Tuesday, December 31, 2013

London Adventures & Goodbye 2013!

"I wish we could put some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." - Harlan Miller
London Adventures & Goodbye 2013!
Hello! Ahh I hope you all had a wonderful, wonderful Christmas and were spoilt lots! I was spoilt with oh so many candles which is always a good thing! Shortly after this post it'll be the New Year, so in advance I hope you have a lovely New Year! Before this year is up I wanted to squeeze in another little Christmas themed post because it's my favourite time of year and It's gone sooo fast and I don't want it to be over!

At the end of November myself and Katie ventured to London to attend the Monsoon and Accessorize Press Launch. 'Where is your post about the event' - ah, wonder no more! This post will be coming out in the New Year, once you see it you will realise I went to town on editing all the photos, it is on it's way, apologies thanks for bearing with me!

So after the event myself and Katie explored all the Christmas wonder around Covent Garden. It was the perfect time to be in the area, it wasn't too busy but was filled with Christmas-ness, it's also one of my favourite places! London goes all out on Christmas decorations, I hope you enjoy these pictures from our day!
A rather large tree in the centre of the Covent Garden square. Reminds me of the one from The Grinch, if only we all stood around it linked hand in hand singing Christmas songs.. I will make sure I do this one day...
Amongst all the Christmas spirit are these cute food stalls, all lined up. I'm not a huuuge fan of how macaroons taste but I am some what obsessed with how they look. The colours they are made in is very soothing for my coloured-minded heart.
It's safe to say myself and Katie lost our cool when we saw this rainbow cake, just, HOW COOL!
If you have a sweet tooth then you would be in total heaven, pretty much every flavoured treat you could think of. I was so persuaded by the fancy presentation, but managed to resist..
Katie made a wonderful purchase, in a matter of moments, a slice of the rainbow cake was hers! Also in a matter of moments, a very sickling 't.o.o. m.u.c.h cake' followed..
The rainbow slice of happiness..
Beneath all the shopping is this cute cafe section, there was a band playing in the corner with all kinds of instruments, the atmosphere was suuuper-dee-duuper!
A ceiling full of candy canes, my heart was pumping - soo cool. Now, how to install these in my house? Hmm..
Hot Chocolate - my faaavourite
After some time wondering around the shops such as Cath Kidston and the cool charity shop that is 'Rockit', we decided we needed a little sit down. However, little turned into a very long sit down. Just over three hours to be precise!
'Making a cup of coffee is an art.'
I had the loveliest time sat in Costa, spending hours talking about pretty much everything, it's lovely to have a friend who understands exactly what you mean! Blogging leads to many interesting conversations, we were in our element! It gradually started to get dark outside, so of we went to photograph the night time Christmas lights!
Ooo - an artsy Christmas light shot for you there..
Wondered to Leicester Square, theres always something going on here!
London has many streets full of shops/ cafes/ restaurants/ theatres. This street in particular is one of my favourites, the Christmas decorations are always pretty but even when it's not Christmas it's always dressed fancy and it feels as though you're walking down an enchanted passage! (I have no idea what it's called though, sorry for my lack of street-name knowledge..)
The joy it brings to see a ginormous snow globe in Piccadilly Circus - The Statue of Eros. 

I had a really wonderful day, I hope you equally enjoyed reading about it!
What adventures have you had recently? :)

A little 2013 reflection:
My fondest 2013 memory was my 18th birthday to Disney and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando with my family. I was overwhelmed with the Harry Potter part of the park, feeling like I was in Hogwarts for the day was just the best thing! It's been an interesting year, a lot of ups and a lot of downs, but I won't go into those! Starting University was also a huge leap this year, so far really enjoying it, and I'm surrounded by so many creative people - who are lovely. Eager to see what University brings in the new year, good luck to those who have applied for 2014! This year has also been wonderful blogging wise, I started this blog in February 2013, It's been great already to have attended clothing events and meeting lovely bloggers along the way. I hope to attend many more and continue this exciting journey, thank you for reading and leaving lovely comments!

To name some of my favourite 2013 moments... Becoming friends with a Pineapple, my 18th bouncy castle and Disney/ Orlando trip, venturing to Zante with my bestest friends, exploring my favourite parts of Spain, starting my new art journey at Central Saint Martins, hilarious moments with friends and family, baking endless cupcakes, meeting Bloggers and YouTubers, Cagecity & Monsoon/ Accessorize Press Days and of course, Christmas (and also now, writing this with a cup of tea in my liquorice allsorts onesie!) What have been your 2013 highlights?

The joys of New Year's resolutions. Personally I am terrible at keeping mine most the time. However this website holds alotta' resolutions that are that bit more realistic as appose to the 'never eating chocolate again' one.. I'm definitely going to try and go to bed earlier, so far this holiday I've been going to sleep at 6am, hmm! Be sure to let me know any of your resolutions!

I'mma wrap this up for this year! Thanks again for following my blog throughout 2013 it means a lot, I hope you continue to join my journeys for all the years to come as I do oh so love blogging.

May you have the best New Year and a supper happy 2014.

With love, 
Vote for my blog HERE

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gingerbread House!

"I thought maybe we could make gingerbread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands." - Buddy The Elf
Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I brought this little Gingerbread house kit when I was in IKEA a few weeks back, I've been dying to build it! Of course there are ways to make a Gingerbread house from scratch, but if you are impatient like me and just want to build and decorate then these ready made kits are super-dee-duper! Myself and my mum had alotta fun building our little Gingerbread house, so without further or do, here is our step-by-step wonder house...
If you can't wait to decorate and just want to get eating, then these pieces are a great size for dunking in your tea.. But there is no fun in that! (Unless you really like giant biscuits)..
The instructions said that for glueing the house together you could either use icing sugar with lemon juice and egg whites, or melted sugar. Myself and my mum opted for both, purely because the first one failed oh so badly..

Anywho's for the 'icing sugar glue' we used the above ingredients along with a piping bag and two different coloured food colourings.
In one of my cooking posts (click here to travel back in baking time..) I mentioned my love for the gel food colourings, I find them more effective than the liquid ones - the colours are super strong and even though they are a tad pricier than your usual food colourings, they are totally worth it!

Danger, danger, danger.. Be sure you have a grownup helper helping you with this - the sugar gets SO hot, my mum burnt herself several times, doughnut.. (Hope your feeling better madre..)

This was our second solution as trying to build the gingerbread house with runny multicoloured icing just wasn't doing it. Who knew melted sugar smelt so good! We placed the cooking pot onto the hob and poured in about a bowl full of granulated sugar (I'm sure all other types of sugars are fine to use too). After about 2 minutes the sugar started to thicken, I would say after about 5 minutes the mixture turned into a liquid-y glue fest.
Demonstration of the melted sugar, it sticks so quickly! Here is the chimney, probably an unreliable real life chimney but it'll do just fine for this gingerbread house.

 Now for the fun part.. Decorating!
Ooo and to keep things a lil tidier we placed the gingerbread house on a table mat so all the leakage is in one place and easy to clean afterwards!

I picked up these duo piping bags from my local pound shop, they're so cool, they create a rather funky marble effect. I chose to go for green and pink food colouring, probably not the most festive of colours, but they work well nevertheless! Of course normal piping bags are just as good, along with icing pens (although from past experience some of those taste rather rank..)

Along the gutter of the house I placed on some edible silver balls. I brought these from Tesco's but most supermarkets sell them! They are super effective during the holiday season as they're kinda like mini baubles!

Ooo fancy edible snow.. A nice lil tip to get this effect is popping a teaspoon full of icing sugar into a sieve and simply shaking the sieve over the top of the house/ biscuit/ cake/ etc, it adds a really cute touch! It's starting to feel like Christmas woohoo!

Got a tad carried away, in our baking cupboard I found a packet of mini marshmallows, I instantly thought 'ah, these could be the smoke coming outta the chimney'. The idea was there, the idea also looked good in my head, however, this is the tastiest chimney I ever did taste.

I could imagine two little pigs living in this house, the man pig wearing a polka dot tie and the lady pig wearing a Daisy in her hair. They also have a child piglet who likes to paint and sing..

VOILA! Here is my little Gingerbread house, myself and my mum had a lot of fun building it together. They work as great edible gifts, Christmas snacks or just a centre piece decoration! Tweet me a picture here of your Gingerbread houses if you've made one or anything Christmassy that you've baked! 

I hope you all have a wonderful, magical Christmas.. 
Can't believe it's nearly here, 1 more sleep ahhh!

Thanks for reading, I hope you have enjoyed all my festive posts! 
There will be one or two more before the new year arrives, Christmas isn't over yet!

(1 sleep to go!)
With love, 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quote of the day.. #3

"As long as each of you has your turtle dove, you will be friends forever." - Home Alone 2
- Stepping into Christmas with Charlotte -
Ahh, the wondrous Home Alone films. Kevin McCallister (played by a very cute, young Macaulay Culkin) left alone accidentally by his family, he finds himself on many adventures and tricking the bad guys with his clever traps. Among the adventures Kevin steals a toothbrush, rents a hotel at the age of 10, creates a fake party and my favourite, Kevin finds himself a best friend - The Bird Lady.

Home Alone - 'Lost in New York'. The second film, I have chosen a rather long quote for today, but it just needs to be shared! A conversation between Kevin and The Bird Lady. I love films that help you reflect, it's almost as if you can lose yourself for an hour or so, and when the films over you feel like brand new. On with the quote!
-- ❄ --
Bird LadyThe man I loved fell out of love with me. That broke my heart. And whenever the chance to be loved came along again, I ran away from it. I stopped trusting people.
Kevin McCallister: No offense, but that seems like sort of a dumb thing to do.
Bird Lady: I was afraid of getting my heart broken again. You see, sometimes you can trust a person, and then, when things are down, they forget about you.
Kevin McCallister: Maybe they're just too busy. Maybe they don't forget about you, but they forget to remember you. I don't think people mean to forget, I think it just happens. My grandfather says if my head wasn't screwed on, I'd leave it on the school bus.
Bird Lady: I'm just afraid if I do trust someone, I'll get my heart broken again.
Kevin McCallister: I understand that. I used to have these really nice pair of rollerblades. I was afraid if I wore them, I'd wreck them, so I kept them in a box. Do you know what happened? I outgrew them. I never wore them once outside. I just wore them in my room a couple times.
Bird Lady: A person's heart and a persons feelings are very different than skates.
Kevin McCallister: Well they're kind of the same thing. If you aren't gonna use your heart, then whats the difference if it gets broken? If you just keep it to yourself, maybe it'll be like my rollerblades. When you do decide to try it, it won't be any good. You should take a chance. Got nothing to lose.
-- ❄ --
Ahh just the loveliness of comparing a heart to a pair of rollerblades. This is just a small section from this part of the film, the scenes set in the roof of a lively New York theatre, Kevin and the Bird Lady talk about all their worries and problems. If you haven't seen this film or either of the Home Alone's, here is your sign telling you to go and watch them! Christmas just isn't complete without these films.

So, lets admit it, we all have that one thing we are afraid to use, whether that be an object or just like the Bird Lady, your heart. Funnily enough, I own a pair of rollerskates myself, I've only used them a few times, 1) because I am so bad on them and, 2) afraid to hurt myself if I go flying down a hill (which I have done before.. seemed a good idea at the time.) And although this film did make me want to whack out the skates and off I go, it also made me think that things don't last forever, why wait for something wonderful to pass, whether that be a message to someone or just an adventure on the rollerskates. 

Don't let it be too late to use/fulfil your heart, take a chance and just go with the flow. 
As Kevin so rightly said, 'Got nothing to lose'.

After all, what good is a heart wrapped up in a ribbon-ed box?
Feel free even hug a tree (poet, yep), share your heart with a smile.

I hope you enjoyed this quote/ scene, and that it maybe made you think a little differently. 
Have a very merry rest of December, let me know any your favourite quotes!
(6 sleeps until Christmas!)

With love, 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Festive Essentials!

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything 
is softer and more beautiful." - Norman Vincent Peale

- Stepping into Christmas with Charlotte -
With only 14 days until Christmas I wanted to make sure I shared with you some of my absolute essentials leading up to the big day. There's nothing better than wearing your favourite jumper, drinking your favourite hot drink and watching a joyous Christmas film. 

So go and grab a cup of tea and join me on this Christmas essential post! Let me know what some of your Christmas 'can't live withouts' are and share the festivities!

Kicking this post off with an advent calendar, who doesn't love one of these! I usually get mine on the 3rd or so of December as my mum forgets to buy me one until then haha, no matter how old I get she'll keep on buying my advent calendars, woohoo! This year I've got a yummy 'Lindt' one! Also the '24th' day is a giant Santa, always good, always good.

Ahh yes, personalised Christmassy goodness. One thing that I fall for every year the one thing that I feel the need to buy e.v.e.r.y single time, ornaments with my name on. I can't be the only one who does this, surely?! (Another cool gift idea too!)

This is a cute little money-bank bauble, it is kind of random to store money inside this as it tends to weigh the branches of the tree down depending on how much money you top it up with.. Nevertheless, still pretty groovy! I brought this last year from a local garden centre, garden places always have the cutest and coolest Christmas stuff - if you are yet to discover this then this is your sign to go and explore!

I picked up this festive pack of candles from Primark on one of my most recent trips to Lakeside. I'm a huge lover for scented candles, especially ones that smell like Christmas, these are now melting away nicely in my room smelling all cinnamon-ey and deeee-lish. This pack of three was just £4, definitely worth picking up a pack or two for yourself if your into vanilla/cinnamon scents, the decorative print is super cute! 'Keep Calm and Be Merry.'

This year I also purchased a lot of Christmas scented candles from Ikea, I'd say overall that Ikea is my favourite place to buy candles as they're super cheap and do the job! Plus Ikea is great, any excuse to go back there!

What's Christmas without the films.. This picture may just capture my festive life. I tend to watch Christmas films all year round, I don't see how you can go a whole year without watching any ahh (I pretty much celebrate Christmas everyday). For heart warming adventures and uplifting your Christmas spirits, these four are ideal for the soul!


I have noted that I highly recommend these four films, I had to stop myself there - seriously I LOVE every single Christmas film there ever is and would recommend them all. Home Alone especially (I've left Home Alone out for a reason, post coming soon!) What's your favourite Christmas film :)?

This wondrous book was listed on my Christmas list last year, I was over the moon when I unwrapped it from under the tree. I read it in just under two days - I've never been so hooked up on a book before, there is so, so much I could say about this book, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't yet read it, which if you haven't, you so should, you won't regret it!

"We accept the love we think we deserve." - Mr. Anderson

Reading this book was like reading my life and thoughts, I found myself nodding along, crying along and smiling incessantly. Each day is written like a diary entry in the life of Charlie (played by Logan Lerman in the film - one of the best castings I must say! Emma Watson, Ezra Miller - ahh the list goes on). A young freshman finding his feet in the world whilst adventuring in the fields of writing and feeling alive.

I have a huge obsession with quotes, this book is like a dream in my 'quoted' mind. If you are wanting to buy a book this year as a gift or for yourself and you are perhaps unsure of what to book to go for, I personally highly, highly suggest this one, it'll make you see things differently and you'll fo suuure feel infinite.

"So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad 
and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be." - Charlie

Sparkles, sparkles, sparkles! I hope you enjoyed my latest festive nail art post, if you don't fancy painting any snowflakes, Christmas lights or even Rudolph on your nails, then here is another festive solution! 

Subtle touches of glitter on your nails is a hit during the Christmas holidays, above I have selected some of my glitzy nail varnishes, my personal favourite at the moment is the gold one which my mum brought whilst she was in America - I found a link for the exact polishes I have here. You can add it as a top coat to any colour - over the top of red looks great! What's your favourite glitter polishes?

 (Yes. I have no shame. That is a framed photo of Rupert Grint next to my bed.) 
EEEP one of the best moments is when it's time to hang up your Christmas stocking. My dad brought this one for me years ago from Homebase I think. Green is my favourite colour and you can never go wrong with multicoloured polka dots. I'm excited to see what Santa puts in it this year woohoo! (No doubt a Terry's Chocolate Orange..)

What are your Christmas essentials?
I hope you enjoyed a look into my 'can't live without' items during December! Don't forget that if you are trying out any of my nail art designs from my previous post, to tweet me them here using the hash tag #charlottelenia so I can share them here on my blog - woo woo!

Thanks for reading and have a luurvely day, it's so cold!
(13 more sleeps..)

With love, 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Nail Art Tutorial!

“It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” - Dylan Thomas
- Stepping into Christmas with Charlotte -
IT'S FINALLY DECEMBER! AHH! What better way to start the month off than with full on festive nails! Below I have created 6 completely different nail art looks for the festive season. From Snowflakes to Christmas lights, your nails will have you straight on that 'nice list' for Santa.. Woohooo!

I've been wanting to do a nail art tutorial since I first started blogging. Many moons ago I found my love for 'Nail Art', I'd change my nails daily with all kinds of patterns and gems and would always have so much fun doing it. I hopped onto the nail art scene when it was slightly more unheard of, since then it's understandably became so popular, it's been pretty cool seeing the nail art craze come to life! I will be creating more nail art tutorials in the future and also explaining and showing what I used to do in a bit more detail, keep an eye out..

Have your nail varnish's at the ready for this Christmas nail art extravaganza. 
Are you ready? Are your nails a'steady? Here we GO-HO-HO!

'SNOWFLAKES snowflakes, everywhere!'
To create this look you will need:
Nail Varnish: White, Dark Blue, Light Blue 
・Dotting tool  ・Gems
1. Apply two coats of white nail varnish to ensure the bold coverage.
2. Using a dark blue dotting pen or a dotting tool, paint on a small dot where you'd like the snowflake to be. Have no dotting tool? Then have no fear! Tooth picks and cocktail sticks are great alternatives!
3. Again either using the dotting pen or dotting tool, paint on 5 lines, it should look like an awkward looking star..
4. Then on each of the 5 lines, draw an inner line across each of the lines. Then at the end of each strand of the 'awkward star' add two dots.
5.  Dotting tool in action, apply a blob of nail varnish to a protected surface and simply use the tool to pick up the paint.
6. To add to your snowflake, take your lighter shade of blue and do the exact same again but in-between your already painted snowflake.
7. Why not finish off the snowflake by adding a small gem, you can find these in any craft store, eBay is also great for nail art gems.
I added another small snowflake just to finish off this look! 

'Rudolph the red nosed REINDEER'
To create this look you will need:
Nail Varnish: Brown, Black, Red, White
・Dotting tool  ・Glitter
1.  Begin by painting on a half circle at the tip of your nail using brown nail varnish.
2. Using a dotting pen or tool, paint on two straight lines (these are the antlers!)
3. Similar to a Reindeer's antlers, begin to branch off of the lines by painting on small lines.
4. To create the eyes, take your dotting tool, dip it in white the nail varnish and simply dot onto your nail, creating two identical circles.
5. Additionally add two black dots in the centre of the white circles. 
6. This look wouldn't be complete without giving the reindeer a red nose! Similar to how you created the brown base, simply add a smaller half circle using red nail varnish.
7. To make it extra Christmassy add a bit of sparkle to the red nose!

'Frosty the SNOWMAN!'
To create this look you will need:
Nail Varnish: White, Orange, Black, Dark Green, Light Green
・Dotting tool
1. Apply two coats of white nail varnish.
2. Using your dotting tool, take your orange nail varnish and dot on a small carrot nose, start with a small dot and drag the tool along your nail to create a sideways looking love heart!
3. Begin to add on the eyes and mouth with black paint and a dotting tool.
4. The snowman is starting to form, but whats a snowman without it's scarf! Take your darker shade of green and use the nail varnish brush to french polish the tips.
5. Taking the light green, add in small green dots to add detail to the scarf. Ta-da!

'Have a HOLLY jolly Christmas!'
To create this look you will need:
Nail Varnish: Gold Glitter, Green, Black, Clear
・Dotting tool  ・Gems/ Glitter
1. Apply two coats of glittered nail varnish. If you don't have a sparkly based nail varnish, then applying a clear coat and sprinkling on gold craft glitter also works well!
2. Taking your dotting tool or dotting pen, using a dark green begin to draw out the shape of holly, I've gone for the top of the nail, and later added in more!
3. Fill in your holly with the dotting pen or tool for more accuracy. 
4. Gems look so cute with this nail art, using a clear nail varnish apply a few dots by where you want the berries (gems) to go. 
5. Finished! Here you can see I've added in black lines to add more detail to the holly, this is totally optional and easy to do! Using the dotting tool carefully draw a thin line through the middle and additional smaller lines branching off. 

'SANTA CLAUS is comin' to town!'
To create this look you will need:
Nail Varnish: Red, White, Black, Yellow
・Dotting tool
1. Apply two coats of red nail varnish.
2. Another action shot of my dotting tool.. A great place to get your hands on these are eBay/ Amazon, those kinds of websites sell super cheap dotting tools and work great.
3. Starting to create Santa's coat, dot on about 6 dots across the bottom and fill in with white nail varnish.
4. To create Santa's belt paint on a thin black line, make sure your hand is super steady to avoid creating a swirly belt, but they look just as effective - belts bursting from all the pies I guess..
5. Using white nail varnish, paint on a square in the central of the belt, making sure you keep the centre empty as you want to see the black belt peeping through.
6. Whilst waiting for the white buckle to dry, add on small black dots creating the buttons. Once the white paint has dried, then go over the top with yellow nail varnish - or you could leave it white!

'Those CHRISTMAS LIGHTS keep shining on' 
To create this look you will need:
Nail Varnish: White, Black, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange
・Dotting tool
1. Apply two coats of white nail varnish.
2. Select an array of colours, these are going to be the colour of the lights!
3. Using your nail pen or dotting tool, start at the bottom of your nail and drag the black paint all the way to the tip, add on black dots along the swirly line.
4. The best part, using your dotting tool, take your selection of coloured nail varnish and simply apply the colour underneath the black dots which act as the lights sockets.
This one is probably my favourite, after I finished this tutorial I painted these on my nails almost instantly!

What's been your favourite nail art look from these designs?

I had soo much fun creating this post, nail art and Christmas go perfectly hand in hand!
If you create any of these looks make sure to tweet me them here using the hash tag #charlottelenia so I can see your creations and post them on my blog, I'd love to see them!
I'm also taking nail art requests - leave a comment or tweet me them for future nail art posts. I'm always happy to answer any questions :).

24 sleeps until Christmas - AHHHH!
Have a holly jolly day.

With love,