, shopping for Christmas decs is one of my very favourite things to do at this time of year and having built up quite a collection over a number of years, including a beautiful glass bauble from a recent trip to Venice, I love to treat myself to one or two new items each year - this way I feel like I am the curator of a growing collection. I also love the intricate process of un-wrapping each of the more delicate decorations after their year long hibernation and re-familiarising myself with each of the designs, especially some of the more sentimental objects like those passed to me by my Gran - it's the #SimpleThings.

With the growing number of temptingly good decorations to choose from each year, this festive period is the best yet! Therefore, I have broken down my selections into three different styles with the first being 'Simplicity'. True to my minimal roots, I love the simple elegance and sophistication of paper decorations which I am pleased to see are trending massively this year and these work really well in neutral tones mixed with greys for subtle contrast. With this theme it's more about texture and design than it is about colour but don't forget to add in some simple chain lights to add a magical sparkle to your scheme.

Which style will you be opting for this Christmas...?

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