Prep Early for Christmas With My UncommonGoods Gift Guide

*This post was sponsored by UncommonGoods

One good thing about starting a blog is that I can slowly but surely introduce myself to you! And one thing you should know is that I ADORE the different seasons and special occasions! Spring and the flowers; Summer and the beach; Autumn and the apple-cinnamon-pumpkin everything; and, of course, Winter and CHRISTMAS!

With still 82 days to go ‘til the big day, you might think I’m getting seriously ahead of myself. But here’s the thing: I don’t wait for the winter holiday rush to buy Christmas presents. I keep an eye out during the year, and that way, come December, instead of running around like a headless chicken, I can kick it back with an eggnog latte and mince pie!

Somewhere you can go for a shop is UncommonGoods! A little bit about them: they’re an online-only, Brooklyn, USA-based retailer and they sell everything from jewellery to stuff for the house. Sustainability is their main focus with handmade, organic, recycled, and cruelty-free products – they don’t use leather, fur, or feathers. As a vegetarian, this is right up my street!

So, without further ado, I’ve chosen three gifts for the three different people in your life!

1. Your Sister or Best Friend: Birth Month Flower Earrings, £30.08.

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As you can tell by my blog name, I love anything to do with horoscopes (my birthday month and sign) and flowers! And these are the perfect gift! (*hint hint* haha) Filled with actual dried flowers sourced from around the world, each month has a different flower! April (pictured above) is the Daisy, June is the Rose, and so on! There are even matching necklaces you can get!

Click here for more UncommonGoods girly gift ideas!

2. Your Mum: My Family Cookbook, £26.32.

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If your family is anything like mine, we’ve got recipe clippings from magazines and faded pages from my grandmothers and great-grandmothers’ cookery books! This customisable book has enough room for over 80 recipes and you can keep it for future generations!

Want more gift ideas for your mum? Check out your options here!

3. Your Dad: the Driftwood iPhone Charging Dock, £51.14.

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Handcrafted from driftwood collected on the beaches of Maine, USA, you can use it whether you’ve got an iPhone 5, 6, or 7! It fits in seamlessly with most home decor surroundings, and it’s great for listening to his favourite tunes!

Check out more gift ideas for the men in your life!

Hope you enjoyed this post, and thanks, UncommonGoods, for sponsoring it! x

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Vintage Photoshoot: Four retro, floral, fashion looks

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My dream of having a vintage-style photoshoot has finally been fulfilled! Okay, in part, but this has come very close.

One of my closest friends, Emma, is doing a fashion journalism portfolio for university, and asked me to be her model for the day—to which, of course, I said ‘yes’!

We took the pictures in and around her house since her interior designing skills are kind of goals.

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Look 1: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

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Check out that floral wallpaper! Though we haven’t really had proper spring weather here, it’s getting a bit warmer now.

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I feel like this look leans a bit towards Breakfast At Tiffany’s; what do you think? The evening gloves, the cat on the bed…(that’s Emma’s cat, Bob—he’s nearly one year old—and he’s a pretty good model!).

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OUTFIT: DressZara / ShoesTopshop / BagArkwright’s Emporium / GlovesVintage / RingNew Look / Necklace – gift / EarringsMiss Selfridge

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LOOK 2: Riviera Reverie

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This look makes me think of summer on the French Riviera—or something I’d wear on a cruise in the forties or fifties. Also, that belt is actually from the strap of a handbag! You do what you’ve got to do, right?

I want to mention: this is my first time with cat-eye liner in six five years, and now I wish I did it more often!

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OUTFIT: DressBaklash / ShoesTopshop / HatH&M / (Photo 1) EarringsMiss Selfridge / (Photo 2) Earringsgift / NecklaceClaire’s Accessories

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LOOK 3: Dressed For Dinner

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Going glam for this look, with the demure black and flashy white and gold. And I am so in love with those chandelier earrings from New Look!

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Vintage queen, Audrey Hepburn, being my inspiration, today and everyday. Obviously.

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OUTFIT: DressDorothy Perkins / BoleroAmisu x New Yorker / ShoesTopshop / BagVintage / MaskMolly Limpet’s / EarringsNew Look / BraceletPrimark

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LOOK 4: Girl About Town

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Channeling Faye Dunaway in ‘Bonnie and Clyde‘ and Suzy Bishop in Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom‘ for this part of the photoshoot. Also, I wish I wore a beret more often.

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OUTFIT: DressForever 21 / ShoesTopshop / BeretRed Herring x Debenhams / ChokerExtravagance 

The Scorpio Cupcake: Dark chocolate raspberry recipe with chocolate buttercream frosting

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Lucky number 6 with today’s zodiac-themed cupcake post! Today, I’m going to talk to you about Scorpio.

Scorpios are born between October 23rd and November 22nd and their greatest strength is their sensitivity. Though they tend to hide from the intensity of their emotions (Water signs are led by their heart) and can be stubborn with whatever stand they take, they always find a way to forgive. Scorpios are also quite passionate and dynamic.

 

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Distrusting and suspicious, people under this zodiac appreciate honesty.

But hurt a Scorpio at your peril, because as much as they’re known for being a good friend, they’re determined and seriously into getting revenge, and their emotions can prove destructive to themselves and others. They won’t be so quick to forgive you again.

 

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For these reasons, I’ve chosen to do a dark and sultry combination of dark chocolate and raspberry. The colours are beautiful together, for one thing, but dark chocolate has always been underrated and underestimated—it’s unique, that’s for sure. Raspberry brings out a soft sweetness, and I feel like these two ingredients represent the two sides to a Scorpio: the good, sensitive friend, and the scorned lover.

 

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I used this delicious chocolate cake recipe by Martha Stewart and added crushed raspberries (equal to 2 handfuls of whole ones) to the batter.

For the dark chocolate buttercream:

160g icing sugar

80g unsalted butter, room temperature

20-30g cocoa powder

Drizzle of chocolate syrup

And top the cupcake with a raspberry—enjoy!

 

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The Libra Cupcake: Banana recipe with chai buttercream frosting

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I’m writing this post from my hotel room in sunny Dubai, so expect some day-by-day posts of what I’m getting up to!

Keeping on with my zodiac-themed cupcake posts, today it’s Libra.

 

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Libras (September 23-October 22) are known to be fair, balanced, and diplomatic—which makes the most simple sense since its symbol is the scales. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that they’re quite people-oriented, whether that’s with their partner or family and friends, and like to keep everything in harmony and peace. They can’t tolerate injustice and root for equality and fairness in all they care about, and this mentality makes them the idea partner.

 

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They’re flirtatious by nature, which comes as no surprise since this sign is ruled by the planet Venus—also known as the Roman goddess of love. Along with Aquarius and Gemini, Libra’s element is Air. People ruled by this element tend to be quite social and communicative.

But, as with all good qualities come the not-so-good and Libras can be indecisive and even gullible; they’re good at helping other people, but they’re not as headstrong as when it comes to themselves.

 

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For these reasons, I wanted a flavour that was balanced—something sugar and spice (and everything nice), so I chose CHAI. Also, I love banana, and cinnamon (which is one of the make-ups of chai) pairs so well with it.

For the banana cupcakes, I used this beauty of a recipe by the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart.

For the chai frosting, I used:

160g icing sugar

80g unsalted butter, room temperature

Splash of coconut milk

1-2 teaspoons of Drink Me Chai

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl so it doesn’t go lumpy, then add the butter. I went for 2 teaspoons of chai powder, but add to taste. And enjoy!

The Cancer Cupcake: vanilla marshmallow recipe with coconut buttercream frosting

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It’s a sunny Sunday here and I spent all afternoon walking around the city, having iced coffee and ginger beer, and counting down the days ’til we leave for Dubai (three!)

But it’s that time again: new post, new zodiac-inspired cupcake! Today I’ve got Cancer going on. My sun sign’s Virgo (check out that cupcake!) and my moon sign’s Cancer, so this is another one I’ve especially enjoyed doing.

 

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Cancerians are born between June 20 and July 22 and, as their element is water, they’re known to be emotional, responsive, and sympathetic. They’re really good at giving advice because of this sensitivity and deep-rooted ability to empathise and to tap into other people’s emotions. Their heart rules their thinking. This also makes them loyal and dependable; a Cancerian’s a great friend to have.

With this strong tie to their emotions, they can also be moody, oversensitive, and self-pitying.

 

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The flavour I’ve chosen is vanilla and marshmallow! Sweet, just like Cancerians, and with all the fluff that emotions bring.

The cupcake recipe is from ‘Lemon Sugar’ which you can find here. When they’d cooled from the oven, I cut out some of the middle, filled it with marshmallow creme, and replaced the top.

 

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Frosting recipe:

80g unsalted butter, room temperature

160g icing (confectioners’) sugar

Splash of coconut milk

Handful of desiccated coconut

2-3 tbsp blue food colouring

Mix all the ingredients together—make sure to sift in the icing sugar so it doesn’t get lumpy.

 

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And that’s it! Check out my other zodiac-inspired cupcakes: Leo / Gemini

LIBRA will be up tomorrow!

The Virgo Cupcake: Simple lemon rosemary recipe with lemon glaze

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Happy Hump Day! I’ve already done two zodiac-themed cupcake posts (Gemini and Leo) and today is all about Virgo, which is also my star sign! Also, another tribute to my blog’s name, The Virgo Violet!

I find Virgos to be maybe the most understood of the 12 signs—we’ve certainly got the worst rep in terms of being nit-picky and overly black-and-white on how things should be done.

 

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For sure, Virgos are the ultimate perfectionist. Not necessarily ‘anal’, but just that presentation and the way things are say a lot about a person. Personally, when I bake or cook anything, the whole process has to go perfectly, and it has to look great, simply because the end result is the only thing everyone’s going to see.

 

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Virgos are also known to be analytical and skeptical; they are great problem spotters and solvers because they see the detail. If you’ve got a problem, go to a Virgo for advice because they’re helpful and good at finding a solution. Unfortunately, this also means they can be critical of both themselves and others when they see the bad since it doesn’t fit into the bigger picture. They mean well, though, no matter how inflexible and interfering they come across!

 

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With all this, they can be introverted—definitely not the kind that like being centre of attention! That’s why I decided on a herb/citrus infusion, and landed on lemon and rosemary! Definitely delicious—I used this recipe from Kitchen Aid. The glaze—which uses both lemon juice and zest–is by Martha Stewart, which you can find here!

 

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The flavours are so subtle and fragrant, kind of like Virgo’s tendency to appear reserved—nothing special—but underneath are a bundle of misunderstood emotions and warmth. And, no, I’m not jut tooting my own horn as a Virgo!

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts—Libra’s next!

 

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The Leo Cupcake: Simple chilli chocolate recipe with cayenne, cocoa, and cinnamon

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It’s that time of week again! One day to go, then it’s back to the weekend! Last week I did the Gemini Salted Caramel cupcake, so, for my next zodiac-themed sweet, I wanted something dramatic. Which brings us to…Leo (July 23-August 22).

 

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Life can be especially dramatic if you’re a Leo; this is the sign that thrives being the centre of attention. In fact, I call it ‘Limelight Leo’ for this very reason.
People under this sign are super extroverted, confident, and bold, and I guess this makes for a great leader (to a point) since they’re courageous and enthusiastic—always a great inspiration to the team!

 

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Along with Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius, Leo is a ‘fixed sign‘. This means that they stand their ground on issues they believe in. This determination and persistence is obviously great when something needs getting done.
But, this also means they can be stubborn, inflexible; maybe even aggressive when they want to get their point across. This single-minded, opinionated side to them can be hard to work around.

 

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Its element is Fire, so right there you get a sense of how powerful this personality can be. Also, its zodiac symbol is the Lion—talk about king of the jungle! People under this sign are as protective of their loved ones as a lion is of its pride.
One thing about Leos is that, with their confidence, they can be pretty egocentric. This is definitely a characteristic of the Leos I know! If you want to stay on their good side, don’t ignore them.

 

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On to the cupcakes:

With all these Leo traits in mind, you can straight away see why I chose CHILLI CHOCOLATE! It’s dramatic, fiery, and honestly? You either love it or you hate it!

I used this recipe from All Recipes, and it is delicious! Really simple to make, and it doesn’t take too long. Just a note, though: the recipe says the batter needs only a few drops of milk—I needed so much more than that. But see how it goes.

 

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Stay tuned for the next zodiac cupcake post, ’cause next up is Virgo! Obviously my favourite to do since it’s my star sign!