Mulled Wine Brownie Recipe!

I'm not sure you can have too much chocolate at Christmas and in a bid to make my brownies more festive I've flavoured them with mulled wine! Its a very indulgent treat, perfect warmed and served with cafe latte ice cream as a replacement for the traditional xmas pudding that no one eats at our house. 

The basic recipe is from Baking Mad's Ultimate Brownie Recipe which is fab, easy and has a great, simple to follow "bake mode" for your phone if thats how you read recipes like me! I've added a few festive ingredients to mine, heres what you'll need:

Preheat fan oven to 170c and line a square baking tin. Melt the butter and chocolate together and mix.  Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, add the dark muscovado sugar and mix until thick then fold in the melted chocolate and butter.

Sieve the flour and add with the walnuts, mulled wine and vanilla extract and fold until smooth. Pour into the baking tray and bake for 30-35 mins.

Cool before cutting into pieces and serving.

I covered mine in a festive sprinkling of icing sugar to look like snow and created this little winter wonderland scene using christmas cake decorations, cute!

Later on...

I hope you get to make these devilishly good brownies and eat some in front of a log fire with a glass of mulled wine! Christmas heaven!

Fancy more festive recipes? Why not check out my easy peasy Christmas Snowflake Biscuit recipe!

Time to be Thankful

I kind of feel like I'm crashing someone else party when it comes to Thanksgiving not being American but I figure taking some time out to think about all the things I'm thankful for in my life can only be a good thing! Heres a little list of things that warms me up inside:

  • Family - They say you can't choose your family but I'd choose mine if I could! We're very close, speak our minds and get into regular "debates" and most importantly we're always there for each other. 
  • Friends - I've got an amazing group of friends and as I've got older I've come to appreciate them more. I treasure my friends, I'm truly lucky to have them!
  • Bellamy the dog - he's my little fury friend who's always up for a cuddle.
  • Working for myself - I love designing and making jewellery from my little home office. Theres a lot of late nights and sacrifices made but it means I get to look after my daughter full time and work with some amazing talented people. 
  • The little things - popping out for a coffee when I fancy, taking a afternoon walk in the sunshine, watching episodes of The Office on netflix, enjoying a long bath. Its these little luxuries that brighten my day.
  • My customers - without their love and support my business wouldn't be where it is today and theres nothing like seeing their pictures of them wearing my jewellery! 
I'm so thankful for all these things and I wanted to give little something back to my I Love Crafty customers so today I'm giving free shipping on all orders (world wide too) with the code: "THANKSFREESHIPPING" 
Happy shopping! 

Lazy Kat's Christmas Guide - I Love Crafty Jewellery

Christmas is a time for giving and some of my blogging buddies are sharing their favourite I Love Crafty jewellery with us! Lets see what they'd like under their tree this year!

Lazy Kat is one of my all-time favourite bloggers, uber cool french chic and muse for my Donut Shop collection! I find her unique sense of style and outfit posts so inspiring, I basically want everything in her closet! 

Check out Lazy Kat's favourite I Love Crafty pieces above and guess what, she's picked some of my favourite too, can you guess what they are?  

Christmas Showcase - Andrea Kett

This Christmas I'm showcasing some of my favourite makers and illustrators in the bid to support all things handmade and show you some of the most amazing, affordable and orignal gift ideas around! 

I'm starting with one of my favourite illustrators, Andrea Kett from Ireland. Get ready to fall in love with her whimsical, nostalgic and slightly dark world! I love her christmas cards and prints, I treated myself to the one below!

If your looking for some christmas cards to stand out from the rest I cant recommend Andrea's Etsy Shop enough!

Supporting creative makers isn't just for Christmas, its for life!

Christmas Snowflake Biscuits filled with Salted Caramel and Pecan Chocolate Spread Recipe!

I love baking at Christmas but not everyone likes traditional christmas flavours such as mince pies and christmas pudding so my festive, mouth watering Christmas Snowflake Biscuits are the ideal treats for picky eaters (and everyone else!)

The buttery biscuit recipe is the same one I used for my Magical Unicorn Biscuits and I love recipes that are adaptable. For the Christmas Snowflakes I added cinnamon and nutmeg, fool proof for this time of year and they compliment the Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel and Pecan Chocolate Spread filling perfectly!

You'll need:

Preheat your oven to 180c (350 degrees F.) Mix 250g softened butter and 1/2 cup of caster sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, then add 1 egg yolk and 2 tsp vanilla extract and briefly beat to combine. Sift over 2 1/2 cups of plain flour,
ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg and stir until the mixture is well combined – you might need to get your hands in at the end to give everything a really good mix and press the dough together. 

Once you have your dough you can pop it in the fridge for about an hour to stop them from spreading too much in the oven if you have time but you don't need to, I didn't! Roll out your dough and cut out your biscuits. I used a delicate snowflake cookie cutter which looks amazing and its easy to use!

This recipe makes 50+ snowflakes so I hope your hungry! Bake them in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes but keep your eye on them as the burn easily!

Once your biscuits have cooled fill them with Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel and Pecan Chocolate Spread for a touch of Christmas luxury! The delicious blend of salted caramel, pecans and chocolate work so well with the buttery biscuits and don't be mean with your spread, lavish your biscuit with a dollop and press another biscuit on top to create a sandwich, yummy!

I store mine in a tupperware box in the fridge to help them last longer for any unexpected guests that pop by, but I doubt they'll last that long!

You could even leave some under the tree for Santa, he will be very thankful, wink wink!

Merry Christmas from Hotel Chocolat!

Christmas is a time for giving (and receiving) and I was lucky enough to find a Christmas Present Gift Box from Hotel Chocolat under my tree this week and yes, my tree is up!

I unwrapped its beautiful festive bow to behold a collection of milk chocolate baubles, dark chocolate christmas trees and caramel presents, each carefully wrapped and feels like a present every time you open one! I personally loved the light, creamy caramel present, a real little treat and very moreish!

I'd recommend giving this beautiful gift to a friend who's hosting a Christmas party, don't forget to mention that you like to try the caramel one, wink wink!

Check out more of their month watering Christmas Chocolates and don't forget to treat yourself, its christmas after all!

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I don't want to panic you but Christmas is only 5 weeks away!!! I may have put my tree up this weekend and started getting excited already! HA! I'll be baking, sharing recipes and making crafty gift ideas all the way up to Christmas so grab yourself a mulled wine, lets do this! 

Get Crafty! Personalised Christmas Wrapping!

Want to get crafty this christmas but not got the time to make all those presents? Why not make your own personalised gift wrapping! Its a quick and easy way to give your gifts a touch of handmade love that your friends and family will receive with glee! The best thing about making your own wrapping is that you can get creative and make it totally unique to you! Its also really cost effective! 

To create your personalised wrapping paper, gift tags and thank you stickers we'll be making easy, simple stamps that look fabulous! So lets get Christmas crafty! 

First, think about your wrapping theme, create a collection of inspiring Christmas pictures on Pinterest like my Christmas Dreams board. It really helps me focus my crafty, creative ideas. Once you have your theme and designs its time to start making the stamps! 

You'll need:

  • Paper 
  • Pen
  • Erasures, bigger and flatter the better
  • Scalpel
  • Lino Cutter Set    
  • Ink pad with your colour of choice

Draw your design in pen and press the erasure onto it, this will create a faint transfer of the image.  Fill any gaps in the design with your pen and carve the design out with your lino cutter, easy! Don't forget that the design on the rubber should be a mirror image of your design so it will print the correct way up. You now have your own unique stamp that you can keep printing for ever!

To make your personalised wrapping paper print your chosen design onto brown kraft paper, around £1 a roll. Don't forget to get creative and use any coloured ink pad you want. I think this design looks really cool in black, simple and dynamic!

To make the gift tags just print onto card and simply cut your tags out. I printed my gift tags on pink neon paper to go with my "Merry and Bright" theme. I love them and they take seconds to make!

For the thank you stickers I bought a sheet of round neon stickers that I stamped onto. I use them on my jewellery boxes but your could use them in a thank you card or gift box.

Have fun making your own personalised Christmas gift wrap! Heres my top tip: put on a Christmas film, grab a glass of mulled wine and get stamping!

Like my gift wrapping? In the spirt of Christmas I’m offering a FREE gift wrapping service on all I Love Crafty orders to make buying a present that little bit easier and a little less stressful! 

My Candle of Success

Success, that elusive feeling that is easy to recognise in others but harder to see in ourselves. We sometimes have a cookie cutter, one size fits all idea of what success is but I think its a very personal state of mind. Success isn't just the big goals that we tick off our bucket lists, its all the little steps we take along the way to get to where we want to be. I guess when your successful you expect to feel on top of the world, invincible and proud of your hard work but its tricky to feel that way and celebrate when your busy all the time. 

I have a little ritual in my home office to celebrate my successes big and small, I light my beautiful scented candle. Its a treat, a little bit of luxury in my happy, busy little office that fills the room with a beautiful scent, the scent of success! Its easy to forget how far I've come, so every time I light it the scent reminds me of all my successes and triumphs I've had and all my future dreams. 

Theres something strangely (please mind the pun) "enlightening" and calming about lighting a candle. The hypnotic flame helps your mind focus as the light flickers and highlights little forgotten details in the room and your life, that gets lost in the daytime light with its daily to do lists. Lighting a flame also connects us to a sense of our past, a pre historic need to light the dark to keep us safe, which still comforts and brings us hope today. I use my candle as a little pat on the back. It also brings me a sense of calm in really busy, stressful times. 

I haven't lit it for a while, its not that theres nothing to celebrate as theres been a lot of exciting news lately, its just that time has got away from me! With the christmas rush starting already I'll be sure to remember to take some time out and light my candle.

I recently finished the Gala Darling Dare, Dream, Do course which was amazing for both my self esteem and business. Gala talks about the use of lighting candles and how much it can help you, check out her course, I highly recommend it!

What does success mean to you? Don't forget to celebrate all your successes, big or small. Its time to celebrate all triumphs in equal measure!

PS. The little guy in the centre of the picture is my business partner, he used to sit on the till in my shop smiling at customers and now he lives on my desk. He's the one who wears the business suit!

Free Christmas Gift Wrapping Service!!!

In the spirt of Christmas I’m offering a FREE gift wrapping service with every I Love Crafty order to make buying a present that little bit easier and a little less stressful! 

Every gift wrapped order comes with a complimentary hand printed gift tag that you can write your own message on and wrapped in my unique hand printed star brown paper that I make myself! I want every customer to feel special because to me, they are! 

I can also send the gift directly to your lucky loved one and if you want a personal message in there just let me know. 

And if its a present for yourself (and we all deserve a treat at christmas) you can still get it gift wrapped, its handmade just for you after all! 

5 of my favourite Etsy Homework Posts

I opened my Etsy Shop nearly 5 years now and one of my favourite things about selling on Etsy is the sense of community and the homework! Working on my own can get a little lonely at times and its easy to get distracted when working from home so I love it when my Etsy homework drops into my inbox.

As a Etsy seller you can sign up for their Seller Handbook blog posts that include handy lessons and tips that cover all types of business related subjects from taxes to hiring your first employee, packaging and branding tips to photography advise!

Here's 5 of my favourite Seller Handbook posts (or as I like to call them "homework") that has helped me become a better maker and seller.

I was extremely excited to be interviewed for the Etsy wholesale blog to give my own tips that you can read here.

Whats your favourite Seller Handbook posts?