The high street isn’t somewhere I shop for dresses very often, mainly because I usually wear either vintage or reproduction vintage clothes and buy online. One shop on the high street that I’ve noticed is really good for finding vintage style dresses, is House of Fraser. They stock a really wide selection of brands and many of them have pretty prom and fit and flare style dresses, perfect if you’re looking for something fifties style. When I was offered a dress to review from house of Fraser, there were so any things I liked, it was really hard to choose. In the end I chose the Tea and Macaroon dress by Yumi, because it is just too pretty to resist.

House of Fraser Yumi Macaron Dress ReviewThe dress is adorned by pretty pictures of vintage tea cups and macaroons, all things I love! I felt like a princess as soon as I put the dress on, it is just so lovely. It is designed to be worn strapless, but also comes with some thin straps which I preferred. The dress has a satin lining and two layers of net to give it a slightly fuller look. For extra volume you could also wear it with a petticoat.

House of Fraser Yumi Dress ReviewThe quality is absolutely lovely, the dress has boning and cup support, which really help with the fit and the dress didn’t slip at all. The fabric is lovely and light and hangs perfectly over the net underskirt. I went for a size 14 and found that the dress came up true to size. It sits just below the knee, which is my favourite length.

House of Fraser Yumi Tea and Macarons DressI wore the dress with an original 50s necklace, a 50s box bag and a pair of Hotter shoes. I’m also planning to wear it with some flat shoes and a cardigan for a more casual look. The Dress is just too lovely to save for special occasions. I intend to wear it a lot.

Yum Tea and Macarons DressHaving tried this dress and been really impressed, I’m definitely going to get more dresses from House of Fraser in the future. I love the choice of style and huge range of brands. If you like vintage style clothing, but prefer to buy new, this is a great place to look.

Check out the full range of dresses on the House of Fraser website.

*This dress was kindly sent to me to review. All options are my own. 

Last year one of the things I enjoyed spending my time doing the most, was baking. Having collected loads of vintage recipe books, I re-created so many fantastic vintage recipes. This year I’ve hardly baked at all, I went on a diet back in February and have been really watching what I eat, which doesn’t work well with a baking habit! I have however really missed sharing my recipes on the blog and I would really like to start again. I also remembered that there were a few things I’d made and never shared on the blog, including todays recipe. I made these delicious chocolate biscuits at the end of last year and never got round to posting the recipe on here.

Chocolate Biscuits from a 50s Recipe Made with Cookie PressThese chocolate biscuits are based on a recipe from a 1954 Bee Nilson Cookery Book. I picked up The Penguin Book of Cookery at a second-hand book shop last summer and it is packed with lots of fantastic recipes, many of which I haven’t tried yet. This recipe is made using what the book describes as a biscuit forcer, but we usually call it a cookie press now. These handy tools push the biscuit dough into different shapes, I wrote about the cookie press I use last year.

Cookie Press Vintage Chocolate Biscuit RecipeIngredients:

For the biscuits:

115g Butter

115g Castor Sugar

1 Egg

230g Plain Flour

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 tbsp Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

For the filling:

230g Icing Sugar

85g Butter

Milk

Cookie Press Filled Chocolate BiscuitsHow to make:

  1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together for a few minutes until smooth and creamy. The mixture should be light in colour and the sugar should no longer feel gritty.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl to remove any lumps.
  4. Beat the egg until it is thick and light.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients and the egg to the creamed butter and sugar alternately, until the mixture has a soft consistency.
  6. Put the mixture into your cookie press and force out all the mixture until you have a tray full of biscuits.
  7. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes until crisp. Do not over bake them or they will burn. Even if they are still a little soft when they come out, they usually harden as they cool.
  8. Place the biscuits on a wire rack to cool.
  9. Soften the butter and beat in the icing sugar, add a little milk if needed to soften the consistency. For this filling you will need a relatively thick consistency butter cream.
  10. Pipe onto half the biscuits and use the other half to make sandwiches between the biscuits.
  11. I put mine in the fridge for half an hour to harden the icing.
  12. Enjoy your biscuits with a nice cup of tea.

The Penguin Cookery Book 1950sThese biscuits are absolutely delicious and I really enjoyed making use of my cookie press, to recreate an older recipe. I find biscuit forcers come up quite a lot in vintage recipes, so I’d definitely recommend investing in one.

I hope you enjoyed my first baking post in ages. Hopefully I will be doing more soon. If you give this recipe a go, I always love to see your pictures so make sure you send them over. If you’re looking for more baking ideas, check out my Baking section on the blog.

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I’m a big fan of both cocktails and subscription boxes, so I’m always keen to try combinations of the two. Last year I reviewed the Taste Cocktail box and had so much fun mixing up a mojito using the ingredients provided in the box. When I heard about their new venture the I love Gin box, I knew I had to give it a try. The box is all about trying new combinations and creating the perfect G&T.

I Love Gin Box ReviewMy Gin O’Clock Box contained two types of gin and two different tonics. A 6 O’Clock Gin and Sloe Gin and A Peter Spanton London Tonic and Cardamom Tonic. I haven’t tried either brand before, so it was great to discover them both. Rob and I love reviewing things together so we settled down for an evening of mixing up our drinks and giving them a try together.

I Love Gin Box Gin and TonicEach box comes with a booklet with the details of each ingredient and instructions of how to mix your them to make the perfect drink. It was really nice finding out a bit more about the products and the backgrounds of the companies who make them.

I Love Gin - Gin O'Clock Box ReviewThe instructions are really simple and easy to follow and we had our drinks mixed up in no time at all. Just remember to buy ice and lemon in advance, as I had to send Rob out to fetch them before we could begin!

Gin O'Clock ReviewYou get enough in each box to make two drinks each. So it’s perfect if you want a little taster.

I Love Gin Box 6 O'Clock Gin

I Love Gin Box Peter Spanton TonicFirst we tried a classic gin and tonic using the gin and London tonic. It was lovely and smooth and tasted absolutely delicious. The two products worked really well together. This was Rob’s favourite of the two drinks we tried. It was as close to the perfect gin and tonic that i’ve tried in a long time.

I Love Gin, Gin O'Clock Box Gin and TonicI especially enjoyed the tonic, which is slightly fuller flavoured than other tonics I’ve tried. It’s definitely something I would buy again. It was a really refreshing drink for a hot summer evening.

I Love Gin Box Gin and Tonic ReviewNext we mixed the sloe gin with the cardamom tonic. I absolutely love spiced drinks and this was perfect for me. The flavours worked absolutely beautifully together. I think this would be perfect for the colder months as it has more of a winter-warmer type taste to it. This was great twist on the tradition G&T.

I Love Gin Box - Sloe Gin and Cardamon TonicThis one was perfect for serving up in a vintage tea-cup and was more like a cocktail, than a traditional G&T. This would be great for parties as it’s a little more unusual and looks as good as it tastes.

I Love Gin Sloe Gin and Cardamon Tonic ReviewOverall I was really impressed with the box. It’s the sort of thing I would love to receive as a gift. It came beautifully packaged and it was a really fun way to spend an evening. I really enjoyed trying brands I wouldn’t otherwise have bought and I’m very tempted to re-purchase the full-sized versions. If you’re looking for a fun date night activity, this is a great option. I can’t wait to see what other boxes they’ll be launching in the future.

You can purchase both the box and the full-sized products from the I Love Gin website.

*Thank you to I Love Gin for sending me this box to review. All opinions are my own.