Sunday, 20 April 2014

How to Make Mendl's Courtesan Au Chocolat

how to make mend's courtesan au chocolate
Raise your hand if you like Wes Anderson! If you don't know what I am on about, run to your nearest cinema and go and watch 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'…. Ok, now you have done that I am sure you are just as in awe of Mr Anderson's wondrous brain as I was. If you liked this film be sure to check out his other films too, they are all awesome.

One of the most magical things in Grand Budapest Hotel is a delicious looking pastry, the 'Courtesan Au Chocolat'. When I discovered that Anderson's team had made a tutorial video on how to make it, I decided we had to give it a go ourselves. Especially since I had a special Wes Anderson fan in mind that this would make the perfect surprise gift for!

It was a fairly detailed recipe, and there were several points where I and my sous-chef Jess thought things were going terribly wrong! But in the end they turned out pretty darn well, even if I do say so myself! And yes, they were delicious, and they disappeared just as quickly as they did in the film!
grand budapest hotel mend's cake recipe
I also found an Etsy shop that sells downloadable printouts of the boxes, which was the icing on the cake, (as it were) so we were able to present them very authentically indeed! 

Wes Anderson Mendl's downloadable boxes
If you want to have a go at making a Courtesan Au Chocolat yourself you can watch the tutorial below, and it is super cute! If you do I'd love to see how it turns out!

The exact recipe for the Courtesan au chocolat has never been published or publicly disclosed as per the conditions of Herr Mendl’s will. However, the following has been collated and adapted from a several “pirate” sources in the Nebelsbad archives (including a 1963 recipe from the kitchen of the Grand Budapest Hotel using powdered eggs that was printed in the Lutz Daily Fact).

Laura xXx
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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Objects De Desir - A Lovely Necklace!

mint triangle necklace
I'm on a bit of a roll for good post days at the moment. I've been getting lots of RSVPs for the wedding recently, so I've got more to open than just bills! But even more exciting, the other day I received a little gift from  Objects De Desir!

Objects De Desir is an online shop selling a plethora of awesome goodies from fantastic artists, illustrators and creators. They aim to give a wider audience access to smaller brands or new artists and designs showcasing unique and often vintage inspired pieces for the home and, as well as stylish hand crafted jewellery. 

They were kind enough to offer me a piece from Rachel Loves Bob, and since I have a love of mint, I chose the beautiful Mint Triangle Necklace. Rachel loves bob is a range of handcrafted jewellery using clean lines and graphic elements from designer Rebecca Gladstone. She works with a variety of materials incorporating wood, metal and vintage pieces. 

The packaging was super cute too! Its always nice to open a beautiful box!

I'm looking forward to wearing this with my matching mint cardigan! 

If you would like to know more you can follow Objects De Desir on Facebook here
mint necklace
Laura xXx
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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Overnight Oats Breakfast Recipe - Apple, Raisins and Cinnamon

apple crumble overnight oats breakfast recipe
Today I want to introduce you to my new best friend, overnight oats!

This is now officially my favorite breakfast. If you haven't heard of overnight oats, they are basically  porridge without the hassle of cooking the oats. Oh, and it's cold instead of hot!  

You make up your oaty/porridge dry mixture and then soak them in milk (or a lacto-free version of milk. I use coconut milk), then you leave them overnight in the fridge. When you wake up in the morning your oats will be fully soaked and ready gobble down!

There are tons of recipes you can experiment with, but I am hooked on my first creation. Its an absolutely delicious apple crumble inspired recipe! If that sounds good to you, read on to find out the ingredients;

1 cup porridge oats
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup raisins
A small hand-full of goji berries
A squeeze of agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of apple sauce

overnight oats cinnamon
The secret ingredient is the apple sauce. I made a massive batch of this a little while ago. It was really simple, I just stewed down some apples in boiling water and then strained and mashed them.  I put some of this in the freezer, so now I just take out as much as I need to defrost a few hours before I make my overnight oats. If you don't have any to hand you can substitute a little bit of the milk for apple juice which gives it a bit of an apple tang.
overnight oats recipe
I really like the way that soaking them makes the raisins and goji berries so soft. Usually I find goji berries a little bitter, but you barely notice them in the mixture for this recipe!

Do you make overnight oats at all? If you do what are your favorite recipes?

Laura xXx

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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Urbanears headphones review in association with 3

urban outfitters headphones
Hey guys, check out my new headphones!  I was approached by the lovely people at 3 to test out a product for my iPhone 4.

Recently I have been watching a lot of youtube wedding tutorials for make-up, hair and other DIY's on my phone. I picked these awesome Urbanear Plattan Coral headphones so that Chris would not have to be subjected to listening to them all! Also, I figured I could also use these with an iPad or our computer when I want to listen to music in the office.

When they arrived I was not disappointed! They came in a lovely box and were pretty cleverly packaged if you ask me!
urbanears headphones review
I love the colour of them and think I will make a little place for them to hang on my wall like Elise has done in this post.

The sound quality is great too so I am looking forward to lots of evenings snuggled up by the fire 'researching'!urbanears headphones review

Laura xXx

The headphones reviewed in the post above were kindly gifted to me by the people at 3.
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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

January Review

In Life

Oh dear, what a terrible blogger I have been! Only 3 posts in January! Well I have been kind of busy I guess. It is now less than 4 months until our wedding, and I a freaking out a little bit! Things are just starting to come together though which is nice. The invites are nearly done, I've been making decorations, and my AMAZING guest book has arrived, which I can't wait to tell you all about at some point!

So you may not be seeing quite as much of me until the wedding is over, but I will be posting a fair amount over on my wedding blog Wrapped Up In Weddings if you want to catch up there. I've started a series of wedding nail designs  (pic below) and I think I might start reviewing Make-up for those wanting to do their own make-up on their wedding day. My latest post is about my experience getting  a free bridal make-up less on at Bobbi Brown! You can see it here.

Also, at the end of January I went on a little Skiing holiday to Avoriaz in the French Alps! I may do a post about this if I get time, because it was AWESOME! Here's a pic of the boys because they look way cooler than I did.

I am aware I have been slacking a little bit on the blog front, so I have given myself a challenge on Instagram to post a photo a day. You can see how I am getting on here.

What We Watched

What I Read

I'm back into Game of Thrones at the moment, ready for the new series! (in March is it?)

My Favourite Posts

Laura xXx
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Saturday, 18 January 2014

My Favourite Christmas & Birthday Presents

geometric air plant terrarium
Christmas and Birthdays are great. It's so nice to get lovely new things! It is a shame that my Birthday falls so close to Christmas, and it all seems to be over so quickly every year!

This year I thought I would document some of my favourite gifts, so that I can appreciate them a little bit more.

My Mum must have taken notice of  my christmas wish list, because I finally got an awesome little terrarium with an air plant to look after. It can hang up as well! But I am plotting carefully where to put it as I have visions of it falling to a terrible death!

Chris's Mum was a little incapacitated this year as she had an operation on her foot, so she couldn't get out and about to go shopping. Instead she made us all lovely hooks to mount on the wall! Each one had a different design, and this one was mine!
diy shabby chic hooks
My friend Kate bought me a very cute foxy necklace which I have been wearing rather a lot recently. I don't usually wear necklaces much (probably because I don't have many), but I have even found myself actually wearing this one to bed by accident on several occasions. The etsy shop it came from has loads of other really lovely jewellery too, you should check it out. It is called BK& necklace
Chris did very well and bought me not one, but two jumpers in my favourite colours! Well, he actually bought me three if you count the Christmas pudding jumper I got in my stocking! This one came from Topshop, and along with the other one I am pretty much wearing it constantly. He also bought me some weird tiny socks that I don't know what to do with, but we won't talk about that!

topshop jumper
I love this massive L mug my friend Jess bought me for my Birthday. I had been eyeing them up in M&S for some time. Now I only need A U R A and then I will have a set!
Initial Mug
Laura xXx

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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Healthy Ice Cream Recipe - Mint Choc Chip

healthy coconut mint ice cream
For my birthday my parents bought me an ice cream maker! Yay! Then I found out I was intolerant to lactose. Boo!

I do love regular ice cream, especially Ben and Jerry's mint choc chip when I'm at the cinema! But I have always been interested in finding healthier alternatives. The base for this recipe is coconut milk rather than cream. So it makes it much healthier and also ideal for lactose intolerant people like me.

The Ingredients

3 frozen bananas
1 tin of coconut milk (chilled)
1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
1 avocado
Cocoa nibs (or a few chocolate chips for those of you that can or want to have milk)
Agave nectar or honey to taste

The Process

Mix all ingredients other than the cocoa nibs/chocolate chips together in a blender.  Stir them in at the end.  Then pop into your ice cream maker and follow the instructions for your machine. Mine took about 20 minutes. It is probably best to eat it straight away, as this will have the best texture. But I put mine in the freezer to save for later. You just need to give it a little while to defrost before you want to eat it.

If you don't have an ice cream maker you can still make this. You just need to use the old, 'stir it every hour' technique, and then keep putting it back in the freezer. Or you could use lolly moulds and make Ice lollies instead!
lactose free healthy coconut milk ice cream

The Verdict

I think that this is one of those tastes that grows on you. I was a bit disappointed when I first tried it, but the more I ate the more I liked it.  Lets be honest, it is never going to taste the same as Ben and Jerry's.  Once you get that comparison out of your head it tastes pretty good.

I think I will be trying out some other flavours of healthy ice cream before making this one again, but I will definitely be bearing it in mind, and I am sure it will be making a re-appearance!

Laura xXx

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