I bought new shoes! Mini Primark Haul


I put some new shoes on, and suddenly everything is right.
Paulo Nutini



Shoes are an area of styling that I tend to struggle with. Presently I have a series of shoe genres I stick to: androgynous (brogues and moccasins), feminine (ballet flats), vintage (t bar) and boots (chunky ankle types). I have heels and higher boots, and a few plimsoles but shoes confound me.

I know what I like (strappy, t bar or animal print), and I wear those shoes to death. This is why I found myself in need of some new ballet flats (or dolly shoes if you prefer). I find these shoes go with the majority of my wardrobe, from jeans and tees to smart workwear and ditsy summer dresses. However, because of the nature of these flats I find they don’t last long. I started 2016 with six pairs of flats which I could rotate and love, and I found myself binning the second to last pair of these in August when the soles started separating from the sides.
Cue a need for new ballet flats and a trip to Drake Circus. After trying New Look in search of any bargain flats (I’m a touch cash strapped at present) I ventured to Primark looking for a pair of simple black ballet straps, and I hit the jackpot.

The first things I saw was this lovely pair of black ballet flats with an ankle strap, allowing me to feel all vintagey and retro. These are also lovely as I can alternate them with my pointed T Bar flats I’ve been favouring recently. I can see myself wearing these in a work, or more professional environment.


Just around the corner from these I found some elasticated fold up black flats, and could resist them. I often walk into work with trainers or plimsoles on to offer my feet a bit of support, and slip into a pair of flats when I get in. These fold up smart shoes mean I can easily do this, and not lose space in my bag! I wore these to an interview this week, and they proved very comfortable.


Finally I saw these leopard print flats. I-love-Leopard print. I feel like this print lifts an outfit from simple and pulled together to fashionable and edgy. I tried these on, loved how they looked with my skinny jeans, and popped them straight in my basket. I wore these to the Bridget Jones event this week (post pending!) and around my home town the next day and they looked incredible. They had started to rub a touch the next day, but nothing horrific.

All in all, I don’t think you can beat Primark for ballet flats. And in this case, I cannot wait to see how I can pair the leopard print and strappy flats with more of my wardrobe.
Have you been shoe shopping in Primark recently? Are you a flats or heels fan?
– Emily

Bake along with Bake Off: Week Two – Viennese Whirls

So this week Bake Off saw biscuit week. My heart sank, as i struggle making biscuits. It comes down to trust, I don’t trust or understand these popular British snacks. As they need to be left to firm up whilst cooling, and I am always worried they’ll be under baked.
I decided to try Viennese Whirls, once again attempting the technical challenge. Again, I found the recipe through the BBC website. After assessing the pantry and realising I had nothing in I popped to the shops. I was lucky to get jam sugar, as there was literally one

left on the shelves at Waitrose (I tried Lidil first, but they didn’t even have raspberry jam!). When I got all the ingredients home, I measured everything out and started on the aspect of this I was most comfortable about: the jam.
I felt nervous about this as I was vaguely aware of how easy it is to get hurt from boiling jam, or to burn jam and damage a pan. I mashed the fruit, and popped it on to boil with the sugar whilst I started mixing the butter cream icing. I always find buttercream is a messy, time consuming aspect of baking. I alternated between mixing my jam and buttercream, to be efficient and stop my jam from catching. At the second stage of the jam, I popped the lid on the pan and left the mix boil away, stopping it from bubbling over by lifting the lid multiple times. When this had finished boiling I put this into a glass dish to cool whilst I worked on the biscuit dough.

The dough came together really easily, and per the recommendations at the bottom of the recipie I decanted the dough into a piping bag and placed it to cool in the fridge for 15 minutes. I them preheated the oven, paced down some grass proof paper and started to line the spots for the paper.

When the 15 minutes were up, I took the dough out of the fridge to start piping the biscuits. The dough was so hard and unforgiving, it as really difficult to pipe into the shapes. I can see why the contestants struggled this week, I warmed the dough between my hands and it far improved this.


When all three trays had the pipped dough, i popped them into the over to bake and removed them after twelve minutes. I left them onto the side to cool, and then transfers them to a wire rack. Next came a stage that mimicked this weeks bake off again: when I applied the jam and buttercream to each biscuit some of them began to crumble and snap. These biscuits needed a gentle hand.
I sandwiched the jam and buttercream sides together and divvied them up between my, and my partners family and tried my first biscuit. Viennese Whirls have never been a favourite biscuit, and they never will be. They tasted nice, and were a touch over sweet for me. My thought whilst eating this, was that I would have far preferred a slice of Victoria Sponge cake.

Ultimately these looked lovely, they received really positive fed back from my family, and when I was next in the kitchen all the biscuits had been eaten. Would I make these again? As a gift for someone who loved them, potentially, otherwise there are many other bakes I prefer.
Now I’m getting nervous for bread week. I’ve made soda bread before, and I often make bread in my bread maker, but kneading dough by hand isn’t something I have a lot of experience with.

Are you baking along too?
-Emily

The Power of Good Girl Friends.

I have had a really horrible summer. Going through a break up, especially when you had no idea it was coming, is not fun at all. But when I was feeling low and ugly crying who was there…the most amazing females I know.

 

You know you have a great blogging partner and friend when you can turn up to her house and just cry for a few hours. That is what Emily is to me. This woman works in another city, has to commute every day and has her own life stuff going but when I was in need she made herself completely available to me. She was a shoulder for me to cry on, she was an amazing advice giver and a great distracter and I would have struggled so much these last few weeks without her there. I’m half hoping she gets dumped soon so I can make it up to her (I don’t really just trust me she’ll find that funny).

 

Let’s not forget the best friend a girl can have, our mums. When you’re only single figures old she’s your absolute world, then as your grow up she seems like the devil and it’s not until your high teens that you realise she’s just a girl like you but she knows you better than she knows herself. Now, I will argue that my mum is the best in the world and after my break up she really was, she let me be sad but that didn’t stop her telling me some much needed home truths. I am so glad to have that wonderful woman in my life helping to guide me through the best and worst of times, I hope I’m half as good at being a mum as she is.

 

Us girls have this horrible habit of wanting to tear each other down for the most trivial of things, usually because of some stupid boy. Yet when something goes wrong those same girls are the ones we go running to because only they can understand and support us the way we need. So, I am taking an oath, as someone who recently really leaned on the fabulous females in her life, to try every day to only raise women up and support girls in whatever they choose to do. We need each other more than we care to admit and I would like to my bit to end girl hate.

 

Anyway that was just a little thought that’s been going around my head for these last few weeks. Make sure you show your girl friends or anyone who means anything to you that you appreciate them and tell them often.

 

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂