Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Make your own Gingerbread House


Is there anything more festive than a gingerbread house? Until now I have only ever decorated a pre-made gingerbread house kit but this year I decided to have a go at making it from scratch and I was pretty happy with it for a first attempt. I'm not going to lie, it took a long time to make and a lot of patience but I think it was worth it to see it all finished. Here is a little step-by-step guide but you can improvise and change it to suit wherever you like.


 Ingredients:

350g plain flour 
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
3 tsp ground ginger 
2 tsp ground cinnamon 
125g butter 
175g soft brown sugar (50/50 mix of light and dark) 
1 egg 
5 tbsp golden syrup 

 Icing sugar for glue and decorating (I used about 250g in total)
Sweets for decorating

 Step 1: 
Cut out your shapes. You will need one shape for the front and back of the house, one for the two sides, and one for each side of the roof. You can add a chimney too if you like. 




























Step 2:
 Mix your dry ingredients then add the butter and crumble with your hands to make breadcrumbs. 

Step 3: 
Mix the egg with the golden syrup then add to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Kneed until it forms a ball then wrap in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes. 

Step 4: 
Roll it out on a floured surface until it's less than 1cm thick and cut your pieces. These ingredients gave me just enough to make my pieces and I had to re-roll the cut offs a few times. 

Step 5: 
Bake on trays for about 15 mins on greaseproof paper at 180 degrees celsius (fan). 


Step 6: 
Re-cut the shapes as soon as they come out of the oven as they will have reshaped a bit (it's much harder to do when they have cooled so do it asap). Also add in any windows or doors here being very careful not to crack the gingerbread. I tired to add some sugar glass to the windows here too by boiling sugar and water bit it didn't work out very well so I just went without. 


Step 7: 
Once the pieces are completely cooled, mix water and icing sugar to create a really thick icing (use the tiniest bit of water) and glue your pieces together as well as to the base (I used a chopping board).  

Step 8:
Decorate to your hearts content! 


I still haven't brought myself to break it apart to eat so it's sitting quite nicely as a decoration for now. It was so fun to make from scratch, you can make it completely your own and it was honestly so worth the time and effort to see the finished house. I thought it would be much harder than it actually was and I expected a lot more to go wrong with it but I think you would be surprised at how easy it actually is! 

T. x
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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Winter Warmers - Pea & Ham Soup Recipe



This winter I have been living off big pots of soup I make on a Sunday evening. Lentil and Leek & potato were my go to for the Autumn months and the start of Winter but last weekend I decided to throw together a pea and ham recipe. It ended up a tasty winter warmer that all my friends and family loved so I decided to share it here. The first time I made the soup I used a ham hock which was really tasty but quite time consuming so buying some really nice thickly cut ham is just as good. I actually got a great quality package of thick cut ham from lidl for pennys. Enjoy!

Ingredients
Knob of butter
1 onion
1 medium potato
1 carrot
2 ham stock cubes
500g frozen garden peas
1 ham hock or 300g of thickly sliced ham
A handful of mint
Salt
Pepper

Method
1. Heat the butter in a saucepan and gently cook the onions and carrots until soft. Add the potatoes and coat in butter.
2. Add in the ham stock and let simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add in the peas and mint next and bring soup mixture to the boil, and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and blend soup up.
5. Add in ham if desired and serve up.

Enjoy 
L x

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

All I want for Christmas is a Makeover - Eve Learmonth Makeup Studio


When you walk into Eve Learmonth's Makeup Studio in Meadowbank, Edinburgh it's as if you're walking into your effortlessly cool friend's ridiculously fab new flat. The atmosphere is relaxed, with an eclectic mix of old school dance, rock and RnB drifting through the studio where clients and artists excitedly discuss their weekend plans. There is an energy that is perfect to get you pumped up for a brilliant weekend and the decor is nothing like you have seen in a typical beauty salon. The walls are a crisp white with a midnight sky feature wall eclipsing the alcove into the back space of the shop. The shop boasts a mixture of beautiful vintage furniture, customised Etsy accessories and contemporary pieces which creates a chic, professional and welcoming vibe.


Eve has embellished the studio with skulls, twinkle lights and custom made prints to add her own personality into the mix. The shop itself is a creative space that represents Eve as an artist so beautifully and must be a perfect environment to work in, for her and the rest of the girls in the studio. The studio has two full time make-up artists Eve Learmonth and Sarah Monaghan who are both specialised in a variety of different make-up styles such as party make-up, wedding, editorial and Halloween. Theres also an extremely creative and talented hairdresser Lucy Callaghan who is Vidal Sassoon trained and available for bookings in cuts, colour and hair styling. Finally, there is the artistic and outrageously talented Cheryl Patchett who is infamous in Edinburgh for her intricate and instagrammed nail art and designs. Each of these ladies are dedicated and creative artists who have glowing reputations in their crafts and you will certainly not leave Eve Learmonth's Make-Up Studio disappointed after booking in for some glam time with the girls. 



In the festive seasons there is gift exchanging galore and I couldn't think of a more lovely gift for the ladies in your life than a voucher for make-up, hair or nails with these artists. Girls of all ages love being pampered for a special occasion and the voucher is redeemable at anytime for a special occasion. Each of the girls have amazing Instagram and Facebook pages where you can check out their work and get details for booking appointments.

Eve Make-up Artist - Facebook & Instagram
Sarah Make-up Artist - Facebook & Instagram
Cheryl Nail Artist - Facebook & Instagram
Lucy Hairdresser - Facebook & Instagram


L x
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide for the Beauty Obsessed Girl



I have to admit as gift guides go, this would be the one for me. I love beauty products, candles, luxurious packaging, anything a little bit special. I definitely have magpie tendencies and anything decadent is my cup of tea. I am firm believer in quality over quantity and I would rather one gorgeous lipstick than a litter of tat that is fun at the time but not very practical and will sit in the back of your drawer. So if you have any like minded friends or family members here are some ideas for gifts to please them this Christmas.

Lipsticks and Nail Polish
My favourite lipsticks to buy as gifts are the pretty packaged but great quality kind. Any twelve to fifteen year old girl is going to absoloute die over a MAC lipstick in any shade Kylie Jenner has been rocking of late. Alternatively an Essie Nail Polish set is also probably a bit out of your teens price range but very coveted and will be gratefully received. For a girl in their twenties you absoloute can't go wrong with a gorgeously packaged and luxury YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick or a truly spectacular Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick. Both of these lipsticks I have bought myself and nothing makes me feel more special and confident than having these as part of my beauty wardrobe.

Skincare and Bodycare
I am an avid skincare obsessive, I will try every new formula and every new face mask in the hopes of achieving an ever glowing complexion. I think women's obsession with having beautiful skin transcends the generations and a lovely serum or moisturiser is something you can buy for women of all ages. Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair is a product that I was first introduced to on my mothers dressing table. It is an amazing and pricey serum that hydrates and boosts the skin while fighting the signs of ageing. This is a product your gran, mum, sister or best friend would appreciate, it is a cult classic with a £52.00 price tag that is proven to work wonders on the skin. Another slightly less expensive option is the Nuxe Golden Shimmer Dry Oil it is £19.00 packaged like a bottle of liquid gold and gives your skin the most gorgeous sun kissed glow. It can be used on your body, face or hair and honestly sitting on your dresser alone it is a stand out. I don't think there is a girl out there than wouldn't be chuffed to get Nuxe in their stocking.

Candles, Candles, Candles
Okay so everybody loves a lovely scented candle. You can get your decadent and ludicrously expensive Diptique, Jo Malone and The White Company offerings that are worth the price tag but you aren't always getting a lot of bang for your buck. Personally I think the longest lasting, prettiest packaged and generally most gorgeous smelling are the Anthropologie Candles. The prices vary depending on style but generally you can get a beautiful, decorative candle for less than £25 that is a decent size and will not burn out by the New Year.


L x

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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Christmas Gifts for the Girl who has it all



We all have those friends and family members who seem to want for nothing and have everything. When it comes to Christmas present buying we agonise over what to buy these difficult darlings, and end up settling for money or some kind of voucher. So this year I have thought about it and I think Christmas is a time where you should buy these friends something they wouldn't dream of buying themselves. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing and buy the perfect friend for even you most awkward of friend.

H&M, Oliver Bonas & Anthropologie 
Home decor items are perfect for a fussy friend. A really cool decorative item is something most people don't know they need but would absolutely love. Little trinkets are just the nicest stocking fillers and beautiful mugs, measuring cups and plates are the sort of luxury you might not treat yourself to but would love to have in your home.

Diptique, Jo Malone & Space NK
If you so happen to have a bigger budget then a gorgeous perfume or candle from one of these shops is literally the most glorious present any girl could receive. The scents on offer are rich, unique and last a lot longer than a high street perfume. You are looking at over the £50.00 mark but it is 100% worth it for the quality of the products.

Other Ideas
August speakers are a great gift for anybody you are struggling to buy for. The speakers are light weight can be connected up in the same way Sonos can but with a much smaller price tag. The sound quality is brilliant and they are really easy to work as it is just a simple bluetooth or wireless connection to set your music up.
Studio 5 is an amazing Edinburgh based fashion and textiles start up who specialise in sustainable fashion and have some of the most beautiful, ethereal pieces in their collection that would be a great present for many a friend or family member. 


L x
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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Secret Santa Ideas



Secret Santa is something I love the idea of but then when it actually comes down to making the purchase panic sets in quickly. It feels like the biggest challenge in the world to get a decent gift with a usually small budget for someone you potentially don't know very well. TQR are coming to the rescue and giving you some unique ideas for every type of girl.

Comfy clothing
I think when the budget is low one of the nicest things you can get somebody clothing wise is pyjamas, slippers, hats and gloves. For pretty, budget buys Primark is your best friend. They do lovely, decent quality comfy and cosy items in loads of different styles that anybody would love. For hats and gloves Asos is your go to, great really on trend stuff at a fab price.

Home decor
This obviously depends on who you have for Secret Santa but a lovely ornament xmas themed or otherwise is a lovely gift. The little reindeer is from Primark, and the lovely celestial coaster was just £8.00 from the beautiful Anthropologie. I got the cute little lightbulb succulent in a lovely Christmas stall in Edinburgh. I think you could easily find or make something similar in and about your local town.


Beauty
I love all things beauty and I think a lovely piece of make-up or skincare is such a coveted gift of many women. Boots or Superdrug are your best bets for a budget beauty buy. Loreal, Soap n Glory and No7 are the best of the bunch for gifts in my opinion. A lovely nail polish or eyeshadow is easy to pick out and will please many a beauty obsessed recipient.

Food & Drink
Chocolate is something a lot of people love and I think a lovely luxury bar of the stuff makes a great gift for something. Edinburgh based company Coco Chocolatier does a variety of amazing flavours that are around £5 each and are packaged so beautifully it would make a gorgeous gift for anybody.



Books
You can get a million different types of books for every person and every interest. Whether it is a coffee table book or a cook book its the sort of thing that will be well received. A great idea is to buy someone one of the books from the 100 Books you should read before you die list.

Boys, Newbies & Difficult Colleagues
Okay so last but not least I wanted to give you a list of amazing tat to gift a male secret santa, someone you don't know very well or just the most difficult person in the world. Your first stop should be Not on the highstreet it is a great website especially for gifts and you can personalise everything and get someone something really unique. My go to gift for secret santa for anyone with a sense of humour is a £10 deck of Cards Against Humanity, filthy but completely hilarious for parties and get togethers.

L x






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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Studio Five


As four students with graduation looming we are all apprehensive about getting out into the work place and finding a job that pays well and that we are passionate about. Especially for graduates with degrees in creative arts, jobs are few and far between unless your willing to move to London and work your arse off for free. 

Sisters Lucy and Kitty Pressland based in Edinburgh have taken their careers in fashion into their own hands by launching their own business, Studio Five. They have combined their creativity and skills to create a fashion and interior textiles brand that specialises in slow fashion and sustainability. The girls are taking a different, more ethical approach to their business focussing on producing affordable and aesthetically pleasing products for a younger market using as many sustainable or alternative products as they can.


Studio Five will focus on releasing two collections a year engaging in a slow fashion movement, with all of their products made to order to prevent wastage. Their first collection will be launching this month along with their website and will include beautifully designed t-shirts, scarves and cushion.


The interesting and admirable thing about Studio Five is how they engage with ethical responsibility within fashion and although aiming to be completely sustainable presents many challenges for the young company, they have chosen to embrace it and stay true to their identity and beliefs. The designs are a beautiful mix of ethereal prints with unique touches to give the products a young, cool edge.


We we were lucky enough to be sent one of Studio Five giveaway boxes which we were completely delighted about. It contained the softest organic cotton logo t-shirt that there was an instant fight over amongst the TQR team. Apparently Nicole won and is rocking the gorgeous and versatile tee in the photos. There have been many compliments and questions about the t-shirt especially from the men in our lives, probably because of its beautiful quality and simple but cool design. If you are looking for beautiful and ethically responsible fashion and interiors look no further than Studio Five, these girls are leading the way in a new more socially responsible fashion movement. 

Check out Studio Five on Instagram Studio Five 
If you have any queries about products you can email at studiofiveuk@gmail.com



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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Martin & Frost Christmas Gift Guide 2016

I am completely and utterly obsessed when it comes to christmas shopping. It’s my favourite time of the year and there is nothing I love more than thinking of gifts I can buy for my family and friends. I do however, end up sitting on my laptop for hours on end scouring the internet for gifts to buy before I start my search in ‘real life’ shops to get a picture of what I want to get. Sometimes I find it hard to fit in a major shopping session and so I love shops where I can find a lot of presents in the same place. My mum introduced me to Martin & Frost (in Edinburgh) because they have an absolute mammoth amount of christmas gifts. It's amazing for getting stuff for your Auntie, your Granny and for little bits and pieces to add into other presents. I got in touch with them to ask if I could shoot a couple of gift guides there after I'd spent a casual £70 on Christmas presents there. For this reason, I’ve put together some gift guides so that you can get some ideas of what you can find for your loved ones this christmas. 

Enjoy!


For the girly-girl: 

  • Pink Radley bag- £179- Obviously I had to pop in something pink here. This Radley handbag is absolutely gorgeous and although they are a little bit on the pricey side they’re timeless so that money doesn't count yeah? 
  • Joma ‘Little Heart of Gold’ necklace-£16.50/ earrings-£13.99. I absolutely adore Joma Jewellery. I own a bracelet myself and love buying them for gifts because they look lovely but don’t have a ridiculous price tag to go with them!
  • ‘Snow in Love’ Yankee Candle- £21.99. Obviously, you can’t read a gift guide that doesn't involve a token Yankee Candle. Who doesn’t love Yankee? This candle in particular also happens to smell pretty magical too!
  • Gold Star candle holders- £3.99 each. You can use them at christmas time but they're so subtle that nobody will notice when they are being used all year round. 



For the Person that loves a cosy night in

This is basically the gift guide for anyone buying a present for anyone I know. Maybe that's because it's so cold here this time of year. This time of year calls for nights in with a hot chocolate and some candles burning!

  • ‘The Little Book of Hygge’- £9.99. This is the book of the moment. It’s the book that teaches you all about the cosy night in!
  • ‘Frosted Forest’ candle- £12.00. Looks the part and smells divine. It’s a fab price too considering it’s a 3-wicker.
  • Floral Mug- £3.50- Perfect to sip your hot chocolate from!
  • ‘Love you to the moon and back’ light up sign- £10.00. I adore this because it reminds me of a book my mum used to read to me when I was a kid. 
  • Stocking- £3.00. It’s so fluffy!! (if I was more technologically savvy I would 100% add a despicable me gif here). 




For the Secret Santa

  • Reindeer tealight holder-£4.00. You can’t go wrong with this it looks cute and is simple enough to give to anyone as a present.
  • Santa Mug- £5.00. Everyone uses one and this one is particularly cool!
  • Santa Boot Salt & Pepper Shakers- £5.00. Why wouldn't you want these to crack out every christmas?!
  • Gillian Kyle Coaster sets- £12.50. Buy them and split them up between presents. They’re cute and christmassy. Plus, everyone loves Tunnocks teacakes right?!
  • Lindt Chocolate Characters- £0.69 each. Yum. The best Christmas chocolate.

N x





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