Lavender + Rose Biscuits

I have been wanting to share my recipe with you, so here it is! Lavender has such a distinct and wonderful flavouring. The best part is that you don't need much to make an impact, whether it's in using essential oil for body care, or fresh lavender for baking. These tea biscuits were part of a little entertaining weekend that we had a little bit ago. It's also a great pairing for another treat that I will share with you later. I hope you enjoy!

250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon course salt
2 teaspoons French blue lavender (finely chopped)
230 g or (1 cup)  quality unsalted butter, room temperature
100 g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
65 g (1/2 cup) icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
3 tablespoons rosewater (food-grade) 
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Glaze Ingredients:
3 tablespoons icing sugar
1 med. lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
2 tablespoons rosewater

Time: Prep + Cooking: Approx. 20-25 minutes
Bake: 180 C /350 F

  1.  In a bowl, whisk together the flour, French lavender, and salt. 
  2. Put butter, brown sugar, icing sugar, rosewater, and lemon zest in a bowl, and use an electric mixer on medium setting to mix. Mix until it's fluffy and pale for 3 minutes. On low speed, slowly mix in the flour mixture from step #1 until combined. 
  3. Next, divide the dough in half, and place each half on a piece of parchment paper, shaping each piece into a long rectangular roll or log form. *Roll the parchment to 3 cm or 4 cm in diameter. You can use a straight edge ruler to make each side level when turning. Make sure to get out any air excess if necessary, then place parchment wrapped dough in freezer for about 1 hour or until firm. 
  4. Preheat oven to 180 C. Cut each log in small slices (about 1 cm thick or less). Line baking sheets with parchment. Leave about 2 cm or so space apart between slices placed on baking sheet. 
  5. Bake biscuits in oven 13-16 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Rotate baking sheets after about 6-8 minutes. Place biscuits on a cooling rack and let sit for a few minutes before adding the glaze. 
  6. Light glaze: in a small bowl, use a small whisk to combine the 3 tablespoons of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of rosewater. Pour a little bit of the mixed glaze over the top of each biscuit. The glaze will be slightly translucent. Allow the glaze to solidify before serving.
*Great tip! You may use paper towel rolls to insert your transferred parchment wrapped dough before freezing. To do this, cut a slit on one side of the paper towel roll, and place your parchment wrapped dough inside of the roll. Next, freeze until dough is firm for about 1 hour.


Day Glamour and Casual Sportswear

You may or may not be able to guess, but this outfit was a post-workout ensemble that I had to put together in record time. The top underneath is a breathable colourful mesh tank, and I overlayed my hand-dyed crochet lace top. I swapped my shorts for a printed chiffon dress that I brought with me.

Fortunately, I was only doing yoga and a quick Pilates studio session, so although it was fully powerful, it wasn't overly strenuous. I love the juxtaposition of the sporty trainers and frilly lace-hemmed patchwork skirt.

The wonderful team at Jon Richard sent me these lovely jewellery pieces. And, with inspiring talk about summer wedding season, I thought it was fitting to include the Jon Richard brand.

This year is a notable feat for the UK brand, as it marks their 30th anniversary. They continue to produce quality jewellery as well as develop, design, and retail alongside Debenhams in-house designer brands. In fact, you've likely seen their jewellery pieces if you've shopped there at some point.

To bring everything together, I paired the Swarovski Elements embellished barrel necklace with this rose gold crystal link necklace for a double layered effect. Since I had just finished exercising, I didn't want to have to put on too many pieces, as I was meeting up with a friend for a quick catch-up and a bite to eat.

I like to save my vintage pieces and family heirloom gems for special occasions—even if the occasion is just dashing off to a birthday party dinner, or local grocer. But, there's nothing like dainty pieces that still make a statement.

I'm usually a bold colourful statement accessories type of lady. However, I do find myself wearing more delicate pieces, and incorporating them in my everyday wardrobe staples, especially on a hot summer day.

What do you think of Jon Richard jewellery? 

View the ‘Devoted’ by Alan Hannah bridal collection from Jon Richard here.

The goods: Gold barrel necklace made with Swarovski Elements Crystal pendant, and Graduated rose gold crystal link necklace-c/o Jon Richard, Leather belt-Vintage, Dress worn as a skirt-Selfridges, Leather purse-Ann Taylor, Dyed lace top-DIY, Creative Recreation Cesario XVI Trainers-c/o Mainline Menswear. To shop the collection visit

Congrats to Erika of CatEyesandSkinnyJeans for winning the giveaway!


Wolford and Lace

I have recently been in the market for new shapewear for a few months, as well as legwear. I'm the type of person that will wear fun tights and hosiery all year round. Even though I adore legwear and textured pieces, finding something that also has some type of support other than the usual isn't always on my mind, but definitely an added bonus.

Hosiery and lingerie shopping is one of my favourite types of (fashion-related) shopping that I enjoy doing. The appearance and the hand of a fabric in hosiery/legwear is generally what catches my eye first.

A while back, I went shopping on the weekend for shapewear and came back with lingerie. Slightly distracted from other tasks that day, it didn't cross my mind until I was making dinner that I had forgotten about what I initially went in the store for.

I didn't locate the shapewear that I had been wanting, but the day wasn't completely unsuccessful. I had a surprise parcel waiting for me after work with these support leggings form Wolford, so I tried them out.

I have loads of legwear, but one of my favourite brands is Wolford. And, in addition to Wolford, Veneziana, and Falke (another favourite), I have bought my fair share of hosiery. I've not tried these velvet tights before, and it's not like the "velvet" texture that you're probably thinking. This pair is slightly different, as they are a smooth support legging style that is supposed to help with the form and shape for your thighs and legs as you wear them.  

I tested them out, and to be honest I could not feel a difference at all. The next day I wore them for a longer length of time. Then, I took them off and felt the difference immediately. Again, it wasn't a gigantic one, but it was enough for me to visibly see and feel it at this time.

The quality is very nice, of course, and the fabric feels luxurious, although it's simply denier. I can walk, run, and do a little workout in these with no problem. I don't feel like the waist elastic is cutting into my skin, which after a long day is extremely important. The weight on this is heavier, and wears as a true legging with wonderful elasticity, but certainly not thin at all. Overall, I am very happy with them, and looking forward to trying their other shapewear soon.

Have you tried Wolford's hosiery and bodywear? 
The goods: Velvet Forming Leggings-c/o Wolford buy them here, Lace dress-DIY, Heels-Seychelles, Leather purse-Vintage, Necklace-Vivien Frank Jewellery, Studded belt and Top underneath-H&M. *All opinions expressed in this post are my own.


Summer Style: Bridal Collection

Summer wedding season is upon us, and even if you're not the one getting married there's still plenty of reasons to look your best. Thankfully, this year I can just be a guest, instead of actually being in the weddings that we're attending.

One thing is certain though, there's nothing like a formal event, and seeing everyone dressed to the nines. Even if the event is just going out to dinner, Aisle Style has chock-full of dress styles that has your back in the occasion department.

I love attending weddings in general, and this year I'm pretty certain that the summer weddings we're going to will have loads of colour, being that two are non-traditional. From bridesmaids dresses to the actual bride, plentiful selections to choose from are at your fingertips on Aisle Style's site, including plus size, and maternity. There's even formal wear for special occasions, cocktail hour, or just because!

To celebrate summer weddings, here are my top picks from Aisle Style's bridesmaid collection.

Shop the collection here.
*This post is sponsored by Aisle Style. All content and opinions within this post are my own.

Are you attending any weddings this season or will you be in a wedding soon? 


The Open, with Lyle & Scott

In collaboration with Mainline Menswear, Lyle & Scott, the Scottish golfwear brand is offering a chance for you to win a grand prize of two tickets for a weekend at The British Open. Founded in the Scottish borders, Lyle & Scott has been providing knitwear since 1874. The iconic UK brand still manages to produce first-rate golf apparel, from classic to modern silhouettes.

There will be three prizes awarded at the end of the competition. The second prize is £500 to spend on Lyle & Scott, and the third prize is £300 to spend on Lyle & Scott.

So, whether you're anticipating The Open or just would love some new gear from Lyle & Scott, you may enter the competition here.

View more about Lyle & Scott here, or shop pieces from the collection here.

The competition is open to all UK residents. No purchase necessary. View more Ts and Cs here.
This competition and post is sponsored by Mainline Menswear. Image sill: from video. Courtesy of Mainline Menswear.


Summer Entertaining with CHEFS

Summer brunch has never been so carefree, nor so casual. And, even though we were able to dodge the early rain, an indoor seaside theme came to mind. After a recent shoot I had finished, our crew and foodie guests decided to have a get-together just before the "official" days of summer arrives. It was also the perfect moment to gather with close friends prior to the beginning of (what looks to be one of our last laid-back weekends before) a handful of summer weddings requiring our presence. And, since I do love a reason to cook and use kitchen accessories, I thought this would be a novel idea to finally use the miniature ramekins that I bought several months ago.

To help get brunch off to a delightful start, it's a pleasure to partner with CHEFS Catalog. CHEFS Catalog caters to the seasoned cook or home cook and offers quality kitchen cookware and accessories. From bakeware to cutlery, all categories are pretty much covered.

I prepared a brunch menu consisting of herb-scrambled eggs, homemade hash, Chorizo skillet potatoes, vegan and Italian sausages, grilled panini sandwiches with fresh cut fries drizzled in lemon truffle oil, and do-it-yourself omelettes, amongst several other gourmet sides.

I took advantage of the easy-to-use, duo-sided Waring Belgian waffle maker, which allowed me to cook both an omelette on one side and a waffle on the other. There was something for everyone: plenty items for carnivores, and vegetarian options of course for me and those in-between.

I decided on two different dessert options. One was on the light side since the epicurean heaviness was going to be a generous portion of delectably adorned Belgian Waffles, fresh fruit salad, and compote.

As a culinary devotee, myself viewing the brand's offerings is a cook's virtual paradise. Whether you're a home cook or a budding chef-in-the-making, you'll find premier kitchen products to help you on your cooking journey. I do recommend the panini press as well, as it's compact enough for a small space, yet still has the style and functioning aesthetic for a gourmet kitchen. Both appliances worked exceptionally well, in my opinion. The only thing I would change would be to lengthen the cord of the Belgian waffle maker.
Summer tablescapes food blogger
 (Above) Gluten-free dark chocolate walnut muffins.

The CHEFS site is certainly a "must-shop" destination for the savvy cook, nonetheless--a hub in the art of cookery with affordable cookware, and even modern canteen essentials. But, just in case you're not that proficient in knowing your way around the kitchen, there are loads of items to choose from as you climb your way up the cooking ladder.

CHEFS' Good Measure Guarantee ensures that you, as the customer, are 100% satisfied. They give you entirely hassle-free returns with free return shipping.

What do you think of our summer brunch? Have you used a Belgian waffle maker or Panini press?

     CHEFS tabletop styling
The goods: Breville Panini Duo BSG520XL, and Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker, Round WMR300-Courtesy of CHEFScatalog, to shop the kitchen collection visit
Images: Fashion Tales. 
                                                 Click below to shop for more items.


Beach Inspired + Boutique Giveaway

With spring coming to an end soon, and summer on the cusp of warm greetings in a matter of weeks, you might not be thinking about fall items just yet. To be honest, throughout the year, and occasionally during the summer months I find great deals on fall/winter clothing.

Pink Basis, a US-based online retailer carries affordable clothing and accessories, including fall boots and summer sandals!

And, although it might not exactly be swimsuit month where you're currently located, you can still dream about new swimwear that you're thinking of wearing during your holiday! From classic stripes to fringe embellished suits, Pink Basis (PB) has load of options for your beach weekend style. They also carry plus sizes in a variety of styles.

Just in case the beach is not on your agenda, there's lingerie, corsets, and even costumes. I'm not saying that you should go in full on "tinkerbell" or "sexy tigeress" garb to work tomorrow, but if you so choose to on, say a Monday or a Friday, you do have that option. I recently viewed a couple of favourites myself that I can't wait to style.
Pink Basis Fashion Tales Giveaway
 Click the image above to view the entire swimwear collection.  

The Fun Part:
The Pink Basis team is offering one of my lucky readers a $50 gift card to their online shop. To see what other pieces they carry, visit the site and let me know your favourite. Or, take a gander below at several of my top selections from the brand.
Summer blogger giveaways
A-G-string garter set, B-Floral printed heels, C-Black Booties, D-Black outer zip handbag, E-Red cut out boots, F-Black mesh 2 pc. *Images: Courtesy of PinkBasis, edited via Fashion Tales.

What are your summer holiday plans? If you have none yet, what's your favourite summer item to wear?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Ts & Cs: per Pink Basis, although the company ships internationally, this giveaway is open to all US residents, or entrants that can provide a USA shipping address.
Fashion Tales June Giveaway


Petals and Potpourri

I made potpourri a few months back when I created a centrepiece for a friend's housewarming, a charming afternoon gathering that she had scheduled during my visit. She had requested me to create something for the event. I decided on a glass vase with potpourri filled accents, but I wanted to make some for myself weeks later.

There are various ways to create homemade potpourri and it's quite easy to do. I used two different methods to test it out, plus I wanted to use my new dehydrator, which I hardly use. Method #1: dehydrator, and method #2: microwave.

A third method would be to air dry your ingredients, laying them flat on a surface. I was in a climate that had more humidity then normal in the air, so using my dehydrator saved time.

Decisions, Decisions: fragrance and ingredients
You can use a plethora of items in your potpourri bowl: flower buds and rose and tulip petals, herbs (mint leaves, rosemary, basil, etc.), dry wood chips, nut shells, bark, pine cones, amongst other things. I used all of these, in addition to cinnamon bark/sticks, dried lemon peel, and dried berries, etc.

1 l Dried roses/tulips/flower petals
Large bowl or plastic bag
125 g - 150 g cinnamon bark (cut), and/or dried fruit
1 Lg. spoon
2 tbsp. Orris root powder or whole dried cloves
1-2 Essential oil(s)
Dried wood chips (optional)
Decorative pieces for embellishing (optional)

1. After gently plucking your rose petals from the stems, disperse them out on a paper cloth, (you may also use a mesh screen). I used both: a screen, and a paper cloth to test out, and they both worked well, although the mesh probably works better for the air drying method. *Air drying usually will take a couple of days.
2A. Microwave Method: Follow step one with laying your plucked petals out on a paper cloth or towel lined plate that's microwave safe. Make sure that the petals are single-layered and not touching each other.
2B. With another paper towel cover the petals. Now, place another plate on top, and lay it in the microwave. Heat on high for about 30-40 seconds, or until the petals are completely dried. Be careful not to burn them. You still want to retain some of the colour in the rose petals.
2C. When the petals have been in long enough they should be dry, not damp at all, and not too crispy. *I used a mix of both dried and some crisp petals, because I was crushing other petals for an additional project.
2D. Remove petals from the microwave and place on a flat surface to rest momentarily. Now, in a large bowl begin pouring in the dried petals/herbs.
2E. Skip to #7
3. Dehydrator Method: set it at 35 C-38 C / 95 F-100 F.
4. Lay your roses, and herbs in the dehydrator trays.
5. Put the trays together and close the lid/clamp down. Petals will be done when brittle and dry.
6. Remove petals from the trays and mix them with all of the other dried petals/herbs in a large bowl.
7. Add your essential oils or other scented fragrance to bring your potpourri to life. To do this, fill a spoon with the orris root powder and add your oils to the spoon. Then, either blend it together in the bowl, slowing stirring in the powder/oil mix together or in a plastic bag to shake the dried flowers with the rest of potpourri ingredients. You can add extra drops if needed until you're pleased with the smell. Let potpourri rest a few hours to seep.

Storage: Place the contents in a stainless steel tin, glass container, or a tin with a closed lid, one that will be out of the sunlight.

Adding Fragrance: I made two very large batches for each, so I used about 15 drops of essential oils total in each batch.  I made a cinnamon-orange concoction, and a rose-lavender bowl. For small sachets I created a mix of thyme, lemon, and bergamot, and then a mint-rose version.

Fixatives: I used a mix of fixatives: orris root, cloves, and Frankincense, because I made sachets (w/powder) and container kept potpourri (w/non-powder fixative). In a sachet, the powder won't show, but in a visual display, you may want to opt for cinnamon bark, nutmeg, or even sandalwood oil. Myrrh, and dried lavender can also be used as a fixative.

Choose wisely and think about the purpose of your potpourri. The fixative will absorb the oil, keeping it in the potpourri mix, and prevents evaporation, which allows your potpourri to be fragrant longer.

Great uses for leftover rose petals: I used them in making flower streamers for an upcoming party, and a rose body scrub, which is very easy. You may also use rose petals in cooking: in cocktails, rose infused cakes, rose yoghurt, and ice cream, etc. I shall make some lavender-rose biscuits very soon.


Weekend Links

Just a quick post before a glorious weekend ahead. I am honoured to be featured in this week's Links à la Mode roundup. Do check out the other bloggers on the list.

Wishing you a marvellous weekend! Stay tuned, I've got a fun and crafty post just for you later today.

Links à la Mode: June 4 
A Handful of Stories: Paris 2015—My Moveable Feast
Attire Club: Best Menswear Looks at the CFDA Awards 2015 
Bookish & Belle: The 30x30 Wardrobe Challenge 
Dress Code: High Fashion: The Stunning Jewelry of Cannes Film Festival 2015 
Everyday Starlet: Fitness for Fashion Bloggers 
Fashion Blender: Bold Graphic Statements 
Fashion Studio Magazine: 8 Tips to Refresh Your Makeup This Summer 
Fashion Tales Blog: Useful Apps Volume 2 
Head 2 Heels: Traveling and Taking Photos Without a Photographer 
Jodi's Touch of Style: Bright Pink for the '50s, '60s & '70s
Les Assorties': An Interview with Ormary Founder Merita Memisi 
Montgomery Fest: Style on Deck 
Pudding Monster: Why You Should Dress Well to Feel Better 
Riva La Diva: DIY Anthropologie Circlet Vida Skirt 
Storybook Apothecary: How to Live Like a Mermaid All Summer Long 
Trendy Techie: Meet the Rocket Scientists Who Are Reinventing the Heel 
The Sweet Seed: Top Summer Fashion Trends 
We Are Ready Made: Soviet Cool 
What 2 Wear Where: Cork Shoes for Summer Style and Comfort 
Whimsy Soul: Treasure Island Flea Market

SPONSOR: Shopbop: Lolo, Illesteva, Bijules, Shop Raga, Thornton Bregazzi, MZ bags, Cia Maritima, Wang Denim, Vitra, Delfonics, & S'well water bottles


Useful Apps: Vol. 02

May has been a fun and productive month. Aside from entertaining and cooking quite a lot, I've been finishing a couple of fun projects, one which will be coming up shortly.

Remember this post? As promised, I have tried out a couple of new sites and apps that I wanted to share with you. These are the ones that made the cut, including two that I've already used for a while.

This is not only a website, but BzzAgent has an app as well, ensuring that you as an influencer can get the most out of their services. BzzAgent is a site that allows you to gain access to diverse brands and full-size quality products for free. BzzAgent is available in the US, UK, and Canada.

I recently used this site, thanks to the blogger that I met at the airport and in my opinion, I like it a bit better than Influenster, but it solely depends on your profile. For example, if you have a child, then you'll get to give honest reviews on products related to you as a parent, your children, and more versus a person who doesn't have children.

You can always update your profile, and by taking your initial surveys (and ongoing surveys as you gain Bzz points) the parcels sent are tailored to your interests.

Spare time, anyone? 
Even if you don't have loads of spare time this can be very beneficial if you're interested in learning about new brands and becoming a part of a great community. Each review, whether you do it multiple times via social platforms or once on the Bzz site/app, increases your BzzAgent score and chances for future opportunities. You can opt out of any opportunity once it comes your way.

The product range includes campaigns for grocery stores, beauty products, household appliances, free vouchers, discounts, and even men's tools and grooming accessories, amongst many others. From kitchen campaigns to hair dye systems, everything provided in your Bzz kit(s) are entirely free. By giving your honest opinions on each campaign invite that you receive you can share it with friends and family, and get rewarded in the process. The more thorough and honest you are the better activities you'll receive. Each of your reviews is actually read and rated by their team.

BzzAgent also connects you to MyPoints, another great site where you gain points by shopping online, which essentially equals to free cash in the end in the form of gift cards from your favourite retailers, restaurants, and/or actual PayPal cash, etc. I use MyPoints when I shop online at some online stores.

Relax Melodies
Upon moving to any location in the past I've always been able to adapt well. Thus, I've been able to sleep through many sounds: hearing city streetcars, sounds of nature on a summer's eve, or even the sound of drizzly stormy nights.

Whatever sounds you love to hear when you're reading, relaxing, or catching some shuteye, this app can be of good use. I recently used Relax Melodies when I babysat my nephew and trying to get him to sleep because my singing voice, ahem ... just wasn't working that day. I remembered that I had my Smartphone in my pocket and set the app to a lullaby. You can add your own music too!

From the sounds of an orchestra to oceanic waves, you make one selection or layer multiple sounds to play all at once. Brilliant. You can also upgrade to Pro if you like, but this is simply another great and free app to try.

SWorkit (Simply Work It)
That's right, you read it correctly, "SWorkIt!" This is one of my favourite apps. To be honest, I don't remember downloading it on my iPhone, but a few months ago I finally used it. It's fairly different from traditional health and fitness apps, focussing on your workout at any given time. Of course, I have my "go-to" apps, but this one has been getting much on-the-go use.

It's the perfect app for travellers as well. When I don't have an hour or two for a workout, that's okay. How about five minutes? Yes, you can do five-minute workouts, that are exactly that, as well as create a custom workout for yourself.

So, there's really no excuse, especially since you can link your Spotify account with any workout that you do. Select from a cardio, strength, yoga, or stretching workout. Get a high-impact, low-intensity workout, or just do some stretching. Whatever you choose from—five minutes to sixty minutes and with or without a thirty-second break in-between, it's your call. Look at it this way, the time that it takes you to wait for your food to get finished baking in the oven, you could have done a workout.

What do you think about these free apps? Have you used any of these apps and websites?  

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