Archive of ‘winter’ category

Meet… The Briar Rose

For the next instalment of our meet… the blogger series, we caught up with Megan from The Briar Rose. Inspired by her favourite Disney character, her blog is full of fairytale whimsy which we love! Read on to find out more about the girl behind the blog… 

Ok, first up who is The Briar Rose? 
 The ‘Briar Rose’ was a title inspired by my favourite Disney character, Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. ‘Briar Rose’ has always been one of my favourite names, and when I first started blogging I thought it would be a fitting alias. Nowadays I just see it as the name of my blog, I doubt I will ever be able to call myself anything but ‘Megan’ – it just feels unnatural! 
 How long have you been blogging, and what made you want start it in the first place?
 I started my blog in late August 2011, however I only started to post regularly in January 2012. As I was starting university, I decided I needed some kind of creative outlet that combined my love of writing with my interest in fashion and photography. I’d also seen a few people discuss how beneficial blogging could be for those trying to break into the fashion industry, and it began to feel like the natural direction for me to pursue. 
 What inspires your blog posts? 
 Oh, all sorts of things! It could be a passage in one of my set texts for university, old films and story books, or just day-to-day events. Since I study creative writing I’ve got into a habit of writing down interesting dreams, little unexpected things I notice, and words I’d love to use in my own work. That can really help when it comes to putting together my blog posts. I’m also hugely inspired by my blogging friends, we’re all on the same wavelength and I love reading their posts as well as writing my own. 
 How would you describe your style? 
 It’s quite eclectic and changes with the wind. I adore sugary colours and soft fabrics, and I’m generally quite playful with the way I pair things together. It’s Florence Welch meets Marie Antoinette meets Strawberry Shortcake.
What three items can you not live without? 
 My camera, I’m the kind of person who photographs everything. It’s become a running joke in my family. I get through copious amounts of lip balm – I generally carry at least two pots! Finally I’d say hair dye, if I were stuck with my natural hair colour I would be extremely frustrated! 
 What do you get up to when you’re not blogging? 
 I love cooking and baking and I’m forever dreaming up new recipes – my latest discovery was apple and blackberry cupcakes! My first love is writing so I spend a lot of my time reading and working on numerous novel manuscripts. Earlier this year I started modelling, so I’ve started doing photo shoots fairly regularly which is always fun, especially when I’m working with photographers and brands I’ve developed a personal relationship with through my blog. Naturally university is quite demanding, however since a large chunk of that is creative writing it isn’t too strenuous! 
 Tell us something no one else knows about you… 
 When I’m ill or feeling down I watch cheesy children’s films like Thumbelina and The Swan Princess on Youtube to take my mind off things. 
And lastly, what’s your favourite thing about Winter? 
 Christmas, it’s my absolute favourite time of the year. In particular I love the food and spending endless hours in a cosy kitchen baking mince pies, spiced biscuits, Cointreau cupcakes and caramel sweet potato tart! Indulgent winter food is my downfall.

Winter Warmer

Siberian weather eh? It wouldn’t be so bad if it was still Christmas… staying snuggled indoors with as many mince pies as we could cope with, watching slushy films, and knocking back mulled wine… But in February? When it’s already the shortest, darkest, gloomiest month? It’s just cruel. 
 So if you’re in need of some spirit-lifting, cockle-warming, rage-stopping chocolate, why not have some with a kick?  
Cellardoor’s Chilli Hot Chocolate

 Serves 2  Milk (enough for 2… depending on the size of your mug!) 
1 fresh red chilli 50g of dark chocolate (the darker the better!!) 
1 tsp honey   
 • Make 2 small incisions into the chilli and place in to a saucepan of milk, warming slowly on a warm heat.
 • Melt the chocolate in a Bain Marie (or microwave) then add the chocolate and the honey to the milk. 
• Heat for another 5 minutes, until the milk thickens and the chilli has had an impact.
 •Remove chilli and drink from your favourite mug.   
Sofa: essential. Slanket: optional.   

Easy Cheesy Risotto

Winter has officially arrived. We know this not from the morning’s frost bitten pavements, or even from that festive anticipation hanging in the air. No, we can tell from the sudden and insatiable cravings we have for all things warm and hearty. Salads are practically laughable, sandwiches cold and limp and even chocolate bars are no longer satisfying. The staples now? Piping hot peppermint drinks and steaming bowls of hearty stew. Yes, winter turns even the hardiest of us into heat-craving grandmas, and frankly we quite like it. The cold? Not so much. The promise of wholesome, hot food on a chilly evening? Sheer, wintery bliss. We can think of nothing better right now than curling up on the sofa with a bowl of something creamy, luscious and light and this cheesy risotto fits the bill perfectly.

Now, risotto has built up quite the reputation. Wonderfully tasty, yes but ridiculously complex with its regimented stirring and oh-so-special Arborio rice. It’s probably the kind of thing you’d order in a restaurant but shy away from in the kitchen. Fear not. This stripped down version is far from terrifying and proves that risotto can be a deliciously easy one pot wonder, with no need for fancy ingredients or meticulous stirring. Just 15 minutes of prep time and a little TLC gives you a rich pot of risotto with all the characteristics of a perfect winter supper.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

200g long grain rice [i.e. the normal stuff]
3 rashers bacon
1 onion
1 pint vegetable stock
100g sliced mushrooms
100g frozen peas
50g grated cheese
1 tbsp Oil


Peel and chop the onion, remove the fat from the bacon and slice into small pieces. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and bacon gently for a few minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Then, add the rice and stir well to coat it evenly with the fried bacon and onion. Season with salt and pepper and pour in the vegetable stock. Stir until it begins to boil then turn the gas right down so that it is just bubbling. Place a lid on the saucepan and leave to simmer away for about 15 minutes.

By now, the stock should have been fully absorbed and you may want to turn the heat off to save the mixture from drying out. Stir in the frozen peas and once well mixed heat a little oil in a separate frying pan. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.

Stir the mushrooms and grated cheese into the risotto and re-heat for about 5 minutes until steaming hot. Serve straight away with a good hunk of crusty bread, a sprinkling of extra cheese and a side of trashy TV in front of a roaring fire. Perfect.

By Danni Slater

Button Up

Now that the cold snap is in full swing we’ve all got our eye on this gorgeous Amber wax jacket from Henri Lloyd. Staying true to their roots the jacket is 100% Made In England, from the design, pattern, fabric and manufacturing. With details giving a nod to their sailing heritage, we can guarantee that this will keep you warm, comfortable and protected from the elements. If Alexa can pull off that preppy heritage chic, so can we. We can just see ourselves wearing it on a nice country walk with a handsome rugged man…well we can dream.

Winter Warmers

Brrr… the weather has turned so much colder in the last week or so and now our minds have turned to wrapping ourselves up in warm chunky knits and wooly scarves to keep out the cold.
Here are a few of our favourite knits…

Asos, £54.90

Topshop, £48.00

Zara, £29.99
Dorothy Perkins, £28.00

Asos, £29.00

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