See ya later 2013!

Apologies for the quiet week! Christmas was hectic between mine and the boyfriend’s families and then we had to pack for our winter holiday in the snow! You may have already seen from my instagram that we are snowboarding in Courchevel, the French Alps, along with my lovely mum and dad! Looking forward to spending New Years here too, makes a bit of a change! ;)

This brings me nicely into this post, which is a quick round up of my year in pictures. 2013 has been a good year and I’m hoping 2014 will be even better!

Travel wise, 2013 saw me taking the boyfriend to Prague, going on an amazing road trip around Florida in the summer, a work trip to Cologne that took about 9 months of blood, sweat and tears to plan and currently snowboarding in Courchevel! Not bad really!

This year marked a year of the boyfriend and I living together in our flat and we signed up for another year. It really has been amazing  (soppy alert) and I wouldn’t change a thing!

There’s been a lot of food, baking, coffee and prosecco along the way and good times with friends!

2013 also saw the start of Almost Apricot into what it is now, starting with a rebrand and name change. I’m looking forward to seeing where 2014 is going to take it!

So, my goals for 2014:

  • Definitely try to be healthier – maybe actually do some exercise rather than just talk about it!
  • Make time for projects I’ve wanted to do for a while.
  • Keep growing Almost Apricot, hopefully keeping you guys entertained and/or inspired!

It really does mean a lot that my tiny little corner of the internet is being read and I hope to bring you lots more throughout 2014!

Have a lovely New Years and see you in 2014!

.:M:.

Snowflake

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I’m still all over festive nails and my bff knows me too well as her Christmas present to me (yes we opened our presents early when we exchanged gifts last week!) was this Nails Inc Snowflake Collection.

The Silver Foil Effect nail varnish surprised me the most as it really does look like foil and it’s so shiny! I used that as a base for the Snowflake glitter topcoat and my nails really do look like it’s snowed all over them! Perfect for my snowboarding trip next week! ;-)

The other colour in the collection is a sort of mauve-beige, which I think will look lovely with a coat of Snowflake on top too, I’ll probably try that next!

Only 2 more sleeps! Anyone else as excited!?

Have a lovely Christmas!

.:M:.

Festive Nails

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To get into the Christmas spirit (not that I really need to…), I decided to do a festive manicure. As I’m not the best at doing nail art, I got these little Christmas pudding and gingerbread man transfers, a little kitsch, but it’s Christmas and I think they look cute!

I went for the Christmas puds to tie in with my pudding jumper! These were really easy to apply, I just had to cut around each pud, peel it off and with the help of tweezers, apply it to my nails. Then just apply a topcoat and voila!

What do you think, are you a fan of festive nails?

.:M:.

John Frieda Everlasting Blonde

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I have been battling damaged hair for a while, hence one of the reasons for cutting off my hair earlier this year, so when this set of John Frieda products landed on my doorstep, I thought it was the perfect chance to give them a go.

Firstly, the reason for my damaged hair was mainly heat and bleaching. Every time I went to the hairdressers, it seemed to get lighter and lighter and I didn’t help matters by using the hairdryer and straighteners practically every day and in the end, it started to snap off.

So I decided to cut my hair short and get it dyed a more natural blonde. I was also looking for products and treatments to strengthen my hair and give it some well needed TLC.

So this brings me to the John Frieda Sheer Blonde range. The Sheer Blonde Everlasting Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner are colour preserving products to ensure your newly coloured locks stay looking fresh. This is definitely a bonus considering how much us girls spend on getting our hair cut and coloured! Plus it means I can leave it a little longer between salon visits. Perfect for when I’m trying to care for my hair to make it stronger and healthier. Even the boyfriend tried it, not before asking if it was going to make his hair ginger! (It doesn’t by the way) ;-)

The Sheer Blonde Conditioning Treatment does exactly what it says on the tin…  I’m using it daily, leaving it on for 3-5 minutes before rinsing out. I’m spending a little more time in the shower (much to my boyfriend’s annoyance) but it makes my hair feel smoother, stronger and more conditioned already, which is what I need especially with winter kicking in!

With the Christmas party season upon us, you may be looking for new ways to style your hair… if so, you can find some new styling tips here. My faves are the 25 minute retro beehive and the hair bow, but I’m going to have to wait till my hair grows a bit longer for that one!!

Have you tried the Sheer Blonde range? What treatments do you use on your hair?

.:M:.

Christmas Jumper Day

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You may have seen the campaign for Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day (#xmasjumperday) on Friday. Quite a few of us took part at work, showcasing an array of Christmas jumpers, which was pretty fun, with even a customised Miley jumper swinging on a bauble! If you follow my twitter or instagram, you may have noticed that I was a big Christmas pudding (jumper from Primark). If you would like to know how you can do your bit, click here.

Hope you’re all rocking your Christmas jumpers! Only a week and a half to go! ;-)

.:M:.

Apple Streusel Cake

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In my last post I gave you a snippet of this Apple Streusel Cake… it is honestly the best thing I have baked to date… It’s kinda a mixture between a cake and a crumble… perfect!

What you need:

a spring form cake tin

For The Cake:

140g plain flour plus a little extra for dusting
60g softened unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
a tiny bit of salt
80ml whole milk
3 apples (I used bramley apples)

For The Crumble Topping:

70g plain flour
40g chilled and diced unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
70g soft light brown sugar

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Preheat your oven to 170 degrees, butter your spring form tin and dust with a little flour.

To make the crumble topping, sift the flour and cinnamon into a bowl and add the butter. With your fingers, rub the mixture together until it starts to look like crumbs. Add the sugar and mix together.

Next, to make the cake, put the butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together until quite fluffy and then add the egg and vanilla and stir until everything is well mixed together.

In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix and then slowly start adding it to the butter mixture, along with half of the milk. Mix it all together and then add the rest of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk. Pour this into your tin.

Peel, core and slice your apples and place them on top of your cake batter in circles. Add the crumble topping on top of the apples and put the tin in the oven for 40 mins or until when you insert a knife or skewer into the middle of the cake, it comes out clean.

Let it cool for a little while and then serve with either cream, ice cream or custard! We went for vanilla cream… Delicious!

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Enjoy!

.:M:.

PS. Let me know if you try it! :)

My Weekend: At Home

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This weekend pretty much revolved around food and feeling Christmassy! (I know, I’ve started early this year…) A quick Sainsbury’s shop on Saturday saw me spend the rest of the day in the kitchen, which made Sunday pretty lovely!

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IMG_3069(Wearing Topshop Dress .:. Topshop Cardigan .:. Topshop Necklace)

I’ve been wanting to make a stew for a while, but seeing as it takes around 3 hours to cook, I’ve never had the chance! Until now… I took inspiration from Jamie’s recipe, but skipped the parsnips as the boyfriend doesn’t like them and the artichokes. It was pretty much a beef stew with potatoes, butternut squash and carrots and I have to say, it was good!

The other thing I tried out was an Apple Streusel Cake (post coming soon) and I think it may actually be the best thing I have baked! So Sunday consisted of copious amounts of tea, a hazelnut latte, stew, Apple Streusel cake and crumpets, with films on the sofa (did anyone catch Home Alone?! It’s definitely Christmas now!). A pretty good weekend in my eyes! ;-)

I wanted to share our Christmas tree as well, which we put up last weekend! All the decorations are from last year (I went a bit bauble mad when we moved in last year as it was our first Christmas in the flat, with baubles from The White Company, John Lewis and a few from the Christmas Home Show at Earls Court).

Hope you all had a lovely weekend too!

.:M:.