What Olivia Cooked: Hot Cross Cookies

Saturday, 28 March 2015

What Olivia Did Cookie Recipe After popping up a hot cross bun recipe last year, I figured it was probably appropriate to upload a recipe for those of us that simply aren't feeling the buns this time of year (cheeky)! Although I was tempted to dip my toes into Creme and Mini Egg territory for this recipe, I thought I'd keep it extremely simple (and a little bit novelty) and put together some 'Hot Cross Cookies'. There's plenty of room for variation with these (especially if you have a currant craving instead of choc chips)- but they're a fun alternative regardless, and a little bit simpler than making dough too!

You will need:
- 115g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 50g light brown sugar
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 175g self raising flour
- 70g (or as much/little as you like) milk/white chocolate squares

For the icing:
- 55g unsalted butter at room temp
- 125g icing sugar
-100g white chocolate
- Splash of milk
- Piping bag

What Olivia Did Cookie Recipe
1. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees (fan assisted), before mixing the butter and sugar together to create a creamy mixture.

2. Beat your egg and vanilla extract together, before gradually adding it to the butter mixture. Add in your flour and salt (mixing it in bit by bit) and then throwing in your chocolate until everything is mixed into a dough mixture- it's pretty easy!

3. Line a baking tray, and split the dough into 8-10 balls (depending on how big/small you want your cookies) before baking for 15/20 minutes, checking every now and again so that they don't brown too much.

What Olivia Did Cookie Recipe

4. For your icing, beat the butter and sugar together until everything is mixed. Gradually melt the white chocolate (you can do this slowly in the microwave, checking every 10 seconds- or over a bowl of simmering water, just be careful as white chocolate burns very quickly) and leave to cool slightly, before adding it to the butter mix. If the mixture is too solid, add a little bit of a milk to loosen the consistency.

5. Once the cookies are cool, add your icing to a piping bag and cross each cookie with the icing for ultimate Easter kudos!

If you give these a go yourself don't forget to use the hashtag #bakewithliv so I can see! Also, let me know if there's any recipes you'd like to see!

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A post on feeling confident...

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Alexandra Cameron
Photo by: Alexandra Cameron

I recently met up with the gorgeous, and uber talented Alex Cameron. Known for her empowering and absolutely stunning confidence photo shoots she invited me to her to hang out and take some snaps. Although I wasn't quite brave enough to opt for one of her typical confidence shoots- it was absolutely incredible hearing about the inspiring stories and feedback she's had. With women gaining nothing but confidence, and arguably a new life changing perspective on themselves from her absolutely flawless photographs- it's incredible how a new view point and sometimes taking yourself out of your comfort zone can make someone into, (without being too corny) essentially, a new person- which is pretty bloody special.

As a blogger, it's likely that people assume you'd be extremely confident. I mean, which girl who parades in front of the camera several times a week (albeit stopping in front of strangers and spending 99% of the time goofing about), wears a coat brighter than a certain Ross from Friends smile and parades around in hats bigger than a UFO to hop on a commuter train, couldn't be? But that's the thing, although what I wear can suggest a brave and perhaps 'outgoing' character, there's still a big part of me, that for lack of a better phrase, is a big old nervous (unconfident) Purvis. I won't wallow on about that, but for perspective- I have friends of mine, who I regard as not only some of the most talented ladies I know (and the most beautiful) who are pretty much there too. What are we like? So, in the most Carrie Bradshaw of ways, it got me thinking- how can we become more confident? What do the girls who I love do to make them feel better?

So, care of some of my favourite ladies, here are some of my favourite tips for feeling a little more 'you' and a bit braver! This post isn't sponsored- just inspired by my day with Alex and a DMC (deep meaningful chat) with some girlfriends...

Alex
"What makes me feel confident…well, it’s taken a long time, there were so many aspects of myself I couldn’t accept for a long time and am only now just beginning to appreciate the person I am. I think the thing that makes me feel confident is honesty…when I am true to myself, appreciate who I am and accept the good and the bad then I feel the most confident. I can celebrate who I am. There is nothing more beautiful that seeing someone embrace who they are."
Follow her here

Kristabel
"I think you need to accept that gaining confidence takes time. I think that anything I worry about, no one will even notice- so if I have a spot or my hair is doing something weird, nine times out of ten people dont notice as they have their own thing anyway. Then each year you'll realise, 'this doesn't actually bother me any more'. "
Follow her here

Daisy
"If you're feeling like you can't do something, remember all the really amazing things your have done whether it's getting a job, degree, looking fabulous on a night out & I guarantee you'll feel a little bit better about yourself."
Follow her here

Charly:
"Nothing gives me confidence like reading. Knowing new words, having something interesting to say, not feeling alone in the world- that all manifests from deep inside a good book. I could be Sylvia Plath tomorrow or Caitlin Moran yesterday, but I'm a confident ass Charly Cox today"
Follow her here

Lucy:
"Whenever I'm being filmed or having to do a talk or be public in someway, I always think about who I'd like to see and I create a manifestation of confident me in my head, then I come out of myself and 'play' that person. I know that you should always be yourself but I've always found that the easiest way. I still poop myself a bit when I actually do these things but I just say 'yes' and then deal with it when I get to it. People often say 'you're so confident, I couldn't do that' when actually they don't know that it's still really scary for me. I'm just pretending to be the confident version of me."
Follow her here

Genevieve:
"Doing my makeup nicely and wearing a nice outfit makes me feel more confident. As well as performing on stage and listening to a great song! Also, doing well in something I've tried hard in."
Follow her here

Gem:
"I always think having a big smile on your face makes you feel more confident - especially when meeting new people. It instantly makes people warm to you and it's actually scientifically proven that smiling reduces your stress levels, so it's pretty hard to feel unhappy when you've got a happy face. "
Follow her here



What do you do to make you feel more confident? Sharing is caring- and I'd love to have a little hub of tips in the comments!

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The Loveheart Coat

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Tara Starlet Red Heart Coat What Olivia Did Notting Hill Tara Starlet Red Heart Coat What Olivia Did Tara Starlet Red Heart Coat What Olivia Did Tara Starlet Red Heart Coat What Olivia Did
Sunglasses: Givenchy, Coat: C/O Tara Starlet, Jumper: Zara similar here, Jeans: Boden, Shoes: Charlotte Olympia, Bag: Lulu Guinness)

You know how sometimes you see an item of clothing, pair of shoes or bag and just need it? You can't think when you'll necessarily wear them, you know it may not be the traditional staple item- but you just fall head over heels? That's how I felt when the gorgeous Tara, of Tara Starlet showed me this coat that was to land in her SS15 range. The heart pockets, the Princess a-line shape and the sailor collar all equated to the most playful, and slightly cheeky coat I'd seen- and I was instantly smitten!

Paired down with a slightly-less fun wool jumper and black jeans, it made for the perfect 'running-around-London' look. Although Joe calls it my 'French children's cartoon character coat' and there's a tendency to feel a bit 'Little My' in it- I can't think of an easier resort to perking up a grey day (and livening up a grey and black tube train)! Plus, it's the perfect excuse to head outside on a rainy day- although I'm certain I'll enjoy wearing it more when it warms up a little...

Tara Starlet Red Heart Coat What Olivia Did Notting Hill Tara Starlet Red Heart Coat What Olivia Did Tara Starlet Red Heart Coat What Olivia Did

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Racing Stripes

Sunday, 22 March 2015

H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did
(Jumper: Mango similar here, Dress: C/O H&M, Bag: Lulu Guinness, Boots: Zara, Bracelet: Claire's)

From the months of October to March my dress code is usually consistent of the following: jeans, 10,000 denier tights, jumpers that don't fit me and a bobble hat (or fedora if I'm feeling 'dressy'). Until about two weeks ago my idea of getting dressed up, was actually getting dressed, and it was only until Joe and I had an afternoon tea date in the diary that I realised I had to, you know, make an effort. Cue this perfect in-between 'woke up like this' dress from H&M and the perfect balance of Carven SS15 racing stripes and '60s mod-chick...

Although it's quite possible that this roll neck and mod-inspired dress was a pair of white tights and Mary-Janes away from being a swinging step too far into the sixties nod, I think I just about got away with it- and know it'd be just as cool with some sandals and a wicker basket come summer (well if that doesn't sound pretentious...) or some ballet flats and a leather jacket in Spring- no tights allowed.

P.S I'd also thought I'd mention that Joe has started a blog too! I know I'm definitely biased, but he's got incredible style (and taste in music, films, food and ahem, football)- so if you're after a really cool mens fashion blog, he is just the ticket!
H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did H&M Carven SS15 Stripe Dress What Olivi Did

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The Book Club #1: How To Build A Girl, Caitlin Moran

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Caitlin Moran How To Build A Girl Review
How To Build A Girl - By Caitlin Moran

It's not often that I ever get a real 'craving' to write something. The urge to drop my toothbrush (back into its rightful place, of course), put down the bedtime moisturiser and rush to my laptop in a flurry of haste before my mind goes blank, and simply allow my fingers to run away on the keyboard for ten minutes. I've been reading 'How To Build A Girl' for a couple of weeks now (blaming late night reading and procrastination as to why I'm still not finished), but in short- it's wickedly funny and I absolutely love it (disclaimer: I have now finished it, and yes, it was brilliant- but more on that in about a paragraph).

It feels like being eight again. Wanting to go to bed early, and curl up amongst your duvet, with iPhone torch as ultimate light source, whilst buzzing under the covers in silent fits of laughter, worried that anyone else will wake up, and the weird thing, is that I feel I can resonate with protagonist Johanna. I'm not from Wolverhampton, don't get it on with my hairbrush and don't wear a top hat out and about (although sayiiiing that...) but her story about working at D&ME magazine brought back so many memories of an nu-rave emo Liv turning up at those very same IPC media doors at 15, waiting for the rest of my writing career to begin (which y'know, know where that goes). It was a time when NME Radio was a 'thing', Luke Lewis, James McMahon and Conor McNicholas were all part of 2009's magical NME era (to me and my Klaxon fuelled iPod anyway) and every day, walking into Pret (but not buying anything but a bottle of water) was so bloody exciting I didn't even mind getting up at the crack of dawn to spend every penny on a travel card, and the pleasure of post sorting was still a novelty ('LOOK THEY HAVE A NEW CD! CAN WE PLAY IT!')

The funny thing is, my dad picked me up that placement at a Horrors gig at the Astoria (remember?? It's where Tottenham Court Road tube now is for you youngsters out there) when I was about 14. After flinging myself about in the crowd for an hour with my best friend Gemma, we headed upstairs and found out my dad had been chatting to 'some journo' from the New Musical and blagged me a contact there (Karen- I will forever be in your debt). Anyway- How To Build A Girl. More about the book and less about you Liv. It's brilliant. If I had to describe Caitlin Moran in three words they'd be; really effing cool. There's not many women I'd spot at St Pancras 8am on a Saturday morning and go metaphorically weak at the knees at (it happened y'all)- but she is one of them. She makes me want to read, learn and push myself into the pages of everything and anything. She's bloody funny too. The kind of funny that you have to hold in on the train whilst wobbling silently to yourself and biting your lip, and writes in a way that makes you want to put yellow sticky notes all over the pages with notes on saying 'MUST. USE. THIS. WORD'. I'd read 'How To Be A Woman' prior to reading which I adored and this novel was the perfect follow up- with the book feeling almost slightly autobiographical- it was rude, shocking and utterly thought provoking (hence the post) and totally wonderful. Thank you C Moz, once again.

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The New Staple

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did
(Hat: ASOS, Top: COS, Jeans: ASOS, Shoes: C/O Butterfly Twists)

For me, my wardrobe staples consist of the following: a good breton striped tee, a pair of jeans I feel great in, a fedora and a pair of great flats- it's a simple recipe, and is nearly applicable to everyone I know. It's the kind of look that will take you anywhere (y'know metaphorically- if only a striped top could book a flight and take me to Rome)- and my newest 'staple' comes to you in the shape of this pretty pump, care of Butterfly Twists. But here's the secret- not only are they gorgeous, well priced and comfortable (more fool you if you thought memory foam was just for super comfy mattresses ; ) but these shoes fold up and can be taken anywhere. Yup- practical. The kind of shoes you'd imagine a commuter pull out for a quick rush to the bus stop, or before they pop on a 'sleek' shoe for a meeting- but only these are that sleek shoe (pardon my use of the word sleek- I like them a lot ok), but you can walk, run and boogie in them too.

Yesterday I was invited along to a breakfast with the brand, as an introduction to their brand new 'Anytime Anywhere' campaign, and a reflection of the fact that not only can these shoes be worn day to night, for travel, work or play- but they are actually pretty gorgeous too. I spotted a Chanel-inspired monochrome pump, Alexa-style leopard ballerinas as well as falling head-over-flats (hohoho) for this ankle strapped toe-capped pair, too. They're the kind of shoe I wish I'd known about when I was studying (and rushing around with no time to look like I'd made an effort) and the kind that I'm glad I can now throw on for meetings. Now, who said practical couldn't be pretty?

Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did
Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did Butterfly Twists Staple What Olivia Did


This post is sponsored by Butterfly Twists, but all thoughts and love of comfy shoes are strictly my own


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Paris Fashion Week with Paul and Joe...

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show
Although I'm fortunate to visit the land of stripes, bread, pastries and Vanessa Paradis (that's Paris to you and I) quite frequently- it was only this season that I'd ever been lucky enough to experience Paris Fashion Week, and headed over with long-time loves ASOS and Paul and Joe beaute to catch their AW15 show (which, I was ever-so slightly excited about). I've been a huge fan of Paul and Joe for a while (their cat collection last year is an excellent example of why), so was ridiculously excited to partner with two of my favourite brands, and get in on this years show.

One of my favourite things about fashion week, is getting to see what goes on behind the scenes- and take note of how the magic of a ten minute catwalk is crafted together by troops of dedicated creatives; from make up artists, PRs, hairdressers, designers and dressers a like. So, cuddled up backstage (and attempting to not get in anyone's way) I quietly observed the tactical process behind the show- and of course, admired the gorgeous bow-ponies the models had going on (talk about dream hair)! In terms of make up- everything was fresh from Paul and Joe themselves. With make up this beautiful you'd be forgiven for thinking they're all style and no substance, all Pinterest and no product- but you couldn't be further from the truth. Although I've often been wary about diving in (usually to avoid ruining the packaging, or damaging kitten ears) the make up truly does deliver- especially as I saw it in action backstage, with everything from the foundation, mascara and skincare (yup, they do that too) all being taken for an outing to create the whimsical school-girl looks styled up with the high-octane seventies get ups.

Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show
As you can probably guess from the above, the show was completely dreamy- all in the most perfect Wes Anderson meets Diane Keaton kind of way (and what a combination that is). Think tailored suits, school-girl bows with wispy hair, peter pan collars, Twiggy-esque lashes, shearling and pussy bows galore- in short, sort of how I imagine my dream wardrobe to look. Having mentally curated a wish list as long as my arm, we also made a pit-stop to the main Paul and Joe Paris store, to not only marvel at the cat berets on display (if only I could justify it) and the latest collection- but to take a quick glance at some of their past beauty collections (and maybe pick up a little treat or two...)! Until next time Paris!
Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show Paul and Joe Paris AW15 Fashion Show

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