Monday, 27 April 2015

Old-Fashioned Vanilla Fudge

Fudge isn’t difficult to make, but it is dangerous and a tad tedious. You must be willing to stir a pot for 25 minutes. That’s nonstop stirring - no looking at your phone. If you’re lax with the stirring, or worse, you stray from the cooker, you’ll end up burning your saucepan or yourself. These oh-so-sweet, melt-in-the-mouth cubes of comfort are worth the trouble though. Box them up or wrap in cellophane like I did – they make a gorgeous gift for any occasion.
Ingredients: 450g demerara sugar, 1 x 397g can of condensed milk, 115g butter, 150ml milk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1.       Line a square tin with greaseproof paper.
2.       Place all of the ingredients, apart from the vanilla extract, into a large heavy-based saucepan. Melt over a low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
3.       Bring to the boil for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring all the time. To test it’s ready, drop a teaspoon of mixture into a bowl of cold water. A soft ball of fudge should form.
4.       Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
5.       Beat the fudge with an electric whisk for 5 minutes or until it's very thick and starting to set.
6.       Pour into the prepared tin and the smooth the top as best you can.
7.       Allow to cool, there’s no need to put it in the fridge, before cutting into squares.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Wardrobe Shake-Up #2

I’ve been making a mammoth effort to save money lately. Apart from a pair of knee high boots I thrifted for €8 and a reworked top from Nine Crows, I haven’t bought new clothes or shoes since January. This has required iron will and rigid self-discipline. Don’t get me wrong; I haven’t denied myself lipstick or mascara, life is hard enough without the occasional treat, but they’re always from budget brands. A wardrobe shake-up, I featured my first one here, was needed to keep me on the straight and narrow. This involves sorting through all your clothes and removing anything you don’t love. Drop the unloved items to your local charity shop and put the cherished pieces back in your wardrobe - but not in the same place. Yes, shuffle them around! You’ll be amazed at how many new outfits you’ll create by doing this. I unearthed this four year old shirt and paired it with this skirt, one of my last purchases in January, for a 1960s style dolly bird look.

Shirt – Asos
Skirt – Missguided
Cardigan – Schatze Vintage (formerly Shotsy)
Shoes – Asos
Bag – A gift from a friend  

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Thrifty Treat Of The Week: MooGoo 100% Certified Organic Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil has become a cult beauty product. Rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, it hydrates dry and ageing skin, while also improving the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Acclaimed skincare brand Trilogy is synonymous with rosehip oil; a 20ml bottle will set you back €19.99. However, I’ve found a much cheaper alternative that blows Trilogy out of the water.

MooGoo is an Australian company that make a range of natural products for sensitive and intolerant skin. Most rosehip oils come in a glass dropper bottle, but MooGoo’s is sealed in an airless pump bottle to prevent oxidation. This occurs when oil is exposed to air and sunlight which causes the oil to lose its effectiveness. The pump also dispenses the perfect amount of product without any mess. While I love the packaging, it’s what’s inside that counts. The oil is a beautiful amber colour that absorbs quickly. I’ve been using it a few times a week at night instead of my night cream and eye cream, and I’ve noticed a huge difference in the texture of my skin. Dry patches are reduced and my skin appears plumper. I wasn’t expecting much from this €10.50 oil but it’s really dazzled me.

MooGoo is stocked in pharmacies and health food stores across Ireland. To find your nearest stockist click here.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Golden Girl

You may know by now that my style is a mishmash of vintage, secondhand and high street. I love to create unique looks by mixing original vintage pieces with modern items from high street brands. Tiny vintage touches, even if it’s just an accessory, will give your current clothing new life and help you stand out from the trend-driven crowd. I wore this outfit recently to a gig. I’ve had the leather skirt a few years now, and while I still adore it, it needed a little rejuvenation. Even my shoes received a revamp; they originally had black ankle straps, but I thought burnt orange was a more suitable mate for leopard print!
Skirt – H&M
Bag & Shoes – Penneys/Primark

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Thrifty Treat Of The Week: Essence Liquid Eyeliner

I’ll get straight to the point – this €2.89 eyeliner is outstanding. The deeply pigmented formula (I’m talking black black) is one of the most long-lasting I’ve tried. This stuff doesn’t budge; it stays in place all day without smudging or flaking. The sponge-tipped applicator, similar to L’OrĂ©al’s Super Liner, takes a little getting used to if pencil or gel is your liner of choice. However, after one or two attempts, a smooth, precise line will be yours. I find it ideal for creating a dramatic cat eye. The compact tube fits snugly into my makeup bag, and removal is a cinch with an oil-based cleanser. Good job Essence!

Thrifty Treat Of The Week is a weekly series on The Retro Suitcase. Occasionally, the series will only appear on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so follow me for excellent bargains, tips and offers!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Waiting For Spring

 April come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain

                                                                   - Simon & Garfunkel


Windswept. That’s been my permanent state these past few months. I’m not quite sure if this coat has left my back. I certainly got my money’s worth. While my heart is longing for luminous shades and pretty florals, I can’t get my head around the fact that it’s spring. Until the bitter weather eases, I’ll be sticking to my winter palette. In the meantime, in an effort to be less gloomy, I've been wearing jumper dresses without black opaques. Of course, there’s two tops under this one!  

Coat – River Island

Jumper Dress – Asos (available here)

Boots – Thrifted from my local SVP

Suitcase – Vintage 1960s