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christmas wishlist

I’ve been so well behaved this year I think I deserve a lovely leather bag, perhaps a designer jacket or some fine jewellery. Failing that a trip to New York would be amazing!

Just as I’ve been compiling lists of gift ideas for my friends and family, I thought it was only right to produce a list for myself…just in case anyone was wondering what I’d like this year.

So here’s my Santa list!

1. Orla Kiely cake stand - I need to add to my Orla Kiely collection!

2. Barbour biker jacket - I fell for this beauty on a recent visit to Excel Clothing.

3. Bobbi Brown eye shadow palette - some blogger friends think I’d love Bobbi Brown (I don’t own a single BB product!).

4. ASH circle earrings - I spotted this in the Red Ruby Rouge store.

5. Todd Lynn leather khaki handbag - I came across this stunner in Debenhams last week and I’m finding it hard to get the bag out of my head.

6. ASH triangle necklace - so pretty!

Tell me what’s on your Santa list!

Gok Wan Tortoiseshell glasses

I got a funky pair of non-designer glasses a few months back from Specsavers. I walked away delighted with my new statement specs, but I also went away thinking I’d quite like a tortoiseshell pair next time. When Specsavers themselves contacted me about getting another pair of glasses I was obviously delighted. But what tortoiseshell pair would I choose as there were so many to pick from?

Whilst looking online at the Specsavers range I originally thought I’d pick this Osiris pair but when I tried them on, whilst lovely, they just didn’t suit me. When it comes to glasses I think it’s so important to try them on and see if they suit your face shape, as well as your other physical attributes! For people like me who have strong dark eyebrows, it can be difficult to find glasses that compliment this. I know a lot of people who buy cheap frames online, but it’s just not something I’ve ever felt confident enough doing.

In the end (after trying on tons of different tortoiseshell styles!) I opted for a beautiful pair from the impressive Gok Wan range. They are a lovely classic pair of glasses that I think will stand the test of time. But I like that they have a hint of fun and edginess with the azure blue on the inside of the frames. They feel really solid and good quality too, and at £99 I think they are so well priced.

This time round I also opted to get the PENTAX Extra Thin lenses so my lenses would be super thinned down and streamlined. As I’ve said before my eyesight is very poor and without a lens thinning they would look a bit like milk bottles!

Gok Wan specs
Gok Wan glasses

marble cake recipe

I’m finally back to baking! Now that I have my new kitchen in place (read my kitchen overhaul story if you’re interested!)  it really is a pleasure to be baking again. I’m easing myself in gently and decided to bake a super simple marble cake. But sometimes the simplest cakes are the nicest, don’t you think? It’s not an all-singing all-dancing cake, but a modest cake that tastes lovely with a cuppa. And most of you won’t need to go out to the shops to buy the ingredients, you’ll most likely have them in your cupboards already.

Marble cake ingredients

Ingredients you need:

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

What else?

  • Round cake tin, or silicon mould (I used this Ikea mould to get a lovely curvy base to the cake)
  • Electric mixer/food processor
  • Two medium sized bowls
  • Skewer

Marble Cake Willow Lane

The Method:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C. Grease your cake tin with a little butter (no need to grease a silicon mould if you’re using one).
  • Tip all the ingredients (but not the cocoa!) into your electric mixer bowl and whizz for a minute or two.
  • Split the cake mix into two bowls and then add the cocoa to one of the bowls and stir this in well.
  • Alternate the different coloured cake mixes into your cake tin/mould and then use a skewer to swirl the different mixes together and give a pretty marbled effect.
  • Tap your tin/mould before you put it in the oven to get rid of any air bubbles.
  • Bake your cake for 45-55 minutes (you’ll know it’s ready when you place a skewer through the cake and it comes out clean).
  • Leave the cake to cool before slicing. Enjoy!

simple marble cake

My beautiful wooden cake stand was a ‘kitchen warming’ gift from Rogues and Brogues – whose dad makes them!

marble cake recipe

the northface women's black jacket

I’ve worn this coat a lot over the last month, as the temperatures have dropped and it’s got more wintry in Northern Ireland. Whilst I have a big collection of coats I’ve never really had a sensible outdoor coat. The Northface Castagnola Jacket was kindly sent to me by Cotswold Outdoor and it has been a revelation. For one I don’t have to worry about carrying an umbrella in my handbag. Most of my winter coats don’t have a hood so I always make sure I have an umbrella on hand in case of a downpour. But this North Face is fully waterproof and the snug hood protects me from the wind and rain perfectly. The water just seems to glide off the coat and (for once) I actually don’t mind being outside in the pouring rain as I feel none of it!

Unsurprisingly the coat is also toasty warm due to the amazing insulation. You’ll get no drafts thanks to the inner storm cuffs. It’s little differences like this that I’ve been missing in my winter coats to date. The Castagnola Jacket truly is designed for protecting you from the elements, but not at the expense of style. Whilst this coat is super practical I feel sleek and stylish in it too thanks to the all-black colour combined with the lush faux fur trimmed hood.

These pictures were taken at the weekend when Phill and I were in Holywood (a town just outside Belfast) for the day. It was such a dismal rainy day but we made the most of things. We had a nosey around some charity shops (I got my hands on Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima cookbook) and fab boutiques (Red Ruby Rouge is a must-visit), as well as the Yard Gallery, before heading to The Bay Tree for coffee and grub. My friend told me I HAD to try the award winning cinnamon scone so of course I did what I was told and I’m glad to report it was in fact scrumptious. The coffee was mighty fine too.

northface black ladies knee length jacket

holywood

The North Face stylish jacket

the north face ladies coat

rainy day

The Bay Tree Holywood