Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

We just wanted to wish all our reader a very merry christmas and happy new year. These past twelve months have been fantastic and we couldn't have done it without all the help and support from every one of you. Watch this space as we'll be giving you a little present very soon! 

We'll be spending the day gorging ourselves on yummy food, playing board games and falling asleep in front of the TV. SO whatever your up to tomorrow we hope you have a good one.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Meet..... A Little Bird

Following on from our last meet the blogger... post we had a little chat with Jen from A little Bird Told Me.  We first came across Jen's blog last year and fell in love with her amazing knack of thrifting some fabulous items - her little home looks so cute . Read on to find out a little more about Jen!

Ok, first up who is Jen/A little bird? 
I'm an online writer, web editor and lover of pug dogs! 

How long have you been blogging, and what made you want start it in the first place? 
I started blogging nearly three years ago but moved to A Little Bird Told Me in October 2009. I started because I was tired of writing about mortgages in my day job and wanted to write about clothes and shoes and nice things. 

What inspires your blog posts? 
I love normal people and their outfits. Other bloggers who wear jeans and flats inspire me. I also appreciate good writing, fantastic photography, popular culture and gossip.

How would you describe your style? 
Girly, floral, vintage-ish, casual. 

What three items can you not live without? 
Flat brown brogues, my Blackberry and Topshop's cream blusher. 

What do you get up to when you're not blogging? 
I write lots, and I have a Twitter obsession. I love to go out for meals, watch films, read books and trawl through charity shops. I also like going on adventures with my fiance.

Tell us something no one else knows about you... 
I'm left handed!  

And lastly as it's nearly Christmas, what's your favourite thing about the festive season? 
The food! I love Christmas food and have been indulging since late November. Serious noms.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

A song for Christmas

Now with only three more days to go until the big day, we're all getting quite excited. We've bought all the presents (well, nearly!) and the only thing left to do is to wrap them. Now us Cellardoor girls, like nothing more than to crank up our festive playlist and to get stuck in with the wrapping paper and sellotape.     

Here are our favourite classic christmas anthems....      

So now we want to know - what's your favourite?          

View our Spotify playlist here

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas Morning Muffins

Okay, so our excitement for the big day is at critical level right now. The presents have been bought (well, at least thought about!), the trees have been decorated, and Wham!’s Last Christmas has been overheard in every shop we’ve hunted through. Yes, it’s officially Christmas.

The only thing on our minds now is surviving those last shopping battles and prepping the all important Christmas feast. Oh dear. So perhaps we’re not entirely ready for the big twenty-fifth, but one way to ease the stress of those last minute food preparations is to greet those Christmas morning sleepy heads with a batch of pre-prepared apple and walnut muffins.

These slightly spiced, sugar topped, drool-worthy cakes are the perfect way to open the festivities on Christmas day. And the best thing is they can be baked right now and frozen, ready to just pop in the oven on Christmas morning while you let someone else worry about that turkey.

Recipe: makes 12

1.       Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, GM 6).
2.       Into a large bowl, sift 275g Self Raising flour, 1tsp of baking powder and 1tsp of that all important mixed spice. Add 75g caster sugar and give the whole thing a very light stir.
3.       In another bowl, beat two eggs, 225ml milk and 100g melted butter.
4.       Pour this wet mixture into the larger bowl of dry ingredients and mix quickly. There’s no need to beat the mixture, or spend an age over mixing it as this could cause those lovely muffins to become really dense. And no-one likes a heavy muffin.
5.       Once mixed, fold in two pre-chopped eating apples (leaving the skins on is fine) and 100g chopped walnuts.
6.       Line a muffin tin with paper cases, and spoon the mixture into these.
7.       Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are golden on top. Festive!

8.       For a bit of added sparkle, drizzle on some honey and a sprinkle of Demerara sugar (this can be done before or after freezing. Whatever you’d prefer!)

If you are freezing these muffins for Christmas morning, simply leave them to cool completely, pop into a plastic box and into the freezer. If you make them now, they’ll keep wonderfully for Christmas, just take as many as you need out of the freezer on Christmas Eve, leave them to defrost and pop them into a preheated oven for five to ten minutes the next morning for a deliciously warm breakfast.

Now, where is that guy in red? We’ve been extra good this year!

By Danni Slater

Friday, 17 December 2010

Cellardoor's Gift Guide

With not very long left until Christmas day we're starting to panic about those last minute gifts that still need to be bought. If you're struggling  to find some cheap and cheerful stocking fillers then fear not, this gift guide includes presents for your best friend, your dad, and everyone in between. Better yet, they're all from your favourite high street stores so there's no need to worry about Internet delivery!

Gifts for Her

For the iPhone fiend : Ditsy print phone sleeve - Dorothy Perkins

For the coffee addict: Christmas Coffee - Whittard

For the cupcake cutie: Cupcake Calendar - Waterstones

For the girl who wants everything: 'Get the hint' wish-list magnets - Paperchase

Gifts for Him

For the entrepeneur: Grow your own money plant - Boots

For the cookie monster: Cookie shaped key caps - Dorothy Perkins

For the film fanatic: Popcorn Bowl - Urban Outfitters

By Danni Slater

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Rain Rain Go Away....

We're very sad to see the return of all the miserable weather, we know we complained the snow was too cold but at least it was much prettier than all this rain. However the floral print goddess herself has come to the rescue with the new Cath Kidston by Fulton range. The collections includes Fulton’s trusted umbrellas, a range of raincoats, hats, ‘cag-in-bag’s’ and wellies all featuring Cath Kidston’s beautiful iconic prints, from striking polka dots to fashionable florals. They're definitely helping us to beat those winter blues!

Here are our favourites...

The sturdy Italian-inspired ‘Kensington’ (RRP £25) has a comfortable wooden handle with a large canopy providing unbeatable protection.

The ‘Superslim Gift Box’ (£22), available in ‘Provence Red Rose’ print, is one of Cath Kidston’s most recognisable patterns. This would make an ideal present and the perfect Christmas stocking-filler.

Spot Wellington boots (£38) 

Monday, 13 December 2010

Aimee Likes To Take Pics

Here at Cellardoor we’re trying our best to keep out of the cold, so these beautiful warming images by Aimee Ketsdever are just the ticket!

You can find more of Aimee’s work on flickr

By Eleanor Doughty

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Cheese Gromit....

Christmas wouldn't really be Christmas without sat in front of the TV watching Wallace and Gromit, so this year we'll be sending off all our Christmas cards with these cute stamps. 

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Christmas Cupcakes!

We've been working with the lovely Cait and have uncovered her wonderful talent for creating some delicious recipes. We've spent ages poring over her beautiful images and now she's giving us the chance to recreate some of them by sharing all her secret recipes with us ..... and of course you. 
Look out for more in the next issue!

Christmas Cupcakes

December is here and the snow is falling, it's time to play Phil Spector's Christmas Gift For You, don your frilliest apron and bake some festive treats.

I'm yet to find a person who doesn't just love Red Velvets, and as if these weren't festive enough already, I added a dash of peppermint and some candy cane sprinkles, just for a little extra yuletide cheer.

Candy Cane Red Velvet Cupcakes
65g soft butter
175g caster sugar
1 egg
38ml bottle red food colouring
125ml buttermilk
25g cocoa powder
150g flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vinegar

Yields 24 mini or 12 standard cupcakes

500g icing sugar
75g butter
225g cream cheese
Candy Cane Sprinkles to decorate

Half this recipe for mini cupcakes
Preheat oven to 170°c/325°F/Gas 3.

Line a cupcake tray with paper cases and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer, then beat in the egg until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl mix the cocoa powder with the flour and bicarbonate of soda and set aside.

Add the food colouring and extracts into the butter mixture and mix until combined. Then add in the buttermilk and flour mixture in alternate until fully combined. Finally mix in the vinegar and divide between the cupcake cases.

Bake for around 15 minutes for mini cupcakes and 25 for standard and set aside to cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, beat the sugar and butter together using an electric mixer until it starts to look like fine bread crumbs then add the cream cheese and beat until smooth, this can take a few minutes.

Fit a piping bag with a large star tip nozzle. Pipe in an anti-clockwise spiral starting in the centre of the cupcake working up and over the original circle. Finish off with candy cane sprinkles

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Winter Wonderland

We're starting to feel very festive this week, after seeing the Coca Cola Christmas truck all lit up in a Tesco car park and finishing our weekend off with a spot of ice Skating at Somerset House and of course a steaming mug of our Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate. So, we thought why not share some gorgeous Christmas inspiration with our lovely readers - after all it is the season of giving!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

It's Nearly That Time of the Year Again

Yes it's only just turned December, but already there's hype surrounding the festive season when Santa comes to town! Passing out on the sofa, a belly full of turkey and plonk, the eccentric Uncle declaring his love for Nigella Lawson's stuffing, and the Grandparents merrier than ever after their annual port and sherry concoction.... seems like it only occurred yesterday. But the stores are decked out for the big day already, and here at Cellardoor we're anxious to decide what to wear on this joyous day?

Now i know you're thinking some elastic waist trousers and a maternity style top would do the trick nicely, after you've divulged enough festive food to sink a battle ship, but this year we're embracing the craze that's hit the high-street... Knit. We're not saying we want you to resemble Bridget Jones in that fetching Reindeer christmas jumper, oh no.... we're thinking sumptuous angora knits with a subtle hint of Christmas, teamed with a skinny jean and sizeable wedge shoe, possibly a bow in the hair for a delicate feminine touch. Magazines like to encourage you to dress in sparkles and glitz on the 25th, but we think there's something oddly attractive about a good old-fashioned knit. So get on the hunt for yours! 

Skier print cropped jumper from Love Label

Cranberry coloured Reindeer print from Topshop

Fair Isle knit from ASOS

Belted Reindeer cardigan from New Look

Snowflake print from Zara

By Rosie Bee

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Easy Cheesy Risotto

Winter has officially arrived. We know this not from the morning’s frost bitten pavements, or even from that festive anticipation hanging in the air. No, we can tell from the sudden and insatiable cravings we have for all things warm and hearty. Salads are practically laughable, sandwiches cold and limp and even chocolate bars are no longer satisfying. The staples now? Piping hot peppermint drinks and steaming bowls of hearty stew. Yes, winter turns even the hardiest of us into heat-craving grandmas, and frankly we quite like it. The cold? Not so much. The promise of wholesome, hot food on a chilly evening? Sheer, wintery bliss. We can think of nothing better right now than curling up on the sofa with a bowl of something creamy, luscious and light and this cheesy risotto fits the bill perfectly.

Now, risotto has built up quite the reputation. Wonderfully tasty, yes but ridiculously complex with its regimented stirring and oh-so-special Arborio rice. It’s probably the kind of thing you’d order in a restaurant but shy away from in the kitchen. Fear not. This stripped down version is far from terrifying and proves that risotto can be a deliciously easy one pot wonder, with no need for fancy ingredients or meticulous stirring. Just 15 minutes of prep time and a little TLC gives you a rich pot of risotto with all the characteristics of a perfect winter supper.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

200g long grain rice [i.e. the normal stuff]
3 rashers bacon
1 onion
1 pint vegetable stock
100g sliced mushrooms
100g frozen peas
50g grated cheese
1 tbsp Oil


Peel and chop the onion, remove the fat from the bacon and slice into small pieces. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and bacon gently for a few minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Then, add the rice and stir well to coat it evenly with the fried bacon and onion. Season with salt and pepper and pour in the vegetable stock. Stir until it begins to boil then turn the gas right down so that it is just bubbling. Place a lid on the saucepan and leave to simmer away for about 15 minutes.

By now, the stock should have been fully absorbed and you may want to turn the heat off to save the mixture from drying out. Stir in the frozen peas and once well mixed heat a little oil in a separate frying pan. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.

Stir the mushrooms and grated cheese into the risotto and re-heat for about 5 minutes until steaming hot. Serve straight away with a good hunk of crusty bread, a sprinkling of extra cheese and a side of trashy TV in front of a roaring fire. Perfect.

By Danni Slater