Tuesday 11 November 2014

Brit Decor: Christmas with Zazzle.co.uk!

I am generally one of those people who gasps in horror at the sight of any Christmas paraphernalia hitting my eye-line before the month of November, although I do concede there are benefits to forward planning! However, now that Halloween and, for us Brits, Guy Fawkes night, is behind us, I am rolling up my metaphorical sleeves to begin the task of thinking about which gifts I might buy for loved ones this Festive season.

I know it's a much joked about problem but actually - what do we buy the person who has everything? Seriously? My dream scenario would be to have all the free time in the world to devote towards creating my own unique gifts, customised for each very special and individual recipient. Of course the reality is very far removed from the fantasy because individual 'make' projects take time, and lots of it, in fact more precious time than most of us have to spare.

That's why I recently jumped at the opportunity to team up with the lovely folk at Zazzle to collate a collection of 'Christmas-cool' with a unique selection of gifts, which I have chosen from their extensive range of original products. I love how this online store allowed me to be creative and run wild with the wealth of customisable options available, including choice of colour palettes, editable text, and I could even upload my own images, which were then cleverly applied to my chosen gifts. Note to all my instafriends - you may be excited to learn that Zazzle can also apply a selection of your favourite Instagram photos to products like cushions and in a design of your choice too. Imagine turning your favourite pics into stylish home wares!

With a huge and exciting collection of trending chevron designs, graphic prints and the latest home-wares styles to click and scroll my way through, Zazzle has definitely made it into my little black book of interiors goodies.

So thanks to Zazzle, this year I won't be experiencing any of the usual pre-Christmas gift buyer's angst, because I have found the perfect shopping solution. This way, I can still apply my own creativity to each gift but I get somebody else to do the making part - it's a win-win situation! 

Starting with my first selection shown 'above', here's my 2014 Christmas shopping list...

1. Merry & Bright Christmas photo card £1.55
2. Monogrammed Christmas ornament £17.95
3. Instagram throw pillow £25.95
4. Pastel rainbow personalised tote £8.00
5. Grey chevron luggage tag £9.00
6. Nautical Damascus Reason Espresso cup £12.95

And here' are my picks from the selection 'below'...

1. Wood grain grey pine tree cushion £26.95
2. Finlay Pinback Button £3.25
3. Chevron zigzag pattern wrapping paper £18
4. Rain rain rain iPad case £40.95
5. Vintage Aztec Tribal wood Maple iPhone 6 case £38.95
6. Chevron Chic monogram mug £10.95
7. Vintage Art Deco travel poster £9.30

I hope this selection has inspired you to put some Zazzle into your Christmas! I'd love to hear how you add your own creative touches to Christmas gift buying. 

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Brit Decor: Bakes/ Apple & Cinnamon Loaf

All images / Mike Ahern

At the cottage, Saturdays tend to be grocery delivery day - but until that point during the afternoon when the delivery van pulls up, supplies can sometimes run a little low, and its on these occasions that I need to be extra creative with cooking ingredients when whipping up those much anticipated weekend treats.

With the onset of Winter, I find that comfort food takes on a new larger and warmer appearance, compared to the smaller and lighter treats of Summertime, and last weekend was no exception. Although the weather was still extremely mild, psychologically, the bare trees and dull light told me that a comforting bake was required, so that's exactly what I made.

This Apple & Cinnamon loaf is a simple bake that tastes delightful when eaten fresh from the oven and looks great too for that rustic good food look. 

How to make:
300g Self raising flour
150g Brown sugar
125g Unsalted butter
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Large eggs
2 roughly chopped apples

1x loaf tin

How to make:
Peel and core both of the apples. Mix the flour, sugar and butter together until you have a crumb-like consistency. Then add the eggs, chopped apples and cinnamon. Mix together thoroughly and then place into the loaf tin, sprinkle some brown sugar and flour over the top and bake at 150oc for approximately 35 minutes or until golden brown.

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