Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy New Year!

 

I’m currently sitting on a very comfy chair in Heathrow’s Terminal 5… which is my new favourite place to be.

I’m off on holibubs today for a couple of weeks (The Cayman Islands & Cuba! Squeal!) so there won’t be much activity here until mid Jan, but I’ll be back with bells on before you can say Poppy loves pumpernickel. (I do.)
So for now, I’d like to wish all my wonderful readers and lovely followers the happiest and most sparkling of New Years. You’ve been utterly marvellous and I thank you for all your support and camaraderie over the past year. It doesn’t go unnoticed and it means the world.
Come on 2014! Let’s knock the socks off you.
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It’s a wrap


I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that the wrapping of my presents can sometimes cost the same (or more) than the present itself. Which is a bit silly. No?

I love ribbons and sparkles and all things twinkly, but sometimes there is a call for simplicity…and I’ve discovered that with simplicity sometimes comes an even more beautiful and thoughtful result.

This year, I have opted to go as simple as possible. Brown craft paper and a black marker pen.

No string. No Sparkles. No nuffin.

It really is the thought that counts.

 

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Cheesecake Mince Pies from A Handmade Cottage

Lucky me to know such lovely bloggers who make such yummy things. I’m so pleased to be able to introduce you to the gorgeous Jodie May of A Handmade Cottage, unless of course, you’ve met her already… You may have seen her in the first issue of Blogosphere Magazine back in October, (of which yours truly is the Lifestyle editor – ding!) or maybe you found her browsing tinternet for warm and cosy and lovely things to make and do… but either way, here she is and I’m very proud to have her in my little corner of the webbynet.
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Message from Jodie May:
 
Those that know me, know I’m not a great cook. I start out with good intentions … I don my pretty apron and hum along to Billie Holiday whilst prepping my ingredients but more often than not, it will all end with Ralphy (my Jack Russell) running for cover and yours truly swearing like a sailor. However, I can bake, and since it’s Christmas I want to give Poppy’s readers a real treat. This recipe has been handed down to me by my lovely mother-in-law, who really is a master-chef. 
 
 
 
A Handmade Cottage’s  Cheesecake Mince Pies
 
These are simply the most delicious mince pies you will EVER eat. They have sweet cream cheese inside and the pastry is yummy, crisp and not at all stodgy. I know this because I’ve eaten 5 today. I can’t stop. Make them and you’ll see why.
For the pastry
225g/8oz plain flour
50g / 2oz golden caster sugar
140g/5oz butter (cut into small cubes)
Grated zest of one orange
1 egg yolk
For the filling
200g/8oz decent mincemeat
125g pack full fat soft cheese
2 tsp caster sugar
Finely grated zest of lemon.
 
And at the end
1 egg white, lightly whisked
Golden granulated sugar for sprinkling!
 
1. Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6/Fan oven 180C.
Make pastry: Put flour, butter, orange zest and caster sugar in a food processor and whizz to form breadcrumbs. (NOTE: I don’t have food processor, crumbling with fingers works just as well).
Add the egg yolk and a tablespoon of water and pulse (squidge together) to form a dough.
Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

2. Make filling:  Beat the cheese until soft, then mix in the sugar and lemon zest and set aside. Roll out just over half the dough, fairly thin and stamp 12 rounds with a fluted cutter (NOTE: I don’t have a fluted cutter so I used a small teacup! worked perfectly.) Pop these into your bun tin.

 
3. Fun bit. Put heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in each pasty case (don’t overdo it though) and top with a teaspoon of the sweetened cream cheese. Roll out the remaining dough and stamp out 12 slightly smaller rounds (NOTE: I just used a slightly small cup) Put these lids on a press gently to seal.
 
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‘top with a teaspoon of sweetened cream cheese’
4. Fun bit. With the left over pastry stamp out 12 stars ensuring they’re not too thick. (NOTE: I didn’t have a star cutter, so using a teaspoon I made holly, birds and stars : ) Brush with egg white and stick your bits on top. The pies can be frozen at this point for up to 6 weeks. To finish brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 12 -15 minutes until golden. Let them cool for 10 mins then remove and rest on a wire rack.
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‘..sprinkle with granulated sugar…’
Make a cuppa and enjoy!
 
Merry Christmas Poppy Loves readers..
 
From Jodie May, AKA Fairy baker at www.ahandmadecottage.com
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It’s a Christmas Miracle: L’Oréal Professionel Mythic Oil Nourishing Masque


“IT GLIDES ON LIKE BUTTER!” yelled Gem excitedly from the bathroom. “IT FEELS SO NOURISHING! IT’S SO RICH AND LUXURIOUS!”

She had got to my Mythic Oil Nourishing Masque before I’d had a chance to use it, and I’d said that was fine as long as she yelled out adjectives and descriptive sentences while she was having a shower. 

“IT’S DIVINE!”

(I had gone downstairs by this point, but she has got some serious lungs, has Gem.)

L’Oreal have created a masque which is suitable for all hair types. (This is good as my hair type can change on an hourly basis.) It aims to magically transform the condition of your dry hair in just three little minutes..(this is the best bit for me – so speedy) and if Gem’s whoops of delight were anything to go by, it did just that.

Mythic Oil Nourishing Masque 1
Pic from www.puritybeauty.se

Tired tresses will instantly be revived, thanks to the gorgeous (and yummy smelling) infusion of avocado, grapeseed, cottonseed and argan oils.

“IT FEELS LIKE IT’S DOING MY HAIR ACTUAL GOOD!”

After hearing Gem’s shouts of rapture and seeing her very happy post-masque face, I used it the following evening and I have to say, I was equally pleased with the results; my hair was softer, more manageable, knot-free and had far less frizzos around the edgos… so I’m giving it the Poppy thumbs up.

Mythic by name, mythic by nature.

‘Tis magic.



L’Oréal Professionel Mythic Oil Nourishing Masque is currently available at The Salon Look for £15.33, reduced from £17.25

 
 
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Can’t get to Habitat? Go to Argos.

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Pic from http://housewifeconfidential.co.uk

I find that sleek, stylish and colourful furniture is not that easy to find when you’re looking for something that’s ‘just right.’ Something that will fit that cosy corner in your living room, (does anyone else call it a lounge, or is it just me?) or that spot underneath your bedroom window.. 

My first port of call is usually Habitat. It’s my furniture mecca. It’s where I go for a little sit down if things are getting on top of me. I’d get into bed there if I could, but I think I might get arrested. Arrested in Habitat. Arrested for sleeping in my pyjamas in Habitat.

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Habitat Kilo Blue and Yellow Nest of 3 Tables – available at Argos

So I have been looking for a little nest of tables for my lounge (ha) and a new bedside table for my bedroom. I had resigned myself to having to spend a good couple of hours trawling various sites on tinternet.. but I had a lovely little surprise.

I Googled (love that verb – to Google, one Googles, They had Googled..) ‘Habitat furniture’ and up popped Argos. Argos? Yes, Argos.

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Rutherford bedroom furniture – available at Argos

I don’t think I’m on my own in thinking that Argos only sold fairly low priced flat-pack furniture.. but turns out we were all wrong. Wrong! 

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Home furnishings – available at Argos

Argos stocks all kinds of lovely brands of kitchen, living room and bedroom furniture, including Habitat and Schreiber… so I settled myself back on the sofa, made me some tea (there was lemon cake too, obvs) and browsed the one site for some lovely new bits and bobs for my home. 

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Malibu Bedroom – available at Argos

So there you have it – my little revelation saved me quite a bit of time and if I go ahead with the purchases, I’ll be able to use their handy stock-checking tools to tell me where I can collect my bits and pieces from. Or, if I want to have them delivered, there’s free delivery being offered on a number of products too.

Goodie.

 

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Wax on, wax off

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Waxing is not my idea of fun. I doubt it’s anyone’s idea of fun – mostly because IT HURTS, but also – it can be a bit laborious… So when I was invited to try out the super-speedy-in-and-out-in-a-jiffy-walk-in-off-the-street-much-less-painful new Wax in the City salon on the Kings Road, I thought, well why not.

 

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Pic from http://www.joannelarby.com

My previous waxing experiences have been about soft lighting, gentle music and pastel colours… which, if you think about it, is a cunning plan to make you THINK that you’re not going to be in PAIN. It’s a wax conspiracy. A wonspiracy.

Wax in the City is modern and slick and orange. I felt like I was entering a groovy and pretty version of NASA, not a beauty parlour.. and it was absolutely spotless.

I knew they used hot wax and so had opted for a full leg wax – I have never had hot wax used on my legs before, (as they do such teeny tiny bits at a time – I assumed I’d be there all day) and so I certainly was not expecting what happened… 

The girl who was waxing me, (we shall call her the Depiladora, as that’s the correct name. Be impressed) was dressed in black and red. After checking the temperature of the wax, she applied it at my my ankle and began smoothing it up my leg. I wondered when she was going to stop. She didn’t. She applied the wax all the way from my ankle, up my leg, over my knee and right up to the top of my thigh. The wax covered my ENTIRE front leg. (I AM AWARE THAT I AM USING CAPITAL LETTERS A LOT BUT I FEEL THIS CRAZINESS WARRANTS IT.)

wax1

She then, (I closed my eyes – are you?) pulled the whole lot off in one go. Whooosh!  It came off speedily and she was left holding this enormous piece of hairy wax above her head like a trophy, which she then calmly threw over her shoulder like a ninja, she did a backflip (she didn’t) and then began the process all over again on my other leg. 

“Are you ok, Poppy?” I think she was asking me this as I think my eyes were twice the size and my mouth was open in shock, having not quite believed what had occurred. “Yes thanks – I’m completely fine” said I (Poppy) and it was true. 

Then I flipped over (for I too am a ninja) and she did the backs of my legs in the same way. Bish bash bosh.

This had to be the fastest (I was in and out in 25 mins) and most pain-free wax experience I have ever had. This could have been down to the skill of the Ninja (Depiladora), the pre-treatment Hamamelis Water, or the natural beeswax warm wax. Who knows – I suspect it’s a combo of all three.

All of Wax in the City’s Depiladora’s are trained at Ninja School (their Flagship Academy) in Berlin, so they all know their stuff. She was super.

This salon is currently the only Wax in the City in London, but I am sure there will be more  popping up soon. You can walk in off the street (they have loads of rooms) and be in and out with no fuss, with as little pain as is possible (your little hairs are being plucked out, after all) and in super speedy time.

All hail Wax in the City – Ninjas of hair removal.

Kaboom.



Wax in the City
370 Kings Road
Chelsea, London
SW3 5UZ

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Hair, manicure and make-over; £60 for 60 mins. Kaboom!


Who knew what was possible in just one hour. And if you’d seen me before I entered the new and very glamorous Michael John Salon in Knightsbridge, you probably wouldn’t have thought the above was even possible in a day.

MBosh and I popped along to the Michael John Christmas Soiree, which promised to be an evening of festive cocktails and pampering. And that’s exactly what happened.

The very clever people at Michael John are launching a new pampering package.. and it’s almost a bit too good to be true; in just one hour you get a blow-dry, a mini manicure (file, shape and revarnish) and a make-over… and all for £60.

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Cedric Gonzalez, one of the senior stylists, works his magic..

You can enter the salon looking as much like an ugly duckling as you like (I can vouch for this) and you will emerge a glamorous swan. It’s like a human car wash, but with much more style and finesse…

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Multi-tasking – hair and nails a go-go

This package is perfect if you have a date or a party after work – just pop in and be transformed into the most gorgeous version of yourself you could ever imagine
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MBosh’s are on the left and mine are on the right – Essie’s Smokin Hot with a top coat of glitter…
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Make up by Sara Chatterton – dark purple eyeshadow with sparkly gold eyeliner.. perfect party eyes

Mbosh’s hair is polka straight.. and look what happened to her! She looked amazing.

photo 2-1


She also learnt how to do that clever Feline Flick with eyeliner.. Sara Chatterton was the make-up artist who worked her magic on my eyes and she will show you how to do any particular style you want to learn, e.g. smoky eyes, feline flicks, perfect pout etc..

I was so impressed with the salon, the team and the pampering package. I left feeling like a million bucks and have already bought all the bits and pieces Sara used on my eyes…

Time to get practising!



The ‘£60 for 60 mins’ pampering package will be available at the Michael John Salon in Knightsbridge from January 2014.

Michael John Salon
144a Brompton Road
Knightsbridge
London, W1S 4HU

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The Scarlet – Cornwall’s luxury eco hotel

‘Cornwall? At the end of November? You must be mad’ was the general consensus when I told everyone where I was going. But I wasn’t mad, was I. Because that’s me in my pants on the beach being not mad. (Don’t say a word.)

Continue Reading…

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Annie Haak: Pancakes and Sparkles (and win gorgeous stacking bracelets, worth £165!)


“Would you like waffles or pancakes, Poppy?” These are the hard-hitting journalisty (I know it’s not a word) questions that I find really push the boundaries. THIS is why I love blogging.

“PANCAKES (obviously) PLEASE.” 

I had been invited to a breakfast with the gorgeous Annie Haak. And I know she’s gorgeous, because I met her.

British designer Annie Haak set up her label in 2009 and the brand has been sparkling from strength to strength ever since. Her Indonesian-inspired designs are understated, beautiful, feminine and timeless… 
Each of Annie’s creations are designed with meaningful symbols behind them.. the hearts on her logo represent her three kiddiwinks. (Who are all grown up now but still, once a kiddiwink, always a kiddiwink.)
 
 
Bali has been a huge inspiration for Annie and her intention is for some of the charm and character of this beautiful island to shine through and reflect in her designs. Many of her pieces carry a special meaning by way of mantras or symbols that represent love, luck, protection, strength and well-being – she believes that all her jewellery should carry a message of either love or support… 
Annie works closely with the manufacturers in Bali and has done so for many years. She has nurtured a special relationship and connection with Bali and its people.. and strives to continue to do so. And I’m sure she will. Annie spoke with such passion and awe about her experiences there… I was so transfixed I kept forgetting to eat my pancakes. (And you should know by now that this is a highly unusual situation.)
 
Annie Haak
Annie Haak
It was such a lovely occasion and a real treat to meet the lady (and she really is a lady) behind the brand. Her team were all delightful as well, and of course I just loved gazing at, and wearing some of her gorgeous pieces of jewellery.
 
 
 
Lucky little me.
 
 
 
www.anniehaakdesigns.co.uk

Annie Haak has given me a stunning rose gold stacking bracelet set to giveaway, worth £165!
 
Win these stunning Santeenie Stack Rose Gold Stacking Bracelets – £165
 
Annie’s favourite and fabulous “Stunning Santeenies Stack” shown above, comprises of five beautiful bracelets:

• Rose Gold Santeenie with a rose gold ‘My Guardian Angel’ Charm
• Rose Gold Santeenie with a rose gold Open Heart Charm
• Rose Gold Santeenie with a rose gold Solid HeartCharm
• Rose Gold Santeenie with a rose gold Open Star Charm
• Rose Gold Santeenie with a rose gold Dainty Butterfly Charm.
If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning these beautiful bracelets (just in time for Christmas!) just enter my competition below. If you can’t see the ‘Rafflecopter’ form just click here. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Covent Garden Dental Spa: Open wide. And relax.

“Would you like cherry, cassis, tropical or mint?” No. I was not in a swanky cocktail bar.. I was at the dentist. The DENTIST.

I had popped into the Covent Garden Dental Spa for their special treatment – ‘Bright White Christmas Smile.’ This was not your normal ‘teeth whitening’ experience, but more of a super sonic clean. The cleans to end all other cleans. The clean that makes you actually do that thing with your tongue over your teeth, that they do in the adverts. That.

When it comes to going to the dentist, I’m used to sterile environments, out-of-date magazines, people looking stressed and the faint sound of a painful sounding drill zzzzz-ing through the wall… but no. Apparently Poppy was not in Kansas anymore. Dentist

As soon as I arrived I knew something was different. Is that classical music playing? Is that a coffee machine? Is that today’s Sunday Times? Comfy chairs, fresh flowers, soft lighting, a friendly receptionist who took my coat.. and yes, I would like a peppermint tea and a twenty minute massage on your ridiculously amazing massage chair to relax me. Thank you. (The spa was recently shortlisted for the ‘best care for nervous patients.’ It’s no wonder.)

Dentist
The AMAZING massage chair – you can book it for a 20 minute session before any appointment

As I listened to softly playing jazz while I had my massage, sipped my peppermint tea and allowed the gentle scents of the aromatherapy oils to whisk me off into a dreamy land… I decided that there was no going back. This is how dentistry should be.

“Which paper would like, Poppy?” Brilliant.

Dentist
Yes. It’s a coffee machine.

And then it was into the hygienist, feeling slightly spacey, very calm and so relaxed that even if she’d come at me with ten whizzing drills and a carving knife I doubt I’d have flinched.

I settled back on the very comfortable chair (if my dentist chair was a knackered old fiat, this dentist chair was an Aston Martin) and let the clever hygienist do her thing. Dentist

She removed all the stains on my teeth, and then polished them within an inch of their lives, using a fine air-polishing powder, to remove any other heavy stains. The flavours she offered me above, were for the air-flow machine – I could choose whichever flavour I wanted. Genius. Although I was tempted by tropical, I opted for mint…

The treatment lasted around 20 minutes and my teeth looked brighter and felt amazing afterwards. It is such a good alternative to teeth whitening, especially if you want to avoid using the peroxide based materials so often used for whitening procedures. Dentist

The really good news is that the treatment is currently half price at £67.50 (usually £135) and £2.50 of every Christmas Smile treatment they provide will be donated to Smile 4 Africa. They’ll also send you home with a complimentary Christmas Dental Survival Kit…

So, if you want to dazzle Santa this Chrimbo, get yourself down to Covent Garden and indulge in a bit of pampering. 

I mean, the dentist.


Covent Garden Dental Spa
68a Neal Street
Covent Garden
London, WC2H 9PA

www.coventgardendentalspa.co.uk

 
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Bagsy you’re it: Alicia Satchel by Nica


I’m worse than Goldilocks when it comes to handbags. It can’t be too small, it can’t be too big… it has to be just right. And then there are different bags for different occasions.. posh bags for posh nights, massive bags for market mooching.. but finding a good, all-rounder bag can be tricky. 

Nica bag
The Alicia Satchel made an appearance on Joss Stone’s music video..

Tricky no more, you’ll be pleased to hear, for I have discovered Nica. Ta da.

Nica Kim was busy studying away at the London College of Fashion, when she won a competition to spend a week with the design team at handbag specialists Creative Ltd. Clever sausage. The team at Creative were so super impressed with her design skills and creativity that the template was set for the brand that was to become Nica. Nica bag Nica bag Nica bag

It all began in 2005 and since then, the brand has gone from strength to strength, with folk like you and me being ever so pleased to find such beautifully made, pretty bags with plenty of room for all our (very organised) gubbins. (Is ‘gubbins’ a word? Spell-check doesn’t like it one little bit. I’m sticking with it. Conviction.) 

Really – the Alicia Satchel has so many pockets, zipped sections and compartments that I struggled to find enough bits and bobs to fill it.. 

Nica’s signature is her print work. All her bags are lined with a pretty leaf design and the summer bags are decorated with gorgeous floral patterns and landscape creations. I should also mention that the Alicia Satchel is not leather.. but it had me fooled at ‘hello.’ It’s soft, squidgesome and looks more like leather that some actual leather bags. Which is weird.
Nica bag

Nica bag
All you need in life is an Alicia Satchel and a trumpet

Each of Nica’s designs combine original, quirky and functional elements with an emphasis on casual styling, beautiful prints and bold colours finished with her signature charms and embroidery. The Alicia Satchel, has pretty flower cut-outs and lovely antique brass hardware which add to its gorgeous vintage look.

So there you have it – you can view the entire Nica range on their website and drool over all the pretty colours, prints and patterns… or you can go and see them in the flesh at Topshop, John Lewis and House of Fraser.. I may well see you there.



Alicia Satchel – £49

Poppy was sent an Alicia Satchel to review.

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