So these pictures were taken months ago and at the time I thought ‘this would be the perfect New Years Eve dress’ but REALLY.. not so much. In my mind New Years Eve is a clip from a film, specifically The Holiday, where they all dress in suits and cocktail dresses and even the children and beautifully behaved and the whole evening is perfect. That’s not really New Years Eve is it? Either you don’t have kids and you’re out somewhere that’s absolutely rammed and not super comfortable until midnight when you have to queue for hours at the taxi rank to get home. Alternatively perhaps you have small ones at home that keep your plans family oriented and home-based. For the longest time I was jealous of people who got to go out for NYE (having Ella at 19 means I’ve never really done it) but at 29 I can’t think of anything I’d like to do less.
At the same time the same old evening isn’t doing it for me any more either. I crave something a little more glamorous. In future years I see us celebrating with friends and family in a hotel, I’ve heard about people doing this and it sounds FABULOUS! Everyone has their own limit and expectations and a collective gathering at a third party venue means everyone can leave when they like/stay up as long as they want and even potentially go for a nap and return refreshed for the countdown. I’ve always wanted to get really dressed up for a party a la The Holiday and if I was to I think this would be ‘the dress’ but it wont be this year.
Cocktail Dress – Lindy Bop (currently 10% off) / Shoes – Christian Louboutin Ron Ron / Sunglasses – Kate Spade / Belt – Primark / Necklaces – mix of Kate Spade, Tiffany & Baublebar / Watch – Michael Kors 5020 / Hair – Sad.. but it’s days away from finally getting some professional attention!! (post to come)
We are doing something a LITTLE different however, we’re having my parents over to our house rather than the opposite which means the littlest one can go to bed when he’s ready and remain undisturbed when we finally retire rather than being hauled out of one bed and in to another via a short car ride. I will be making the food and drinks and this evening I plan to slightly tweak my decor and perhaps even create a playlist.. I know, I’m an animal! I will share after the event and might even bust out my sequin sweat pants for the occasion but I thought I’d ask the question.. what do you WISH you did for New Years vs what you actually do? Is it just me that has delusions of NYE grandeur or have the movies fed in to your imagination too?
Time for my annual round up of all things beauty from the past year and this time I’m being THOROUGH! I’ve split it up into categories and tried (where possible) to narrow each item down to one favourite for the year. Some items don’t have specific favourites because I really didn’t love any one thing but most have at LEAST one. We’re kicking off with base because well, that’s where we start, isn’t it?
If you want to know more about why I’ve loved and in some cases already repurchased these products this year you can watch this video. I had originally thought splitting the categories would give you bite-size videos to watch for New Year shopping inspiration but it turns out I can TALK so a video from me coming in at under 15 minutes is rare.
This is a re-re-re-share but every now and then I like to re-blog it because it’s just the ultimate cookie recipe. I barely did any of my planned Christmas baking over the festive season, I even have 2 boxed baking sets I bought for the kids that are still unopened. Time just totally got away from me. I part I think that’s because the week before Christmas I was poorly (monstrous cough that kept me from sleeping and drove everyone else nuts) and i didn’t start to feel better until Christmas Eve so y’know.. TIME!! I’ve already started making a bucket list for next Christmas because I always put things off, not wanting to do them too early on in December but I really feel like I totally missed it altogether this year. Moving on, between Christmas and New Year I’ve decided to up my game on the home front, we’ve done the films we missed and baked up a storm so I thought I’d share (again) this foolproof recipe that take 5 mins to knock together and my family demolishes in about the same time.
125g butter, softened (I use salted)
100g light brown soft sugar
225g brown caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
200g (or a big bag) of chocolate buttons
I’ve edited the recipe this time purely because as the years have passed I’ve tweaked a few things and made it even simpler so if you’ve seen this before or even tried it don’t be alarmed.. it still gives you the same result with a few fewer steps. I mix together the sugar, butter and egg (I know it says lightly beaten but I do it all in one bowl.. who can be bothered?) before adding a little vanilla essence if I have it. This is not essential but I keep it in the recipe because it definitely does make a difference so use it if you have it on hand. Then in goes the flour.. it can take a while to bind it all but don’t be tempted to use your hands!! It’s not that kind of biscuit mixture and you’ll end up messy. A metal spoon makes lighter work.
Lastly I add chocolate buttons as opposed to chips for 2 reasons, 1. they’re already small (although I tend to crunch up giant buttons in my hands because you can buy big bags of those and one grab bag is the perfect amount for this recipe) and 2. I am very picky with milk chocolate and it’s Cadbury’s or nothing for me so the alternative is chopping up a bar of Dairy Milk… aint nobody got time for that! I use a table-spoon to measure out my cookies on a greased baking tray, you should get a minimum of 12 large cookies but bear in mind that they SPREAD so leave plenty of space between them before they go in the oven. I baked my last 2 batches at 180C for just under 2 minutes but they were large.. I’d put the timer on for 12 minutes and keep an eye on them after that. They will come out looking a little raw and cakey but that’s good.. they will settle fast when you get them out and that’s what gives them that gooey American cookie texture that Millie’s has us all hooked on. I leave mine to JUST brown on top before I take them out but my husband prefers them a little earlier so it’s all trial and error and personal preference.
Excellent with a glass of milk but just as good with my last cup of tea in my Santa mug til next Christmas (she lies, that mug will be used year round) these are my favourite cookies. I can knock a batch together with no notice and since I made my little tweaks to the ingredients I’m even more likely to have in what I need to make them. The original called for 100g of caster sugar and 125g of soft brown sugar but that’s tough to find and quite expensive in my experience. You do get a slightly more caremelised texture but unless I was making them for a special occasion (unlikely as I don’t think they’d last until the guests arrived) then I wouldn’t bother.
This years addition to the process was the sleeping puppy (who’s not such a puppy anymore) who was so irritated by me being in HIS kitchen he retreated to stairs to sleep on my dirty clothes. He did NOT taste the cookies and might still be a bit peeved with me about the whole thing.