Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Gorgeous Bonfire Toffee

With bonfire night just around the corner, we thought we'd share this gorgeous recipe for Bonfire Toffee with you! It's such a treat to enjoy on Bonfire Night, so why not make a batch, wrap in some pretty paper and share it with your gorgeous girls whilst watching the fireworks.

Ingredients:

450g dark brown sugar
125ml hot water
115g black treacle
115g golden syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Method:

1. Line the base and sides of an A4 sized tin with non-stick parchment and then grease with a little oil really well.

2. Put 450g of dark brown sugar and 125ml hot water in a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved.  Do not stir the mixture at any point.

3. Grease a bowl well, and add 115g of black treacle, 115g of golden syrup and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar.

4. Once the sugar has dissolved in the pan, add the treacle mixture, bring to the boil and then boil gently for about 20-30 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 270F/140C if you'd prefer to use a sugar thermometer.

5. Be patient and do not leave the pan unattended, as the mixture can change very quickly! As soon as it reaches the right temperature, tip the mixture into your tin and leave it to cool.

6. Once the mixture is cooled completely, remove it from the tin and break it up with a rolling pin.  It doesn't matter if the pieces aren't the same size, this adds to the rustic feel!

7. Store in an airtight tin until ready to eat.  Best eaten wrapped up warm in a Falling Star Dress whilst holding a sparkler!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Top Tips for New Mums


We all know there is no such thing as a 'baby manual', but tips and advice from mums in the know always help.  Currently on maternity leave from her role as the ilovegorgeous Wholesale Manager, we asked our gorgeous girl Kate to write about her new found experiences as mummy to beautiful Edie.


I have been asked to write a blog about being a new mum and my top tips.  

Well, I don't profess to be the font of all knowledge on this subject and probably like most new mums, I just muddle through from day to day and hope for the best.  My darling daughter, Edith, has survived up until now (five months) so I can't be doing too badly! 

Here is what I have learnt so far and if you can glean some tips then that's great!

1. Trust your own instincts

People are always so full of advice when you start a family, it can get quite overwhelming. The absolute best piece of advice that I have been given is accept all advice graciously but at the end of the day, trust your instincts.  

I am a strong believer that if you stay calm and have some confidence in what you are doing, your baby will pick up on those vibes and this is the key to a happy life. (Sort of!)

2. Learn to adjust to a different pace 

It has been quite a transition from working '9 to 5' to being a mum.  Yes, the hours are longer and you don't really ever have time off.  But, everything moves much more slowly. 
There is no popping here or nipping there - trips out need a certain amount of planning. 

Plan to leave half an hour earlier than you would have previously and you may just arrive at your destination on time.

3. Things to do with your newborn

Filling the days can sometimes be quite a task. Being someone who hasn't spent a lot of time around babies and children (I've tended to avoid it until now), I was a bit stuck as to what to do with a baby.  

Never did I think I would end up at a baby and toddler group, but you will now find me on a Monday morning, '…rowing my boat merrily down the stream' with the rest of North Yorkshire’s new mums! Joining groups really is a great way of meeting new people and babies love to see other babies.


We also started a swimming class, which has been fantastic. Nobody is looking at your stretch marks or post pregnancy tummy; they are more interested in the cute baby bobbing in front of you, so don your swimsuit and make a splash! 

I can thoroughly recommend Waterbabies; they have classes all over the country.

My baby loves to look at books. Her favourites include all time classics The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet Ahlberg. Although, she's just as happy catching up on the latest fashion! 
We do try to include a walk everyday, as Edie loves looking at the trees and hearing the birds sing. 

Remember to talk to your baby. There is nothing I love better than talking (or singing - out of earshot of anyone else!) to Edie and hearing her coo back at me. I may have over done this though as she has turned into quite a chatterbox - particularly at 3 o'clock in the morning! 

4. Invaluable products

 Burt's Bees Diaper Ointment is a really lovely product.  It has a lovely fragrance and is made with all natural ingredients.  It keeps my baby's bottom rash free and smelling sweet (most of the time) and is a really nice product.  In fact, the whole Burt's Bees baby range is really lovely and most importantly tears free. I'd buy this for any new mum.

Tippitoes do a fantastic baby bath that has a built in seat.  This is a great help, as it means your baby is supported and you have use of both hands at bathtime.


Baby sleeping bags are brilliant for popping your baby in at night.  They're great for ensuring your baby stays warm and comfortable; lots of companies do these now.

Finally, Edie’s favourite play thing has been Sophie the Giraffe, which is perfect for chewing, squeaking and bashing.

5. Baby clothes and what to buy

When buying baby clothes, don't go over board before the baby is born. You will be given lots of gifts when the baby arrives, even from people you don't know. Watch out for the hand knits that will come in their droves. 

Remember that babies grow at a phenomenal rate and go through clothes like there is no tomorrow.  Don't buy too much in the same size - it's upsetting to see clothes unworn because they are too small.

Remember the age/size on the label doesn't always relate in any way to your baby's actual age. Don't be upset by this all babies are different (I can say this being the mother of a particularly large baby!) and Edie can be 0-3m in one brand or 12-18 in the next. There is no rhyme or reason.

I found that babygrows for the first few months were my go to item, however try and avoid the ones that fasten down one leg, it’s much easier if they fasten down the middle.

Buy clothes in similar colours; it makes washing so much easier! It also simplifies dressing if everything is one colour palette. I haven't myself adhered to this advice but it would be nice!

Fine cardigans and jumpers are perfect for layering so you can adjust the temperature of your baby easily, and it also allows her to move around more freely and explore her new world. Edie hates to be too hot or restricted by bulky clothes. 

6. And finally...

Most importantly, remember to enjoy your baby and let them know you love them everyday.  Make the most of this time, as they really aren't small for long!

This a little of what I have learnt, so I hope there's something of use.  I’m now off to purée a carrot - wish me luck!

This autumn/winter ilovegorgeous has a beautiful collection of baby wear, in pretty shades of pink, blue, mauve and grey with tiny hints of gold.  

From delicious knitwear, fresh cotton print dresses and fabulous party pieces, we have also created a beautiful range of gift sets, to be given, worn, adored and kept.  

Perfect for new mums and gorgeous baby girls, you can view the collection here.



Monday, 22 October 2012

The ilovegorgeous Makery!


At ilovegorgeous, we love all things creative, and half term is the perfect time to take part in homemade projects with your gorgeous girls! Sisters Guild is a fabulous online boutique, whose emphasis is on beauty and creativity.  The site is full of great ideas, products, prints, recipes and more, and we asked Carla to send us a fab Monday Makery idea that you can try at home this half term! 

Under the Stars: Homemade Mobile

With daughters of my own it's wonderful to be enraptured by all that glitters, all that's magic, all that sparkles and all that's gorgeous! When ilovegorgeous asked us to guest post a Monday Makery we jumped at the chance to share some craft love.

I asked my daughters what we should make, and inspired by the ilovegorgeous 2012 A/W collection where we see stars, sequins and glittered dresses, there was only one thing that sprang to mind..... stars!

We gaze up at them in the night sky, we sing about them, we wonder what they are, in all their shining twinkling glory as though magic, but most of all we wish upon them, and sometimes we dream of catching them, holding stars of our own.

So, with this in mind, we set out to bring the night sky and all its wonder into our bedrooms, where stars can twinkle above our heads day and night and our wishes and dreams could be cast upon them as we sleep.

Here's our step by step guide to make your very own twinkling star mobile:

You will need:
  • coloured card
  • a pencil
  • star shaped cookie cutters
  • glue (fabric glue is best)
  • some small clips
  • scissors
  • thread
  • hand needle (typically used for wool or embroidery thread)
  • embroidery hoop
  • ribbon
Here's how you make them:

1.     Take your embroidery ring and a long piece of ribbon. Open up the embroidery ring a little and place one end of the ribbon in-between the two rings and then tighten the embroidery ring closed so the ribbon is securely fixed.

2.     Wrap the ribbon round and round the embroidery ring until you end up back at the beginning, Secure with a little glue, fabric glue works best, and then place a clip on the ends whilst the glue sets to work.

3.     Now take your embroidery ring and some thread. (Coloured thread is easier to work with as it’s easier to see, though if you truly want the stars to look as though they're suspended I would recommend using white thread.) Tie one end of the thread to the edge of the embroidery ring, then pulling it tight across to the other side, tie the other end to opposite edge, creating a line across the middle of the ring.

4.     Now turn the embroidery ring around so that the first string lies horizontal in front of you. Then, following the same principle as before, tie another piece of string to the edge, about one third of the way in from the bottom left of the ring. Pulling it tight, tie the other end to the top edge of the ring crossing your horizontal line. 

5.     Repeat this process again on the right hand side to create a grid-like pattern of string across the embroidery ring. Your stars will later hang from these grids.

6.     Set the embroidery ring to one side and begin with the stars.

7.     Begin by drawing around your star shaped cookie cutters onto your card. We made our mobile using 40 stars. You can make them in different sizes and colours if you like, and vary them on each string.

8.     Cut out each of the stars. (If little hands can manage it, try folding the card in a concertina, draw around the cookie cutter on the top side and cut out several at once.

9.     To create the strings of stars, first thread the needle. Then, tie a knot at one end, thread the first star onto the thread and slide down to meet the knot. 

10.  Tie another knot a couple of inches above your first star, then thread another star, again sliding it down to meet the second the knot. Keep doing this until you have a string of 4 or 5 stars.

11.  Repeat the process with another piece of string.

12.  Once you've made 8 strings of stars, put to one side, and you're ready to finish!

13.  Tie one strand of your stars to where the strings cross on your embroidery ring.

14.  Take another strand and tie it with a knot to the other central crossover. You now have your central strands fixed.

15.  Now, taking each strand of stars in turn, tie each one to the edge of the embroidery ring where the threads meet the edge of the ring.

16.  Finally, take four even lengths of thread. (The length will depend on how low you want your mobile to hang.) Tie one end of each thread to opposite sides of the embroidery ring. Gather them up above the ring and tie in a secure knot.



Now your mobile is ready to hang!

We’ve hung our mobiles above our beds and watch them twinkle in the soft light of our bedside lamps.  The gentle movement brings some of the magic of the night sky into our room. 

Top tip for making glittery stars

If you'd like to add some glitter to your stars try this little trick to make it easier.
Take a cereal box and cut out the back of it using a sharp knife or scissors. (Adults only please!) Tape the original opening to seal the box, then snip one of the bottom corners off.  When you want to add glitter, glue the top of your star then glue side up place into your 'glitter box' and sprinkle with glitter.You can then tip the glitter from the box back into the pot of glitter and none goes to waste!

We've got a twin makery this week so be sure to check out our other star Monday Makery! You'll soon have a room full of stars more beautiful than the night sky.....and its all yours!

Happy Making!

 We hope you’ll love this project as much as we do – try making one with your gorgeous girls this half term and as let us know how you get on, we’d love to see pictures of your pretty star mobiles! ilovegorgeous customers can also enjoy 20% off everything at the Sisters Guild boutique; simply enter the code STARS at the checkout!

Don’t forget we’ve extended our half term happiness offer - you can still get 20% off everything at ilovegorgeous until midnight on Wednesday 24th October, by using the code HHH20.



Thursday, 18 October 2012

Photography Tips for Gorgeous Girls


At ilovegorgeous we love holiday pictures, and half term week provides the ideal opportunity for your gorgeous girls to take lots of snaps of their outdoor adventures!

Helen Rose is a professional baby, child, family lifestyle and childrens’ fashion photographer.  

You can see her fantastic photographs in the online Summer '12 edition of Babiekins magazine, where she photographed some of the ilovegorgeous collection. She also offers one-on-one photography tuition to adults and children at home.

We asked Helen for her top photography tips to help your gorgeous girls take the perfect holiday pictures:


Keep your lens clean and clear
Watch out that you don’t put anything in front of the lens of the camera like your fingers or thumb or that your hair doesn’t blow in front of it in the wind.  It may be a good idea to tie up your hair or wear a hat for this reason, especially if you are pointing the camera down to the ground as you don’t want your hair falling in front of it. Also, it’s good to always remember to keep the camera steady, if you move whilst taking the photograph your picture may end up blurred

Move in closer
If you spot something nice to photograph, snap a picture and then try moving in closer too to get a better shot. Sometimes the details on things like the leaves on a tree or bark on a tree can be really interesting so don’t be scared about getting even closer and take a few more photographs to experiment and capture it.

Find your light – photographing people or animals
Look at where the sun is when you are taking your photograph, as it can sometimes be far too bright if you take a photograph pointing into the sun. It is often best when taking photographs outside on a sunny day to have the sun behind you, so that it can light up whomever you are photographing better. If it is cloudy weather you do not have to worry about this too much. Also try turning your camera on its side to create a different shaped shot.  Remember, never point your camera directly into the sun, as it can hurt your eyes.

Move your camera with a moving subject – photographing people or animals
If you are photographing something that is moving (such as a squirrel or a dog running), you don’t want it to be a blur in your photograph. A good trick is to ‘pan’ or ‘follow’ the animal with your camera so that you can see it in the middle of your picture as you are taking it. This makes sure that the animal or person will be sharp and in focus whilst the rest of the background is blurry where you have moved the camera. Don’t forget to be quick and try taking more than one photograph, as the more you take, the better chance of getting a good one.

Keep your landscapes straight
When taking a nice landscape photograph of the sea for example, try to make sure you keep your camera straight so that the ‘horizon’ or where the water and sky meet doesn’t look wonky and like it’s flowing downhill. It’s also a good idea to not have the horizon exactly in the middle of your photograph, try moving the camera slightly to either get a little more sky or a little more sea in the photograph.
(In photography, this is called the rule of thirds = two thirds of photograph is sky and one third water or one third sky and two thirds water – ask an adult to explain what this means if you don’t understand.)

Be patient
Taking photos on a digital camera is brilliant as you can keep trying out different angles and ideas to see which you like the best and you can see your pictures straight away on the camera too!
When trying things out it is also good to get other peoples opinions on your photographs as it can give you other ideas to try out.
It’s okay not to have the perfect photograph first time, so be patient with yourself and developing your skills.
Don’t be afraid of getting close up, moving further back, getting down low or up high or even waiting for another day when the weather is a bit nicer, but most of all have fun, keep snapping and enjoy doing it!

Helen Rose is offering a special 20% discount to all ilovegorgeous customers off her one-to-one tuition workshops.*

Her workshops originated in helping out busy mums, but they are now and open to all.  We think they would make the perfect present for someone, or a gorgeous treat for yourself! Simply mention ilovegorgeous upon booking.   You can find out more about Helen and contact her through her form on her website www.helenroselifestyle.com.

We would love to see your gorgeous girls' photos of their outdoor adventures over half term! 

Email them to us at offers@ilovegorgeous.co.uk with the subject line 'Photo Competition' or post them on our Facebook page and we will pick our favourite shot to be made into a gorgeous canvas print for your girl to hang on her wall!

Don't forget you can get 20% off our cosy clothing for half term until Monday 22nd October too when you quote code HHH20!**



*offer applies to Helen’s normal tuition price; £150 for an evening (2 hr) session or £200 for a morning/afternoon (3.5 hr) session.  Offer ends 31st December 2012, workshops must be redeemed by 28th February 2013.

**offer excludes bridesmaids dresses, communion shoes and accessories.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A day in the life of a Lounge Lover...


Created in 2005, gorgeous clothing company Lounge Lover create urban and luxury clothing with a subtle fashion content and an emphasis on softness.  We love their collection of wearable classics, which are perfect for lounging and relaxing in throughout the autumn half term. We asked founder and creator Sylvie Gabriel to tell us a little bit more about the collection and the things she loves…

What's a day in the life of Lounge Lover?
Hectic! No day is the same, which is what I like about it.
Design and Production are my main responsibilities. I travel regularly to Portugal where we produce, but I am also involved in the selling.
We recently launched our website, and we are working hard to offer to all Lounge Lovers our version of Lounge and Travel wear, together with a great shopping experience.

What's your favourite piece in your autumn/winter collection and why?
Wow, I have so many!

My favourite for a relaxing evening in is our Jumpsuit, it is a real cuddle piece.

My number 1 travel outfit is the Asymmetric trouser (because it is edgy and so comfortable at the same time) that I wear together with my Travel blazer -another big favourite - as it is very soft, incredibly warm and you look smart wherever you go.

And my all time favourite style is the Victoria catsuit that I wear as leggings with a skirt... I have to force myself not to wear it every day.

As we always say in our office: ‘once a Lounge Lover, always a Lounge Lover’!

What's your secret to a good work/life balance? 
We all seem to spend longer and longer hours in the office, and often (especially for working mums like me) the work continues at home with feeding, bath times, homework etc.

I think the secret for a good balance is to work hard, but to consciously inject little ‘feel good’ moments into every day! They make life fun and are a welcome break from the daily grind.

I get really good vibes from working out, so I love going to the gym over lunch time, and feel really invigorated.

I also like to relax before going to bed (in my jumpsuit!), so watching a movie or listening to my favourite playlist always makes me happy.

But even smaller things, like taking a 5 minute break and sitting outside in the sun, buying some lollipops as a little surprise for my girls, or a quick phonecall to my mum or a good friend, it all makes a difference.

A book I read recently described it in a different way, it recommended to “play at least 30 minutes a day” and for me that definitely works!

What's your favourite thing to do when you're not working
Playing, dancing, reading, laughing, running in the sun, listening to music, travelling, discovering, living the moment.

What would you have done in another life?
Probably the same thing, but with less doubts and more self confidence.

We’ve given money off for your girls to celebrate half term, but we wanted to give you something too! Lounge Lover are offering 10% off their cosy autumn/winter wear to all ilovegorgeous customers throughout half term. Simply enter ILOVEGORGEOUS at the checkout to claim your discount.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Apple Flapjacks


This is our favourite Apple Flapjack recipe – perfect for autumn days! We hope your gorgeous girls love them.  Try making them and let us know how they turn out…


Ingredients:

350g rolled oats
85g soft brown sugar
2 small eating apples, evenly chopped
3 tbsp honey
6 tbsp golden or corn syrup
100g butter

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4.
2. Butter and line a 23cm x 33cm tin.
3. Heat 6 tbsp of golden or corn syrup and 100g butter gently until the butter has melted into the syrup.
4. Mix 350g oats, 85g soft brown sugar, 2 small chopped eating apples, and 3 tbsp of honey in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed.
5. Stir in the butter and syrup mixture to the oat mixture.
6. Once evenly combined, pour the mixture into the tin and spread evenly.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven, then cut into squares and leave in the tin until completely cold. 

Ideas: 

Substitute the apples with your favourite autumn fruit, or add some chopped nuts and dried fruit for added texture.

Keep your apple flapjacks stored in a pretty tin or airtight container.  If you make a large batch, pop some in the freezer to keep. 

Our cute capped fingerless Allie Gloves are the perfect accessory for keeping fingers warm whilst enjoying an apple flapjack; why not take a small batch with you on a long autumn walk for a yummy half-way snack?