Easter Favourites

It’s Easter. Easter is here. Throw away your clothes.

From here on in, it’s sun, sea and sand until you’re so sick of ice cream you’ll have to limit yourself to three cones a day and one after dinner.

I hope you own a lot of bikinis/ swim shorts/ whatever you like to wear when it’s sunning outside, because you’re going to be wearing them until August. Get ready, baby….

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. But just because it may, in reality, be literally raining, it doesn’t mean you can go ahead and rain all over my metaphorical parade. I love the sun! And Easter, for me, will always be the herald of sunnier days to come.

My April favourites are here and they are all suitably spring-like and focused on getting everything ready for the summer ahead. Ain’t nothing wrong with being hopeful, chicks <3

Easter Buddies

1: Boxing Hares Lavender Sleep mask, £25, here 2: Tiny Easter Chick Necklace (awww!), £22, here 3: Bunny Cosmetic Case, £18.95, here 4: Bunny Phone Case, £25, here 5: Cupid’s Bow and Arrow Watch, £17.60, here

Flower girls

 

1: Orchid Garland Hairband, £12, here 2: Oversized Bun Garland, £4.99, here 3: Floral Cami, £15, here 4: Hawaiian Rose Hair Garland, £5.99, here 5: Hair Crown, £18, here 6: Pineapple Turban, £6, here

I think the red or white ‘bun garlands’ are a perfect, less-garish option for days when you don’t want to go full on flower-crown!

Meanwhile, yes it was super rainy here today, but here’s to hoping it will be sunnier tomorrow!

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(I went to the Witterings with Rob’s family and it was a bit soggy!)

Big Love, PV x

Glitter Easter Eggs!

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Glitter! I love glitter so much. Put it on birthday cards, phone cases, jewellery, your face, gifts, stationary, the faces of your loved ones, or basically anywhere that could do with a bit of sparkle and it’s always a total winner.

I wanted to make some fun Easter decorations this year and had a very elaborate plan involving painting eggs, but I couldn’t get the paint to stick and Pinterest told me that you have to go through some hideously complex process of dying the eggs, and quite frankly ain’t nobody got time for that. So I turned to glitter, and it worked amazingly.

I also chose to make these eggs into sort of Easter cards, or Fortune cookies, by stashing Easter messages inside, but you can skip this step and just make decorations if you’d prefer. (And if you don’t want glittery eggshell spread all over the place. My Uni’ room is already a strange glittery grotto filled with flaky PVA glue where I like to fester and procrastinate my revision, buuut maybe that’s just me…)

Here’s how I made these gorgeous glittery beauties…

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First, you need to empty out your eggs by ‘blowing’ them. Simple poke a hole in each end with a pin, hold the egg over a bowl, and blow through the top hole, so that the contents of the egg is pushed out of the lower hole and into the bowl. Sounds a bit weird, but it’s easier than you think, and it can help to pierce the yolk with the pin first. If you don’t want to waste all of the egg, use it for omelettes, french toast or cakes! (see recipes for French toast here and here)

Now your eggs are empty shells, carefully wash them out with clean water so that there is no residue left inside. If you want to keep the eggs as decorations, you can also cover them, inside and out, with PVA glue, Modge Podge or other craft glue to strengthen them. I skipped this step because I wanted the eggs to be easy to crack open.

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Now, the glittery part! Use masking tape to tape off one half, or one end, of your egg in a straight line, and paint the to-be-glittered end with PVA glue (or other craft glue). Dip, roll, or douse your egg in glitter (I chose a classic gold and silver palette, but it’s totally up to you) until completely covered. Leave to dry. (While your glittery eggs are drying, it can be useful to store them in their original carton, but if you already threw this away, egg cups, shot glasses or circular objects like rings, or these small rolls of tape, will work just as well)

Once dry, peel off the tape to reveal a perfectly straight edge to your glittery accents. Gorgeous.

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At this point, you can either carefully feed a needle and thread through the top and bottom holes in order to hang your egg as a decoration, or you can move onto the next step and make your eggs into fortune-cookie style ‘easter cards’.

To make your fortune-eggs, write out small easter greetings on thin strips of paper and cut them out. Wrap them up as tightly as you can (it can help to wrap them around a thin object such as a pin or a cocktail stick), and then, using your pin, chip away carefully at the hole in the top of your egg (the non-glittery end), until it is enlarged enough for you to stuff your little note inside. Do this with all of your eggs.

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You can now add glitter for an extra sparkle when the egg is opened, with the aid of a small funnel (I fashioned one out of a scrap of paper), or leave the eggs as they are for a clean, simple effect. 

If you’ve had any egg-casualties along the way (happens to the best of us) you can superglue fragments of egg shell over the holes at the top of your eggs to keep the glitter in and give your eggs an (almost) seamless look.

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Wrap your eggs carefully (I used these plastic eggs which I found in Sainsbury’s, along with some protective tissue paper) and prepare to spread delight when you invite your friends to crack open these little glitter bombs to reveal their message.

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Happy Easter! Big Love,

PV x

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Sweet French Toast

Whenever I drink Apple juice, it reminds me of being six years old and visiting my Nanny and Grandad. Nanny just adored us kids, and would keep us topped up with apple juice, wafer biscuits and eggy bread. I always remember her putting the bread on the plate burnt-side down and telling us that we weren’t allowed to turn it over and show anyone that she’d burnt it! Whether she really did burn it or not, it always tasted amazing, and it brings back special memories.

My Dad, thanks to our near-constant requests, must have made about a million batches of ‘eggy bread’ over the years, and I have fond memories of Abi and I huddled together on the sofa, planning our next act of mischief and gleefully awaiting ‘Daddy’s eggy bread’. We always smothered it in way too much salt (when he wasn’t looking), and it is surely a testament to our Dad’s patience and adoration of us that he never once complained about our greasy fingerprints (or our penchant for eggy-bread-parties at six in the morning!)

Do you remember the French Toast roll-ups I made a couple of weeks back? I’ve recently had major cravings for a savoury version, so this delicious salty treat was perfect. I whipped up some sweet and savoury french toast (perfect for a student who may have, hypothetically, reached the end of their student loan, and may, hypothetically, have a fridge full of eggs, stale bread and not much else – oops) Anyway, this recipe actually calls for eggs, bread and not much else. Don’t you just love it when that happens?

Don’t forget that Easter is around the corner and if you want to partake in crafting easter decorations, you can carefully ‘blow’ the eggs, keeping the shells intact, and use them for Easter crafts! (I’ll be posting DIYs next week!)

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Classic Eggy Bread

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Simply slice your bread and dip it in a ‘bath’ of gently whisked egg (but don’t make it too soggy!) Gently fry on both sides until it is crispy and golden. Serve, add any sides you want, and enjoy feeling like a proper adult for making a dinner with more than two ingredients. Well done you.

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If you want to get extra fancy, don’t forget that you can add extra flavours in at any stage of this process. I had a craving and went with it, and ended up with Chocolate Orange French Toast!

I added orange zest and the juice of half an orange to the egg ‘bath’ as well as a teaspoon of cinnamon. After frying, I added shavings of dark chocolate and extra sugar. Yummy.

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Go ahead and give these a go if you fancy mixing up your breakfast, lunch or dinner. I made these bad boys super early in the morning before heading out for a busy day in the city (that makes me sound so much more busy and important than I actually am, but, you know, LONDON) and it was perfect.

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Big Love (get those egg shells ready for the next DIY – Easter is a-coming!)

PV x

100 Happy Days

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Fifteen days ago, I was not a happy bunny. I’m not exactly sure why my emotions are measured in comparison to rabbits, but it’s how my Mum always used to do it. Being the unhappy little creature that I was, and also having a connection to the internet, I quickly stumbled across the #100happydays project, and decided to give it a whirl to see if it could improve my ‘meh’ mood into something a little cheerier. I’m now fourteen days into the project, and I love it.

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Seems fun, right? All you have to do is take a photo every day of something which made you happy that day, and if you want to you can upload it to a social media platform with the hashtag ’100happydays’.

So far, the things that have made me happy have been mostly my family, friends, Rob and some dogs, so no surprises there!

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I’ve had some pretty crappy days though. You know the kind of days which everyone has from time to time when you’re just exhausted and stressed and want to climb into one of those ball pits and bury yourself and only ever come out for sandwiches and cuddles with small puppies? Yep, some of those.

On those days I had to dig real deep to find happy things. Starting a new book, going to the gym and wearing yellow shoes, getting funny comments on an essay, or calling my Mum for a chat didn’t seem like big things at the time. I guess they’re not really big things in the grand scheme of things, but they did make me happy, and that means they’re important.

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Even stupid stuff like memories of Japan and Thailand (I frickin’ love that aquarium photo – look at the happy little children), my new lovely naked lady who I rescued from a charity shop and put on my desk, and Imogen setting off the fire alarm (and, apparently causing some kind of major international disaster and ‘flooding the building with smoke’ by burning a sausage. But, I think our buildings manager is just a massive drama queen)

 

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I think the point of the project is not only to make yourself appreciate the little things in life, but to reassure yourself that there is always something to be happy about. I don’t know what’s going to make me happy tomorrow. But I know that something will.

Big Love, PV x

 

 

 

 

Summer Style Steals

It’s the perfect season for spring cleaning your wardrobe, and welcoming in a few new pieces for summer, and I’m sure I’m not alone in wistfully shopping for clothes online, while knowing that the gorgeous garments are well outside of my price range! Keeping an eye on sales is a great way to save money on clothes, and it’s also worth searching the high street for affordable look-alikes of your favourite styles of the season.

I love maxi dresses at this time of year, and monochrome is my go-to colour way for any occasion. I love love love these dresses from Urban Outfitters, River Island and Mink Pink, but at an average of £50, most of these beauties I just can’t justify skimping on my grocery shopping for!

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1. UO, £52 2. UO, £58 3. River Island, £20 4. MinkPink, £65

A quick trip to Primark solved my dilemma when I found this gorgeous monochrome geo-print maxi dress for just £15. A total bargain, and just as gorgeous as the pricier brands!

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Do you remember those lovely Topshop shift dresses I was crushing on in my February favourites? A couple of them are now on sale (I love it when that happens!) but are only available in a few sizes. That little metallic number is also a-pulling on my heart strings but once again, I just can’t spend my student loan on pretty clothes (although it’s tempting! Who needs to to eat anyway, right?)

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1. Petal Dress by Sister Jane, Topshop, £72 2. Gingham shift dress by Love, Topshop, £30 3. Tartan shift dress by Love, Topshop, reduced to £15 4. Tartan shift dress by Love, Topshop, £30

Primark came through once again with this lovely checked shift dress (with pockets) for just £10. Amazing. I have worn this so much since I bought it, it’s perfect for day and night wear, and will be a staple of my summer wardrobe.

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There’s no reason you can’t splash out on some new summer clothes without breaking the bank – you just have to be creative!

Big Love, PV x

p.s. I’m sure you would all have had a good laugh at me doing my mini photo shoots by myself in the library and squeezed around the back of some University buildings twirling around in a maxi dress and smiling sweetly at passers by who probably thought I was insane – such fun ;)

 

Smooth Talker: Delicious frozen smoothies…

(I feel like I should just take a moment to share how many awful puns I came up with for the title of this post: smooth moves, smooths like Jagger, and smooth criminal were all in the running. Smooth talker doesn’t sound so bad now does it?)

Aanyway, I have joined the rest of the nation in what I like to call Frozen Frenzy and have been watching the latest Disney movie basically non stop since it came out on Monday. I don’t know what it is about it, but it just gives me all the warm and fuzzies. (Plus, who doesn’t love being able to sing along joyfully to ‘Let it go’ every once in a while?)

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In honour of this, and because I just can’t make it snow (even though that would make my heartfelt renditions of ‘do you wanna build a snowman’ even better), my dear sister and I got together to create some healthy smoothies using some yummy frozen ingredients.

The first is a Super-berry smoothie, and you will need:

225g Frozen berries (I bought a mixed bag but feel free to pick and choose)
225g Strawberry yoghurt (Fat-free if you can find it)
50ml Milk
Honey (Optional)
1 ripe banana (Optional)

(Serves two)

Add the berries, the yoghurt and milk into a blender (or into a slender container if you are using a hand blender) and whizz it all up until smooth.  Taste, and then add honey and banana for extra sweetness if you’d like. You can strain the smoothie mix to eliminate all the tiny pips from the berries, but if you don’t mind these then you’re good to go! Serve with more fresh berries or banana, and enjoy your fabulous smoothie creation.

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Smoothie number two is a surprisingly healthy Chocolate Smoothie *swoon*

You will need:

2 pre-frozen, pre-sliced bananas (this may seem like a bit of a faff, but it’s worth it! Just slice a banana and stick it in the freezer in a sandwich bag. The riper the better in my opinion, as the ripest bananas are always the sweetest.)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (This, as I discovered is not to be confused with that instant hot chocolate powder which some of us are so fond of eating straight from the tub…)
2 tablespoons peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
240ml almond milk (you can use regular milk, but almond milk is dairy free and will add a little sweetness)

(serves two)

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Blend it all together, making sure that the frozen banana bits are properly blended and not hiding underneath the blades of the blender. Pour, and enjoy!

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Isn’t she just as cute as a button? Abi and I wish you all happy days and hope you enjoy making your very own smoothie creations!

Big Love, PV x

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(The chocolate smoothie recipe was adapted from one by the ever inspiring abeautifulmess.com)

 

 

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I’ve been at home for a couple of days, and while I’ve mostly been catching up with everyone and sleeping, I always like to have a poke through my childhood bedroom and discover all the things which I have been industriously squirrelling away for the past eighteen years. I’m definitely a hoarder in training, and I discovered quite worrying proof of this in the form of a small box of ‘treasured keepsakes’ which contained, rather than photographs, medals, coins, stamps or even shells; three discarded zipper pulls, some muddy beads, four individual pieces of confetti and a rusty buckle which I found in the field. Oh such valuable possessions! That being said, I didn’t even throw them away which is definitely a sign of my hoarder tendencies. I’m not even sorry. ;)

What I did find was my big box of ‘scrapbook stuff’ which inspired me to get a bit crafty. I want to start art journalling in the near future, but in the meantime I created a small display project which I hope will inspire you too!

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I started off with a couple of my favourite quotes, a knitting needle (you could use a wooden ruler, a chopstick, a pencil or even a twig if you want to be all earthy) and some glossy magazines and white card. I played around with a couple of different designs but the main thing is to have fun and use colours and shapes which are appealing to your eyes. You could make them all the same size if you want them to be uniform, but I chose slightly mismatched shapes.

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I covered the back of each card with colourful magazine pages, and then punched holes in all four corners of my finished quotes, and strung them together with string for display. I’m going to be moving out of my University accommodation soon and want some portable personal touches so I can immediately start making our new house feel a bit more like home. (I have assured my new flatmates that I will be spending the entire summer sat cross legged on the floor of our lounge sewing cushions, but until then, they’ll have to put up with my ribbon-and-pritt-stick creations – I’m hoping they don’t mind really…)

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Even though you might not hoard as much ‘scrapbooking stuff’ as I do (does anyone?), I encourage you to get some double-sided sticky tape and some scissors and paper and make yourself something meaningful, or fun, or just plain silly. It’s easier than you think and you’ll have yourself a completely personalised piece of art which you can blu-tack to your wall and show off to all your guests (or at least, that’s what I intend to do!)

Big Love, PV x

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