Off duty Christmas

Monday, 22 December 2014

Boden Christmas What Olivia Did Boden Christmas What Olivia Did Boden Christmas What Olivia Did Boden Christmas What Olivia Did Boden Christmas What Olivia Did Boden Christmas What Olivia Did

For my penultimate post for the Boden Diaries (sob), things took a bit of a Christmassy turn, and out came the sequins (in abundance) and an array of knits to see anyone through the season- whether that includes eating more piggies in blankets than socially acceptable (guilty), quoting Elf in a green-triangled Quality Street extravaganza until your hearts content ('I KNOW HIM!'), or even embracing the chilly outdoors and taking a Boxing Day stroll with your little fluffy best friend, decked up in your finest fair-isle- there's indefinitely something for every occasion. To read the full post, you can head to their blog here- where there'll be links, Christmassy snaps and wonderful clothes galore (because you're worth it)!

Boden Christmas What Olivia Did Boden Christmas What Olivia Did Boden Christmas What Olivia Did Boden Christmas What Olivia Did

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Borough Christmas

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Free People Dress What Olivia Did Free People Dress What Olivia Did Free People Dress What Olivia Did Borough Market London Free People Dress What Olivia Did Borough Market London Free People Dress What Olivia Did
(Hat: River Island, Dress: C/O Free People, Bag: Lulu Guinness, Shoes: Office, Watch: C/O Kate Spade)

If there's one place in London that can supply the ultimate Love Actually London festive experience (minus Hugh Grant sadly), it has to be Borough Market. Decked out in twinkling garlands, mistletoe and a furry tree this time of year, the haven for all things culinary and well, damn tasty- is even more special and dare I say, a little more indulgent come December- and the perfect way to while away a morning (whilst picking up some essential supplies). Joe and I popped down this week after strolling along a closed Southbank Christmas market (this is what happens when you're a little bit keen), and picked up some fresh bread for an evening supper with two of my best friends- and left feeling suitably Christmassy (which maaay have something to do with playing 'Pipes of Peace' 100 times a day).

With a slightly more mild spell sweeping London yesterday (obviously I use the term loosely) I popped on a snow-fairy style dress from Free People from a recent Take 10 project (coat out of shot), paired with a new favourite fedora from River Island, and the worlds prettiest watch from Kate Spade, which- as a little festive present from me to you- you can win too! Simply tweet me (@livpurvis and @katespadeuk) using the hashtag #MerryXmasKateSpade and I shall pick a winner on the first day of the New Year, as a little post-festive pick me up, hooray!

Free People Dress What Olivia Did Free People Dress What Olivia Did Borough Market London Free People Dress What Olivia Did Borough Market London Free People Dress What Olivia Did Free People Dress What Olivia Did

See how the other Take 10 ladies styled their Free People!

Shiny Thoughts / The Little Magpie / Burkatron / The Magpie Girl/ Hifashion / Hands of Style / Love Cloth / Marmalade / Dearest Deer


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Five festive things to do in London

Friday, 19 December 2014

So, this is probably a little late on, but with Christmas a week away and there still being time after the big day (a post Christmas pick-me-up if you want)- I thought I'd put together a little guide of some of my favourite things to do to feel festive in the capital. Okay, these aren't exactly secrets or hidden gems to everyone- and you've probably heard or seen these across the net, on Instagram or on Time Out- but these are some of my favourite things to do in London if you have a little time, or an evening to spare. I was also thinking of doing a 'Post Christmas London guide' with things to ease the January blues- so let me know if you'd like to see that too!

The Nutcracker London The Nutcracker London The Nutcracker
To be honest, although I did ballet as a little 'un, I never really fell head over heels with it. I was far too shy and lazy growing up to pursue any dancer dreams, and pretty much only enjoyed wearing a tutu and pretty ballet slippers (cheater)! Anyway, last week I saw The Nutcracker, and in short- I'd be happy to see it every day throughout December if money/seating was no object. It was the most festive thing I've possibly done this month, and was the most magical way to spend an evening. It's on until the 4th of January, so I'd recommend booking ASAP, but it's truly worth it.

Find it: London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, WC2N 4ES From: 11 Dec - 4th Jan '15

Tredwells London Review Tredwells London Review Tredwells London Review Tredwells London Review Tredwell's
Perhaps not necessarily the most festive place to unwind (which isn't always a bad thing), this little hideout near Seven Dials is certainly an absolutely delicious place to get some dinner pre or post theatre (especially if you hit up The Nutcracker), and their Christmas set menu is a wonderful twist on your classic roast, too. Joe and I feasted on their delicious burger sliders, salted caramel ice cream (as good as it sounds) and steak- and left feeling suitably full and ready to go back and sample more- bon appetit!

Find it: 4a Upper St Martin's Lane, London

Covent Garden Apple Market Covent Garden Apple Market Covent Garden Apple Market Covent Garden Market
It would be rude to do any kind of Christmas guide and leave out Covent Garden's beautiful Apple Market. Joe and I came here one evening, when it was a little more quiet, solely to admire the decorations and it was absolutely stunning. During the day there's different stalls serving everything from mince pies, salted caramel tarts and everything in between (plus there's REAL reindeers there this weekend)- which is pretty special too. That's of course without mentioning the shops that line the market- Chanel, Burberry and Laduree anyone?

Find it: Nearest tube, Covent Garden or Charing Cross

St Paul's Cathedral Christmas St Paul's Cathedral Christmas St Paul's Cathedral
This may not be quite for everyone, but if you're a fan of exercising those lungs, or simply want some traditional Christmas goodness- than popping by to a reading or carol service at St Paul's Catherdral is certainly one way to get in the spirit, and that's without even mentioning the breathtaking building itself. There's something completely special about spending time here, and after visiting for their annual Carol Concert earlier this week (and singing my tiny heart out to 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing) I'm determined to go back again very soon.

Find it: St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD

Southbank Christmas Market Southbank Christmas Market Southbank Christmas Market Southbank Christmas Market Southbank Christmas Market
Another not-so-secret pick but gorgeous during the evening (don't arrive during the day without checking opening times, as I learnt arriving to lots of closed attractions), this strip along London's Southbank is scattered with traditional log cabin stalls, laden with hot chocolate, mulled wine, more churros than you can shake a stick at- and a Christmassy carousel to boot. Also perfect if you fancy a Christmassy 'Love Actually' style stroll along the river before the big day.

Find it: Southbank Centre SE1 8XX From: 11 Nov - 4th Jan '15

Borough Market Christmas Borough Market Christmas
If that's not enough...
- Head to Camden Market to visit their Christmas stalls as well as hit up their incredible Stables Vintage - As well as Somerset House and the Natural History Museum, Vauxhall have an awesome new rink and Christmas tree maze - If Winter Wonderland is too busy, head to East London's Winterville for street food and festive goodness, including cult-foodie-favourite VooDoo Rays!- I also love Borough Market during December to pick up supplies and to try new festive treats!-



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Three Cosy-Night-In Recipes!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

...and not a gingerbread man in sight, well- nearly! In time for the final week countdown I thought I'd pop down three of my easiest evening snack ideas for the Christmas lead up- and bar a few spices, most of the ingredients are probably cosily tucked up in your cupboards too!

Okay so there's a hot drink too, but when drinking hot chocolate- one needs a bloody great cookie to dip into it, am I right? So before I reveal my frighteningly simple go-to hot chocolate method (prepare to be equally underwhelmed by it's simplicity and overwhelmed at it's tastiness) I thought I'd share a couple of festive biccie recipes that are so easy. The first is taken from the uber talented Fanny Zanotti and her recipe book Paris Pastry Club (amazing book, btw), and the others are variations of some simple cookie and drink recipes that I love.

So, pop Smooth Christmas ok, and let's get going!

The Pudding Cookie
Christmas Cookie Recipe What Olivia Did Christmas Cookie Recipe What Olivia Did Christmas Cookie Recipe What Olivia Did You will need:
- Cranberries (Sainsbury's do amazing orange infused ones for Christmas which are perfect)
- 100g dark chocolate
- 1 tbs butter
- 90g plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 tea spoon sea salt (optional)
- 1 egg
- 75g light brown sugar
- Ready to roll white icing and decorations

1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees, and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Stir in your chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl over some simmering water until melted, and then leave to cool.

2. Combine your flour, salt and baking powder into a separate bowl. Be at the egg and sugar in another bowl until light and fluffy, and then fold it in with the melted chocolate- adding in the flour quickly and mixing until all is combined.

3. Although the dough will be sticky (you can add a teeny bit more flour onto your hands for this), roll the dough into small balls and arrange them on the tray. Bake for ten minutes, or until they have slightly cracked tops. 4. Once the cookies have cooled, roll out your icing, and using a small circle cutter- cut shapes for the pudding tops, and place on top with your holly, or other decorations!

The Christmas Cookie
Christmas Cookie Recipe What Olivia Did Christmas Cookie Recipe What Olivia Did You will need:
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 teaspoon mixed spice
- 125g unsalted butter
- 75g light brown muscovado sugar
- 75g caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 150g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- You can also add any dried fruits, but this is up to you!

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, and put the butter, sugars and vanilla into a bowl and beat until light and smooth (this may be best done with an electric mixer or some elbow grease)! add in the egg and continue to mix until fluffy.

2. Add in the flour, spices and baking powder and mix until everything is blended. Add in your orange zest, until everything is thoroughly combined.

3. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and as before, divide the mixture into about 12 balls (or less, depending on how big you want your cookies) and leave space between each one for spreading- we don't want any square edges!
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and browning ever so slightly. Leave to cool after removing them before taking them off of the tray, so they don't break! Enjoy dipped into your hot chic, or wrapped with bakers twined as a little gift for someone!

The Ultimate Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate Recipe What Olivia Did Hot Chocolate Recipe What Olivia Did Hot Chocolate Recipe What Olivia Did You will need:
- 200ml (or a mug full) of milk (I use semi skimmed)
- 3 tablespoons of grated chocolate (good quality milk chocolate preferably, but I'm sure dark or white could be delicious)
- Squirty cream
- Marshmallows
- Sugar or sweetener to taste

1. Measure out your milk (or pour your desired amount into a mug and then transfer it to a pan)- and pop on the hob and let it start to heat. Add in your chopped chocolate, and keep stirring it with a wooden spoon (or tablespoon) until everything is combined. It's important to keep stirring to make sure the chocolate has fully melted, and isn't just hiding at the bottom!
2. Once everything is melted and the milk is nearly boiled and hot, remove from the heat and whisk a little if you want something frothy! Add in a little sugar, or sweetener if you fancy, and then load on the whipped cream and sprinkles. At the moment I am in love with these Whittards chocolate covered marshmallows, so will pop one of them in too- ssh!

What are your favourite festive recipes? If you give anything a go, don't forget to tag me with the hashtag #bakewithliv so I can see!

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Radio City

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

What Olivia Did New York River Island What Olivia Did New York River Island JV2A7256edit What Olivia Did New York River Island Clarice Price Thomas Ring Rockerfeller Center New York What Olivia Did New York River Island NBC New York What Olivia Did New York River Island
(Coat: Warehouse (in sale), Jumper: C/O River Island, Skirt: Primark (similar here), Bag: Charlotte Olympia, Boots: Office)

New York at Christmas has officially become one of my favourite things in the world. Although you can watch Elf, Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street until the cows come home (and trust me, I really do), there's nothing like stepping on to 5th Avenue and hearing the ring of Salvation Army bells chiming along to 'All I want for Christmas'. Yup, that was real (and I may have shed a tiny tear, but the less said about that, then the better). It;s truly magical, and I feel so lucky that we managed to snap up a deal (in January mind you) to get to experience it in real life.

Whilst we were there visiting Radio City and Top of the Rock made my 'touristy' to-do list, and although we attempted to avoid Times Square, we managed to find ourselves squished amongst a fire truck and heaps of shoppers before stumbling onto W 50th, which was a silent haven in comparison. After stopping to snap some pictures (and realising it was far, far too cold to not be wrapped up in more layers (which was rectified) we clambered over to the Rockefeller Center; admired that Christmas tree and shot up in the lift to admire some birds eye views of the city, before heading back to ground for a Red Cup feast- when in New York, right? ; )

New York What Olivia Did New York River Island Radio City New York Charlotte Olympia Jukebox Clutch What Olivia Did New York River Island What Olivia Did New York River Island
and here's what I wore...


River-Island-take-10-collage
Shiny Thoughts / The Little Magpie / Burkatron / The Magpie Girl / What Olivia Did / Hifashion / Hands of Style / Love Cloth / Marmalade / Dearest Deer


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