Sunday, 23 December 2012

An Alternative Christmas Dessert: Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

I'm a huge fan of traditional Christmas desserts – mince pies, Christmas pudding, Yule log – I love them all. However, many people don't. Here’s a recipe for a non-traditional Christmas dessert, a lighter option but still delicious and festive. If you’re flat broke this Christmas, these would make a gorgeous gift. Wrap in cellophane and tie with a big red ribbon.

I found this recipe in Easy Food magazine and altered it slightly. You will need:
400g sugar, pinch of salt, 90g butter, 240ml double cream, 100g mini marshmallows, 940g plain chocolate (this seems like an enormous amount but trust me,  you need it all!), 1 teaspoon peppermint essence, half teaspoon vanilla essence.

1.       Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Coat evenly with cooking spray or melted butter. Break the chocolate into pieces.

2.       Put the sugar, salt, butter, cream and marshmallows in a saucepan. Stir over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes until the butter and marshmallows are almost melted.

3.       Bring the mixture to the boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

4.       Once it has been removed from the heat, add the chocolate, peppermint and vanilla. Stir until melted.
5.       Pour the mixture into the lined dish.

6.       Allow to cool at room temperature for 3 hours. If you disturb the cooling phase, you increase the likelihood of seed crystals forming which causes grainy fudge. Lift the fudge out of the dish using the edges of the greaseproof paper. Remove the paper and cut into squares.

Festive Beauty Tutorial: Santa Hat Nails


Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me
I've been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Show Santa you’ve been on your best behaviour this year by painting the man’s trademark hat on your nails. Once he’s catches a glimpse of your red and white beauties, he’ll be so honoured you’re bound to get that 54 convertible (in light blue)!

You will need a base coat, red nail polish, white nail polish (this can be difficult to get your hands on, the most affordable one I could find is by Natural Collection), nail polish remover, a cotton bud and a top coat.
Left to right: Sally Hansen Complete Care 4-in-1 Treatment, 17 Fast Finish in Knockout Red, Natural Collection in Nail Tip Whitener
After your base coat has dried, take your red polish and paint a triangle shape on your nails. The top of the triangle should be pointing to your cuticles. Don’t worry if it’s looking a bit rough, you can tidy it up with a cotton bud soaked in nail polish remover.
Once this has dried, take your white polish and create the trim of Santa’s hat. Do this by painting the tips of your nails but bend the brush slightly, you want a curved trim. To create the bobble of Santa’s hat, paint a rough circle on the top of the triangle. Finish with a top coat and a glass of mulled wine…or two. Merry Christmas!


The Retro Suitcase In U Magazine's Fashion Diary!

I was thrilled to feature in U magazine’s Fashion Diary (issue 24 which went on sale November 19th). Special thanks to Aoife, Maggie and Jen who all played the role of photographer.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Winter Style: Pinafore Dresses, Cosy Knits & Collars


Pinafore dresses are experiencing somewhat of a revival this Autumn/Winter. Save some cash and treat an old sleeveless dress like a pinafore. Put a snug jumper underneath it and voilĂ , a completely new outfit! A skater dress would be perfect for this. A detachable collar is the ultimate accessory to smarten up your new pinafore. Learn how to make your own here.

Dress – LOVE at Topshop
Jumper – F&F at Tesco
Collar – Handmade by myself
Boots – River Island


Eyeliner Pens: Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner Vs. Essence Extra Longlasting Eyeliner Pen

What girl doesn’t love a retro cat eye flick? This classic look can be achieved by using pencil, liquid, powder, cake or gel eyeliner.  I personally prefer to use liquid eyeliner in the form of a pen. Eyeliner pens are a doddle to use and create a precise line and a flawless wing with little or no mess. They’re ideal for those of you who find the cat eye flick troublesome.
I’ve been using two budget eyeliner pens recently, Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner and Essence Extra Long Lasting Eyeliner Pen, and I’ve decided to put them through their paces and see which one comes out on top.


Collection: ‘All day wear felt tip liner for perfectly defined lines. Easy to apply, fast dry formula.’

Essence: ‘Eyeliner pen for a precise line. Colour intensive and extra long-lasting. Smudge proof.’


Collection: €4.79

Essence: €3.09


While they are both strongly pigmented, Collection’s formula is slightly darker. Also, Essence’s felt tip may look more pointed but Collection’s is sturdier making application easier.

Collection: After 8 hours smudging occurs. Fading is noticeable after 10 hours.

Essence: After 6 hours smudging and fading occurs.


It may be more expensive and not live up to its mammoth 24 hour claims but Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner is the winner. Essence Extra Long Lasting Eyeliner Pen on the other hand should not be sniffed at. Despite its tiny price tag it puts in the work and would be perfect for a cat eye flick novice.