LAST MINUTE V DAY IDEAS: DRESSED UP CHOCOLATE

If you live on Pinterest, chances are you’ve been pinning potential V day gifts for a while… But have you made any yet? Prrrrrrobably not. For those of you after a little V day treat, but conscious you’re running our of time, here’s a little shortcut. Tags, cards and chocolate wrappers – all for just the cost of paper and your work/neighbours/dads printer. Download these now:

Printable chocolate wrappers

V Day Cards

Gift Tags

Chocolate wrappers

Experiment with what you print on in terms of colours and textures – these chocolate wrappers look completely different on brown craft paper!

Chocolate wrappersChocolate wrappers

If you’d prefer to ignore V day entirely, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t dress a nice block of Lindt (the one with a touch of salt is amazzzzzee) in a nice wrapper… and gift it to yourself. You deserve it. 😉

A VALENTINE’S DAY MEXICAN FIESTA

Contemplating how to show your boo you care on Valentine’s Day, but wary of going down the heart shaped balloons route? I hear ya. This year, why not partake in the international language of love, that is: tacos and guacamole. Yep, a little Mexican fiesta, all to yourselves… Perfect for two, three or ten people! Obviously the ultimate Galantines celebration. Cos who doesn’t like a Mexi-love-in?

To celebrate V day differently, I recently got together with Cointreau to put together a little taco party. Read on for our guide to doing it yourself.

Creating a Mexican FiestaCreating a Mexican FiestaStyling a Mexican Fiesta

HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN V DAY MEXICAN FIESTA

Decide your guest list

Maybe you met someone nice on tinder recently, have a long termer or perhaps you’d prefer your whole squad to come along, either way you’re going to want to pick the funnest people you know for this little Valentine’s celebration.

Pick your spot

Inside, outside, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the place you pick has a nice cosy vibe and will lend itself to a) plenty of time to eat and drink and b) room for you to get creative. Being down under at the moment we were lucky to get to set up outside, but if you’re in a chilly part of the world, a simple dining room would work!

Go for colour

Nothing says ‘you’re sure to have a good time here’ than a touch of colour – we had an amazing set of chairs and tables that were just the right amount of colour, but if you’re working with a more simple canvas, colourful paper banners, rugs and throws work perfectly.

Create your floral arrangements

He doesn’t like flowers? Oh well. You do, right?! A mexican floral palette is really easily achieved by using the following colours: magenta pink, red, orange and a touch of yellow. Throw in a few different foliages like eucalyptus and ferns (pillage your back yard for this one!) and you’ve got the perfect arrangement. I don’t need to tell you that flowers instantly lift your table setting, to the point where you don’t have to do much else. If you like, throw a few succulents and chillis on the table and you’re good to go.

Lay the table

What I like most about a Mexican party is that you don’t have to be too pedantic about how you set the table – because it’s shared you can opt for something more casual, and literally pull together lots of different things from your house and tie them in. Go for texture and a worn in feeling here. We found a few woven place mats and lined them up in a diamond shape to create an impromptu table runner, added the flowers and some enamel plates and we were good to go. You can also use colourful tin cans to hold the cutlery.

Taco bout a party…

Finally, you’re going to want to create a seriously yummy menu. Another area in which it’s easy to succeed – tacos, guacamole and parmesan rubbed corn are simple and will have your dates (tinder or otherwise) declaring your love in a matter of moments. You’ll also want a few spicy drinks on hand (have you heard chilli is an aphrodisiac?), so scroll down for my spicy Cointreau Fizz recipe. To finish off, we splashed out on an ahhhhhmazzzzing cake, talk about true love.

Once you’ve done all this, the only thing left to do is have an amazing time. Who said that love  doesn’t come in, small, taco sized pieces?

Create your own mexican fiesta

Spicy Cointreau Fizz

Ingredients

30 ml of Cointreau
Soda water
Lime Juice
Chilli Powder
Salt
Fresh Chilli

To make

1. Create a mixture of salt and chilli powder.

2. Rub the rim of the glass with lime juice and then dip the rim in the salt mixture to create a spicy salt rim.

3. Fill your cup with ice.

4. Add the Cointreau, lime juice and some pieces of fresh chilli to the glass.

5. Muddle/mix with a spoon.

6 . Top with soda water and add a garnish of chilli. If you can handle it!

Creating a Mexican FiestaCreating a Mexican FiestaCreating a Mexican FiestaCreating a Mexican Fiesta

Dear cake, will you be my Valentine?

Creating a Mexican Fiesta

Clearly I didn’t want to limit myself to just one boo for my Mexican fiesta, so instead I brought along all my girls! Hope you’ve got something lovely planned for the weekend, regardless of who you celebrate with.

This post is in collaboration with Cointreau. Photos by Ana Suntay-Tanedo. Thanks Sadhana Kitchen for the amazing cake!

QUICK DIY: FRINGED SNEAKERS

Can we take a moment to celebrate the fact that these days sneakers are acceptable for almost all situations? Beach, bar, work – wherever. There’s nothing better than comfort, right? In the event you’re looking to take the humble sneak up a bit, take inspiration from the runway and add a simple leather fringe. Read on to see how.

DIY Fringed Sneakers

You need:

  • A pair of sneakers
  • A piece of leather
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • A multi hole punch

DIY Fringed Sneakers

How to:

1. Measure and cut your leather so that when placed on your shoes it covers the laces.

DIY Fringed Sneakers

2. To create the fringe, mark with a ruler regular intervals along the short edge of the leather.

DIY Fringed Sneakers

3. The cut the fringe, making sure not to cut all the way through!

DIY Fringed Sneakers

4. Trim the fringe ends to symmetrical points.

DIY Fringed Sneakers

5. Use your hole punch to make holes matching where the laces sit on the shoes.

DIY Fringed Sneakers

6. Put the leather fringe on top of the shoes and thread the laces through. Tie the laces to secure in place.

DIY Fringed Sneakers

Voila!

DIY Fringed Sneakers

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

SIX STEPS TO CREATE YOUR NIGHTLY ROUTINE

If you had said the word ‘routine’ to me 5 years ago I would have shudder. To me it was a dirty word, synonymous with relationships lacking pizzazz, things that one is forced to do and a slow descent into being one’s parents (or grandparents). Fast forward a few years, with life being so fast paced and full of commitments, and routine seems like luxury. Which is why one of the major things I’ve been focusing on in the last few months is creating small day to day routines that I can apply regardless of where I am. Things to help relax and ground me. Last year it was all about morning routines –  small changes to the day that are incremental and barely noticeable until you realise you’re so much happier than you used to be. This year it’s my nights that are getting the focus, nights that are in themselves enjoyable, and also lead to days that are productive and not a chore. Read on for more about eating your own routine.

How to create your nightly routine

1. Leave work at work

In a perfect world, we’d all leave work at 5.30 and get to spend a good 5 hours enjoying our evenings. Props to those who are lucky enough to experience that. Those of us who don’t need to a) look at ways to give ourselves more hours in the evening (not including sleeping less!) and b) learn to leave work at work. Regardless of when you get to leave, blurring the line between work and relaxation is a surefire way to up your stress and anxiety. When your travelling for work, try to create blocks of time when you have to work, and blocks of time in the evening where it’s all you.

2. Make a to do list

A great way to leave work behind is to write a list before you leave the office, whether that office is at home or elsewhere. Even if it means giving an extra half hour to your work time, mentally filing things to do the following day will clear your brain.

3. Power Down

Ok you’re probably sick of hearing about my 8pm – 8am phone ban but let me say it one more time – you need to unglue your phone from your hand over night. Can’t sleep? It’s because you’ve been plugged in to the grid staring at a screen all day and night. Without knowing it, you’re pumping adrenaline into your brain when you’re scrolling through insta or pinterest, which in turn can often create mild anxiety and completely ruin your night. Set an alarm and put your phone on airplane mode. You’ll be so happy you did!

4. Eat earlier

This is a hard one for me, but optimally you’d eat at 6pm and have lots of time to digest your food and enjoy your evening before you hop into bed. Eating early is also great because it’s a nice line in the sand between emails and relaxing. That’s the dream kids, and if there’s any way you can make it happen then do. If not, focus on eating lightly before bed, have you ever tried to relax with a 1kg steak in your tummy? Not easy.

5. Get some headspace

Omg guys, a while ago I chatted about learning to meditate, and this year I’ve been stepping it up. It seriously makes such a difference! I recently really got into the Headspace app and love to use it later in the evening. Try out their 10 day trial for nothing (fyi this isn’t a sponsored post, I pay to use the app and love it!). Whether it’s meditation, yoga, stretching or a walk with friends after work, giving your brain some space will aid in relaxation and help you really enjoy your night.

6. Spend time in bed

Ok, duh you’re thinking right? But hear me out. Most of us just jump into bed late and and hit the light, orrrrrr scroll on our screens for a few hours. But what has really aided in a really enjoyable nightly routine for me is an hour or so spent in bed, just chilling, drinking tea, reading a book and really taking it easy. In that way my bed has become a nightly sanctuary rather than all about forcing myself to sleep.

Do you have any nightly routines that you love? Here’s to better nights in 2016!

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