Thursday, 31 July 2014

Strawberry Summer Margaritas

After weeks of watching the sunshine and blue skies from the (dis)comfort of my stuffy office, I was finally able to enjoy the weather last weekend, when my housemates and I had a BBQ.

We stocked up on fresh goodies, spread duvets and rugs out in the garden, plugged all the necessary equipment in (iPhone chargers and speakers for instagramming and good music!) and rustled up a storm in our little kitchen.

While S barbecued the burgers and sausages, I put together some vegetable skewers and corn on the cob, while E created two of the most delicious homemade salads I'd ever tasted: one with courgette, mint and feta, and the other with tomatoes, red onion marinade and (more) feta (you can never have too much feta, especially if one of your housemates is part Greek!). It all came together beautifully.

Succulent sausages, cheese burgers (of course!), colourful salads, buttery corn, grilled halloumi with a drizzle of lemon, (divine) sweet potato wedges ( from my simple go-to recipe) and all the sides and condiments you could ever need.

It was the barbecue of all barbecues. We even had a paddling pool to dip our toes into when the sun got a little much, and the fruit ciders were flowing freely.

Once the food had been cleared, and our stomachs satisfied, it was time for the icing on the cake - or, rather, the sugar on the rim of the glass.

E disappeared into our little kitchen and emerged with three fabulous margarita glasses, filled to the brim with a fresh, cool strawberry concoction. It was exactly what we needed on a hot July day.

Needless to say they disappeared within minutes - I'd never had a margarita before then, but I can safely say I will be ordering one on my next cocktail night!

I asked E for her secrets, and she sent me the link to the recipe she used:. So here it is!

I couldn't resist sharing the link with you all (it's not my recipe, so I won't post it in full on here) as I fully believe that I should let everyone know when I find something great - and my blog is the perfect place to do this!

I really hope you enjoy drinking them as much as I did.

Don't forget to sprinkle a little sugar onto the rim of the glass for the classic finishing touch!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Ways to Win my Heart

I like to think I'm a girl who enjoys the simple things in life. I've never been one for glamour, or grand gestures; diamonds may be a girl's best friend, and I'd never say no to a sparkle or two, but more often than not I adore small token and pure moments. I'm not just talking about romance and love here - but friendship and happiness in every way.

It's important to remember what makes you happy - what makes your heart sing, and your eyes shine and your mouth stretch wide. Life is hard, and doesn't always go as planned. Things can be confusing, and the technicalities can get in the way of realising that life isn't about a salary, or keeping the house tidy, or getting rid of the cellulite that dimples your thighs.

My heart can be won by a fresh bunch of flowers; from beautiful perfect roses, to small sprigs of blooms grown in the garden, purple and pink against fresh green leaves. The manufactured floral displays that last for weeks and weeks, and the simple bunches that begin to sadly droop within days. Pungent, scent-less, exotic or homely. Nothing brightens up a room, or makes a house feel more like home.

My heart swells with beautiful music. Film music, in particular. Sit me in a calm room, or lie me on a soft bed, with the sun just going down, and play me Ludovico Einaudi, John Williams or Thomas Newman , and I will laugh, smile, cry or feel my heart breaking or mending all at once. Instrumental, classical scores say the things that humans cannot put into words. They are audio-emotions, and nothing makes me feel alive more than that.

My heart and soul are soothed by long hot bubble baths. It's a cliche, really, but the bubbles and sweet scents and glowing candles allow me to rest, to breathe, and take time out. Hand me a bath product and draw me a bath to soak in and my skin and I will be ever grateful. 

My heart depends upon my senses; scent plays a huge part of my life, conjuring memories so sweet and soothing. The smell of the English seaside, with it's salt, seaweed, soaked wood and sand will remind me of many family holidays in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset; crabbing on the quay, eating rich honeycomb ice cream and finding grains of sand in my shoes long after leaving the beach. The smell of a cold frosty morning will remind me of autumn as a child; of acorns, conkers and chestnuts; of crisp walks in the woods at home, of bonfires and damp socks and cosy evenings. The smells of aftershave, ale-laced pubs, cloves and oranges, Pear's Soap and more - these release countless memories.

My heart enjoys moments of peace and normality; sharing a moment with a loved one should never be overlooked. Enjoying a moment or reading together, or listening to music, or lying on the grass with nothing but birds and passing families to disturb the peace. Finding stillness in a moment without pushing it; no sparkle or razzle-dazzle. Just you, and me, and a moment shared, enjoying an hour or two together with nothing forced. Nothing expected. Just us.

It goes without saying that my heart will be yours if you join me for brunch. Of course.

My heart will beat for a good cup of tea, an evening walk or a sweet coffee over catching up. It beats for stories, revealing facts and life's big questions answered in that sweet moment after the light goes out but before sleep consumes you. It will never tire of tender touches; of a hair being swept from my forehead, of fingertips brushing my face as I fall asleep, of a hug or a reassuring palm on my back to guide me forward or comfort me.

My heart, however, will always be true to you, friend, lover or family, if you are honest, true and mindful. And always, always yourself.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Summer Nails: Essie Ballet Slippers

When I asked Twitter what my first ever Essie purchase should be, it was suggested by a friend that I should go for the elegant and classic Ballet Slippers. I was delighted to see that a shade I had been 'uhm-ing' and 'ah-ing' over for a while was recommended, and so instantly went ahead and ordered it.

I have no regrets.

I think I first heard about the shade from the lovely Hannah Maggs' videos. Hannah has excellent taste in beauty products and always looks gorgeous, so if that isn't a great advertisement I don't know what is! I even recently read that it's the Queen's favourite nail shade, and you just can't argue with Her Royal Highness. 

With so many bright and brilliant colours out there at the moment, and with more and more quirky nail designs and trends emerging, the simple nude nail can often get lost amongst it all. However, for me nothing beats a light pink.

I was so excited to receive the little pink bottle through the post and even more delighted when it was on my nails and looking beautiful. Essie is a brand which I had high hopes for and is one of the more expensive nail products I now own (I usually spend about £3 / £4 on varnish, whereas Essie's colours are normally around £7 - £10.). They have a great reputation though, and I was praying that I wouldn't be let down. I had heard all sorts of rumours about fake bottles being sold, and I'd bought fairly high-end polishes before which had chipped within moments. I was, therefore, praying that Essie wouldn't disappoint.

Ballet Slippers is a beautiful, pale pink which reminds me of tiny seashells and creamy strawberry milkshakes. It's delicate, feminine and classic - a shade I can imagine would go with any outfit for any occasion, and is definitely not just for summer.

The bottle is the standard Essie design which I think is incredibly cute and looks great on my table top too - always a must. In general, then, the whole product itself is adorable and sophisticated and I couldn't be more pleased.

As for application, I was a little concerned, I'll admit. I used a base coat (as you always should!) and after the first coat I noticed that it was a little streaky - as is the risk with light, pale colours. I waited to see how it would look after a few more layers and was relieved when it improved dramatically at three coats, which I think is pretty normal. 

I did put a fourth coat on for good measure and the final result was stunning. I had no streaks, an even coverage and a beautiful shine (especially after a top coat). It wasn't thick, which meant it didn't smudge easily while it was drying and it didn't have that awful build up of a thick layer that happens when you layer up a thick, gloopy polish making you feel as though you're wearing tacky, cheap fake nails.

Ballet Slippers lasted for five days before it started to chip a little, which I thought was brilliant, and the chipping wasn't even very noticeable because of the light colour. I had so many compliments from colleagues and friends too, which is always the sign of a keeper.

I adore this polish; it's classic, easy to apply and of a very high quality. I'm planning to wear this to an upcoming wedding in two weeks, and it'll no doubt remain a favourite for the rest of the summer  and beyond (it did feature in my June Favourites after all!)

I'm already deciding which Essie shade will be my next - what's your favourite? Do you love Essie too?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

June Favourites

June was the month in which I had a few more quiet weekends to myself - instead of rushing about in a flurry as I usually am,  I was able to enjoy a few days in the sun, a couple of afternoon walks, and even a long weekend back at home with the family. However, June also saw the biggest drop in the number of blog posts  on She Wears Burgundy since I began writing on here...possibly because, I admit, I've been struggling with inspiration and motivation. I apologise for that, though I doubt it's particularly bothered anyone - after all, it's all about quality, not quantity, and I hope that the posts I have written were enjoyed by everyone who read them!

I still have a few favourites though - after a couple of shopping trips, I picked up a few little treats which have now become embedded in my daily routine. I always love sharing these with you all each month and June is no different! 

I always enjoy hearing about what you've been enjoying in June too, so let me know in the comments at the end of this post! I'd especially like to hear from you if you've ever used these products - I want to know if there are more fans out there.

Teapigs English Breakfast

I fell in love with Teapigs after a wonderful Sunday Brunch with my dear friend C at Jacobs & Field in Oxford back in March...and just had to get my own box. These tea temples are saved for the very best moments; for brunches and lunches with loved ones, rare visits from the family, and afternoons when I need a little TLC (Tea & Loving Care).  In fact, I am drinking a mug as I type, and it's certainly soothing my soul. The loose tea leaves in these tiny pyramids taste so much better than your regular cuppa, and are the next best thing to loose leaf tea if, like me, you haven't got round to buying yourself an infuser. I'll be looking at adding to my Teapigs collection very soon - perhaps with chai, peppermint or chamomile infusions! A definite must-have for anyone who loves their tea.

Barry M Gelly Polish in Sugar Apple and Essie Polish in Ballet Slippers

Pastel polishes are everywhere this summer and I left it long enough before I finally had my own. I ordered these two from Amazon and they will be my summer nail staples this year. When I first applied Barry M's Sugar Apple, it chipped the next day and I was really disappointed - but after a couple more tries I've managed to master the art. It's a little more blue than mint green in my eyes, but it's still gorgeous. Essie's Ballet Slippers is a beautiful pale pink which is so classic and is very durable too. It's perfect for simple summer weddings, and I'll be wearing it to one this month! I plan to write a full review of these two very soon, so I'll keep this short and sweet for now. But I just adore these - they make a nice change to my usual dark reds and neutrals.

Sleek Face Form Contouring & Blush Palette in Light

I've wanted to learn about contouring for years - cheekbones, in my books, are beautiful, and I'd love to sport the more chiseled look. However, with such pale skin and being rather cosmetically challenged, I didn't know if I could do it. After years of wanting to buy this contouring product, debating whether or not it was worth it, I finally went ahead and took the plunge. I'm still practicing, and have yet to feel confident, but I already love this product. It's very pigmented, but suits my light skin tone. I wasn't sure about the golden shimmer of the blush at first but it's perfect for warm summer days and evenings. It's going to take a few tries, but I think my quest for cheekbones and a sleek jawline is nearly over. I may review this product fully too, once I get the hang of it!

Lush Sympathy for the Skin

Oh look...another Lush product has made it's way into my monthly favourites! I just cannot get enough of this brand. I received this small sample of Lush's Sympathy for the Skin while I was shopping for another batch of Rub Rub Rub and I am now seriously considering purchasing a full-size pot. This little tub of goodness nourishes my skin and got me through some pretty nasty sunburn last weekend (so careless of me!). It contains bananas, cocoa butter, and vanilla and quite honestly smells of cookie dough when rubbed into my skin! The lovely Hannah at the Lush store in Tunbridge Wells (she's wonderful, I definitely recommend her if you pop into that branch!) did say she thought it smelt of cake but my boyfriend and I agreed it's more like cookie dough for us - but really, who can complain when you're comparing your skin to baked goods?! My skin felt amazing after using this (and the burn has tanned down nicely) so I can safely say this is a true favourite this month! I think my local Lush store will be seeing me again very soon.

What have you been enjoying over the last month? Have you ever used any of the products above?

Friday, 4 July 2014

Burgundy Blogroll: June

It seems only moments ago that I was waxing lyrical about some of my favourite bloggers and their work in May, and yet here I am again, trawling through my Bloglovin' feed and singling out those which captured my imagination and my heart in June.

As always, I'd love to share with you some of the most inspiring, beautiful, delicious, funny, informative posts I've stumbled across over the last month. Some of these are from firm favourites, and some are from new discoveries, but they all deserve a mention. Each title is linked so you can easily have a read too - I'd love to know if you enjoyed them as much as I did, so do let me know!

If you're curious about what I've enjoyed reading previously, you can find my past blogrolls here:

Blogger Milly has been sharing snippets of her upcoming wedding with us all over her Instagram, Twitter and (of course) her blog, which I have loved. It looks like it'll be a beautiful day - and these photos are just to die for. I couldn't resist taking a look one evening after she posted a link on her Twitter and I just have to say, they really do bring out the romantic in me. Each photograph captures a couple so full of love. If you want to be filled with warmth and happiness then find a moment to take a peek yourself (and subsequently start planning your own very cute wedding too!). Thank you Milly for sharing this special moment with us all. I wish you and your fiance all the best for your big day and your future together.

Laura Jane's blog, Superlatively Rude, has only been in my life for a couple of months but already her writing has thoroughly inspired me. Her work is incredibly candid, honest and liberating, and the fact that she writes down her most raw and personal thoughts and contemplations makes me think even deeper about my own life. Every time I receive her latest post in my inbox I immediately drop what I am doing to read it. This post, written right at the end of June, is incredibly poignant and moving. She has a beautiful way of writing; the way she captures life in words reminds me of the way a lens can capture the sun's flare at the end of the day; a beautiful, emotional moment when you really do feel alive and realise what living is all about; you feel calmness and turmoil all at the same time. The subject of this post; a letter to herself sent from the past, is a snapshot of her personal life. We get to see her past self's hopes and dreams and wishes and her reaction to this. I won't spoil it any more, and urge you to read on. I now hope to write myself a letter such as this one; it seems good for the soul. A definite must read - and, while you're there, be sure to catch up on her other work and follow her blog too.

Lily's posts always attract me; pristine, pretty, well-written and engaging. So when she posted her blogging tips I just had to take note. I myself am struggling with blogging at the moment and advice like this can really help - especially when it comes to organisation, which is something I adore!  When an established blogger imparts wisdom I always pay attention and I will definitely be taking this all on board. A great post to read if you're feeling a little unorganised or lost with your writing.

A Little Opulent: Being a 20-something in 2014 (By Rebecca Warriner)

I really enjoyed reading this post on A Little Opulent. It's honest, frank and a very different subject to most posts I stumble across. No pretty Benefit samples in this one! Since I am a twenty-something myself, I related to so many of the points made. I do believe that my generation are going through a real change, and coping with a lot of new pressures and ideals. If nothing else, this post will make you think a little harder about your place in society, and could even spark your own piece, or a conversation between friends. 

Cider with Rosie: {Video} Spinach & Feta Pasties

How could I not include this recipe post in this month's blogroll? You probably already know that Rosie's blog is a firm favourite of mine, and I always pore over her delicious looking recipes. This is no exception and I am planning to make these delights for a picnic with my parents in a few weeks. I love that it's in video format, and it makes it loo so easy and simple. Rosie has a great way of presenting recipes in all forms, be it text or film. Something to add to your own recipe folder for the future!

A Thrifty Mrs: 5 Reasons Why Money Saving Doesn't Work For You

I stumbled across this post from A Thrifty Mrs when I was browsing the posts on Bloglovin' and I am glad I did. As someone who is constantly budgeting - with a colour-coded spreadhseet, no less! - this post really engaged with me. How often do you buy items because they're on offer, regardless of whether they're on your list? I know I certainly reward myself with a little treat if I've resisted shopping too! A very practical post which will alter your outlook on budgeting and could save you a few pretty pennies too. What's not to love?

Let me know if you enjoy any of these posts too - what have been your favourite pieces from the month of June? Let me know in the comments below.