Monday, December 28, 2015

For Audrey flower decal manicure


Summer has officially arrived in Australia (it has been scorching here in Melbourne), which means it is time to update my manicure and pedicure shades for the warmer weather.
In winter I typically wear deep, vampy shades, so I am excited to swap dark lacquers for more vibrant hues.

I love trying new shades and experimenting with interesting colour combinations, but there are many times when fatigue and pain (or even the fact I just can't be bothered) means I have to keep things simple.


Cute flower decals are perfect for the times when you want to zhuzh up your manicure without much effort. After a few coats of polish, I stuck on these gorgeous decals to add some interest. I think they go perfectly with this shade from China Glaze called 'For Audrey', which is an ode to Audrey Hepburn.

 
I just adore this Tiffany inspired turquoise polish. It lives up to the hype and has become my go-to polish for spring and summer. It is a definite must have for polish enthusiasts.

This is a spring manicure I did back in the day when I had gel applied to my nails at a salon to make them stronger and help nail polish last longer. I found these snaps when I was going through some old photos and was reminded that I forgot to blog about this pretty polish. (Better late than never is my motto.)


I have since stopped getting my gel treatments as I found that my nails grew crazy long too quickly, making it a little difficult (and expensive) to keep up with getting the regrowth filled. I do miss having super strong and shiny nails though, so I am thinking about getting a DIY kit and having a go at doing them myself. That way I could stay on top of the regrowth better and maintain an optimal length for crafting and daily chores. It would be so much cheaper in the long run, not to mention more convenient too.

I plan on bombarding you with 2015/2016 bright summer manicures soon. I hope.

 

 

 
 
 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Christmas Wish List


 
I’m always interested to know what other people have put on their Christmas wish list; turns out you are too. Seeing as my 2014 Christmas wish list was a hit, I thought I’d share the products that have made it onto my must-have list this year.
I am probably one of the easiest people to buy gifts for. If it’s a present from a baking, book, makeup, craft, or clothing store, chances are I’ll love it.
But seeing as though it can be overwhelming for someone to shop in places like a craft or makeup store when they are not into those things and don’t have a clue where to even begin, I like to put together a handy guide to help point my family in the right direction so they can purchase gifts more confidently. Aren’t I nice?
Every year I spend time putting a lot of thought into my Christmas wish list. If possible, I like to make sure that I have a wide variety of products at different price points to give my family plenty of options.

Hopefully you’ll discover some things that you might want to put on your wish list next year, or at the very least, find some gift giving inspiration.

Here are some things I’d love to receive this Christmas:

Books and music


Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans


I am extremely keen to read this story about a woman who has overcome the hypocrisy and politics that sometimes occurs within church communities, and how she found her place and purpose in the church again.
Unfortunately, Christians can be some of the worst people sometimes. There have certainly been times in my life when some Christians have made me feel ashamed to call myself one.
While I haven’t personally encountered the problems Evans has, I think I’ll still be able to relate to her on some level as I am terribly unhappy in my current church. I have been hurt so many times and I’ve reached the point where I just don’t care very much for going anymore.
It’s a long story and I’m not sure yet whether I’ll blog it, but at the moment I am trying to decide whether to tell a pastor how I’ve been feeling and give this church another chance, or if I should just walk away and find a church that I completely love. I’m hoping this book will help make what I should do a bit clearer.

Hope Beyond Cure by David McDonald

 
This book seems like it will be a great read for me. It’s about a Christian pastor who received a terminal cancer diagnosis which then lead him to turn back to the Bible and question: “Is God there? Does He care? When there is no cure, does God still offer hope?”
This year has been one of the worst years of my life; I have felt extremely hopeless and depressed. I need to read this book.
 
 
Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge

 
This book sounds like it’s a heart-warming read.


Elevation Worship Wake Up the Wonder

 
Their music often gets me through the bad days.


Colouring books and pencils


If you’re following me on Instagram, you will know that I’ve been getting into the colouring in craze lately. I’m addicted, and love these stunning books: Secret Garden by Johanna Basford, Beauty in the Bible Adult Coloring Book by Paige Tate Coloring, Faith in Color Adult Coloring Book by Pearlyn Choco for Paige Tate Coloring.

My colouring in motto is: when in doubt, add glitter and metallic. So I need some Derwent metallic pencils to add to my colouring stash also.

 

Craft supplies from Kaisercraft


All That Glitters paper pad, All That Glitters specialty paper in golden butterflies, All that glitters collectables, Fairy Dust paper pad, Fairy Dust collectables.
 
 
 These collections are so pretty and I can’t wait to create with them.
 

Nail polish


Great Barrier Reef nail polish by Sea Siren Cosmetics, Reflection holographic polish and Bellissima glitter polish by Emily de Molly.
 
 
Can you believe that I don’t own a holographic polish yet? They look incredible!
 

Makeup

 

I need a good quality bronzer in my life, STAT!
 
What’s on your wish list?
 

image source: dryicons.com
 
Although I haven’t been able to blog much this year, I’d still like to say a big thank you for your support and kind words. I am so grateful that you’ve stuck around and encouraged me to persevere and not give up.

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happier, healthier 2016. Love & cupcakes.

 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Decadently fudgy Christmas tree brownies


I usually feel more miserable than merry around this time of year, but I am happy to say that I am finally excited about Christmas again.
I really didn’t expect to be feeling more cheerful and less discouraged right now, so it’s lovely to be looking forward to Christmas and the new year for a change.

It feels so strange though. Strange, but GOOD.

I have quite enjoyed shopping for Christmas presents and have found myself wanting to do fun festive things.

I haven’t really done much bloggable fun and festive stuff this month though as I have blown most of my energy on seeing Taylor Swift (she was amazing), taking my father out for his birthday, and a few trips to the shops. Maybe next year.

I really wanted to have some Christmas posts up at the beginning of December but I had to focus on the aforementioned things. I have done a little bit of baking over the last few days though, so today I have a delicious brownie recipe to share.

I made these decadently fudgy brownies last month and my family loved them so much that I decided to make them to give as homemade gifts for Christmas.

To make my brownies festive I cut them into triangles and decorated them with green icing and m&m’s so they looked like Christmas trees.
 

As much as I wanted to have perfectly decorated and fancy looking brownies, I had to keep it simple. I’m not entirely happy with how they turned out (they looked better in my head), but I think I’ve done okay to have produced something that is still delicious despite the summer heat and bad fatigue days.

I had trouble photographing these brownies as the icing and m&m’s started melting within minutes. Oh the joy of baking in summer in Australia! In future, I think if I want to photograph baked goods for a blog post I’m going to have to do it in the cooler months when food doesn’t melt so quickly.
 
 

They really do taste far better than they look though, I promise. They are impressively fudgy and they won’t disappoint.

Given that these brownies are incredibly simple and quick to make; they will probably be my go-to Christmas treat for years to come.

I have adapted this recipe from taste.com.au magazine and Blissful Brownies by Love Food. It should yield 9 triangles.


Brownie ingredients & method:
 
150g unsalted butter, chopped
150g milk baking chocolate, chopped
4 eggs, lightly whisked
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180 degrees or 160 degrees for fan forced. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and then line the base with baking paper.

Step 2: Place egg, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Over a saucepan of boiling water, melt the butter and chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat and add to dry ingredients, mixing well.

Step 4: Pour brownie mixture into cake tin and bake for 35 minutes (brownies are ready when skewer comes out with crumbs clinging to it.

Step 5: Let the brownies cool completely before cutting into small, but wide triangles.


Fudge frosting ingredients & method:

4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon milk
2/3 cup icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
1 teaspoon green food colouring
Milk chocolate m&m's

Step 1: Melt the butter and then add the milk, sugar and food colouring. Stir until smooth and refrigerate until spreadable.

Step 2: Spread on brownies with a spatula and decorate with m&m’s.
 
 
I hope to have some more festive posts up for you this week but I may have to share some after Christmas.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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