Sunday, 29 May 2016

Change


Having written my blog for over three years, it became clear to me over the last month or so that as much as I loved my old blog design, it didn't really reflect the 'current' me very well. In order to create a space that emulated my style better and kept me motivated to update it regularly, I decided Tea Party With Alice was due a rebrand.

I'll be updating the template a little more over the next month or so, so expect some more changes to come - although the general format will stay the same. I love the new grid layout on the main page - I think it's really visually pleasing and something a little different to what's out there at the moment. For the posts themselves, I've kept the format the same but with larger photos - as I think it's important to be able to read a post easily without having to navigate through overtly complex designs.

I'm feeling really excited to get back to blogging regularly after moving house caused me to lapse a little. I have lots of content lined up over the next few weeks that I'm looking forward to sharing.

 I hope you love the new design as much as I do - I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Friday, 27 May 2016

Bath & Body Works Treats

My boyfriend was in America recently, so I armed him with a long list of things to pick up whilst he was there. I've spoken numerous times before of my obsession for Bath & Body Works, although usually focus my attention on their candles and antibacterial hand gels. After a quick sense-check revealed I had 14 candles and 35 hand gels on back up, I thought it was probably time to try something new.

Having just moved house and with the luxury of my own bathroom, I decided to give some of the Bath & Body Work's shower gels a whirl - settling on Aloha Waterfall Orchid and A Thousand Wishes. The shower gels lather really well and smell incredible, Aloha Waterfall Orchid is a blend of dewy orchid, lush rainwater and Polynesian gardenia which melt into a delicious summer scent that's perfect for holidays. A Thousand Wishes is actually a festive scent, but in my opinion it's not really relatable to a particular season - it's a delicious mix of sparkling champagne, crystal peonies and almond creme which smell beautifully sweet and feminine.

Lastly, I asked him to pick me up a Gentle Foaming Hand Soap in Blushing Tulips & Peonies, partly because I thought it sounded like a nice scent, but predominantly because it's such a pretty bottle. I absolutely love this, it's so foamy and really feels like it cleans your hands well. As for the scent, it's gorgeous - a wonderfully fresh and floral fragrance.

What are your favourite Bath & Body Works products? 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Summer Style Wish List


Now that the weather has started to improve and we've even been treated to a few BBQ days already this year, I decided it was time to plan my summer wardrobe. I'm off to Crete at the beginning of September (counting down those days), and before that I'm off to Dusseldorf to see one of my best friends. I'm hoping for good weather in both locations so have put together a few summer outfits that I'm hoping to get my hands on in time for my holidays.

The outfits I have my eye on are all really versatile pieces that can be worn in a variety of ways. The Bleach Sleeved Denim Dress is perfect both to slip on whilst walking around town, but also something that can be smartened up with a pair of heels in the evening. The Moto Strip Denim Pinafore is adorable and would look really sweet over a white t-shirt but could also be thrown over a bikini for a trip to the beach. The Puritan Midi Dress is my favourite of all and would be a lovely evening dress on holiday but could equally be worn in the day with a pretty pair of sandals. Lastly, I love this Off Shoulder Layered Crop T-shirt which will be lovely in the summer with a tan, I've paired it with these Ripped Knee Jeans as I think the contrast of feminine and more edgy works really well.

The Jaya Heeled Peep Toe Sandals are my favourite pick because I own some very similar and they are one of the comfiest pair of heels in my wardrobe. I love the way they can be worn in Spring on a warmer day with a pair of skinny jeans but would be equally perfect on holiday when paired with a dress. The Klause Flat Sandals are gorgeous and I'm particularly keen on khaki this S/S so hope to add these to my shopping bag soon. I think every girl should own a pair of tan wedges, so the Kirk Wedge Sandals are an ideal pick. I particularly love the little bit of embroidery detail on them which makes them more unusual. Last but not least, I picked out these classic Garlington Loafers as they're perfect to for work wear, or just a casual day when your priority is comfort.

What do you think of my summer style picks? Where will you be headed this summer?

*Post sponsored by Jones Bootmaker, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

How To Care for Cacti and Succulents


I love having greenery throughout my home as it really helps to pull a room together by injecting some life into it. With that being said, I've had a few casualties in my time and have come to recognise that the only plants I can keep alive are cacti and succulents. Both of these plants are low maintenance, but there are also many myths circulating on how they should be cared for. Through trial and error, and a little bit of research I've found out the best way to keep my little green friends alive.

// Water //
One of the biggest myths, is that succulents & cacti don't need very much water, but this isn't actually true. Succulents like to have their roots soaked with water but then dry out quickly. If you keep the soil wet every day, you'll kill your succulent - the tip is to allow the soil to get completely wet and then only re-water once the soil has dried out. In the winter, most cacti and succulents have a dormant period and it's at this time they need less water.

// Repotting //
Cacti and succulents should cope well in their original pots for between 6 - 12 months, at which point you'll need to repot. When repotting, choose a pot one size larger as too much excess soil can sour before the roots have had a chance to grow into it.

// Sunlight //
You'll want to keep your plants as close to the window as you can, but be careful not to let them get sunburnt (yes really!) if the light from the window gets too hot. Find a place that will give them some sunlight throughout the day, as well as a little shelter. Once you find that spot, try not to keep moving the plants around as they're sensitive souls and can't take it.

What are your tips for keeping house plants alive? 

Friday, 20 May 2016

Jo Malone Cologne Collection


From a materialistic perspective, Jo Malone is the love of my life. Everything about the brand is charming, from their beautiful stores and exemplary service to their heaven-scented, high quality products. Since writing a Jo Malone collection post last year, it's become increasingly apparent that my collection has grown quite significantly, so I thought I'd share the colognes that have been gracing my stash recently. 

Jo Malone colognes are easily my favourite product from the brand, most likely because they are sprayed directly onto my skin and are therefore something I smell all day. The scents are incredibly rich, long-lasting and exude luxury - meaning you feel special every time you layer them onto your skin. 

Peony & Blush Suede
This is a gorgeous fresh and floral scent that's perfect for every day wear. It's filled with the scent of fresh peonies (one of my favourite flowers) mixed with juicy red apples, jasmine, rose, gillyflower and mingled together with soft, blush suede. 

Pomegranate Noir
Pomegranate Noir is one of Jo Malone's most famous scents, and it's understandable why. It's a rich and sensual fragrance that mixes the rich juices of pomegranate, raspberry and plum with pink pepper, lily and spicy woods. It's a sensual, sophisticated scent which in my opinion makes it extra special for evening wear. 

Wild Bluebell
Wild Bluebell is another beautifully floral scent, and one of my favourite's because my boyfriend chose it for me which makes it extra sentimental. It mixes the delicate sweetness of bluebells with lily of the valley, eglantine and persimmon which create a bright, fresh scent that's perfect for every day use

Blackberry & Bay
Saving the best till last, is my all time favourite Jo Malone scent. This is just the perfect fragrance as it's both fresh and fruity but with a woody mix helping to make it more sensual. It's designed to mix the freshness of just-gathered blackberries with bay and brambly woods and truly smells magnificent.

Jo Malone colognes costs £85 for 100ml or £42 for 30ml. Whilst £42 is still a fair chunk of money, the smaller sizes do give you the opportunity to make certain you love the scent before you buy the bigger bottle. I'd highly recommend a visit to a store as the staff are wonderful and will really help you find the a scent that works for you. 

Would you like to see the rest of my collection? What is your favourite Jo Malone scent? 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Caudalie Vinosource


One of my favourite skincare brands, Caudalie, have recently released a collection of four hydrating moisturisers to suit a variety of skin types. The range is powered by organic grape water which is designed to guarantee a thirst-quenching, moisturising and soothing sensation for the skin.

Moisturising Sorbet*
The Moisturizing Sorbet is the lightest moisturiser of the bunch and is therefore most suitable for those with sensitive skin. It has a gel-cream texture that feels light on the skin and absorbs almost instantly. Despite it's light texture, the Moisturizing Sorbet is incredibly moisturising and immediately packs hydration into the skin.

Moisturizing Mattifying Fluid*
For those with oily skin, the Moisturizing Mattifying Fluid is your new best friend. It's a lightweight fluid with a blotting effect which works to reduce excess sebum instantly, whilst restoring the skin's moisture level. As a result of being more balanced, the moisturiser helps skin to appear matte and velvety in texture.

Moisture Recovery Cream*
This cream is described as a 'cocooning cream' and works to provide those that suffer with dry skin with the plant lipid nutrients required to be nourished and comforted every day. The cream is still lightweight but works beautifully to help restore moisture into the skin.

Moisture Rescue Cream*
This enveloping cream works to nourish deep-down and acts as a lipid-replenshing bandage to immediately restore the skin's comfort, softness and suppleness. It's the thickest moisturiser in the range, and is perfect for those with very dry skin. Whilst my skin isn't particularly dry, when it is feeling a little parched I like to use this as an intensive over night moisturiser - and it works wonders.

These moisturisers smell lovely - the main active ingredient in all being nourishing grape, but they each have a different selection of anti-oxidant and soothing ingredients which help to give them a gentle, but pleasant scent.

If you're looking for a new moisturiser I'd definitely recommend taking your pick from this collection. Caudalie is a gorgeous brand, and one that I fully trust to provide me with excellent skincare, always.

Each moisturiser in the range costs £23 and can be picked up in a Caudalie store, or online.

Which of these moisturisers would you be likely to try? 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Cactus Ring Holder


I popped into Joy on my lunch break last week to pick up a card for my boyfriend, and typically ended up walking out with a present for myself. Having just moved house, I'm constantly on the lookout for cute pieces to add to our home, and as soon as I laid my eyes on this darling little cactus ring holder, I knew it had to be mine.

It's the perfect little item to store all my favourite rings and looks incredibly cute on my dresser. I'm really into cacti and succulents so it fits in really well dotted amongst the real versions I have throughout the house.

Joy is such a lovely store for treasures and trinkets and is my go-to for buying cards as they have such sweet designs. If you're looking for a birthday present for a friend, I'd really recommend checking them out as you're certain to find something perfect.

What do you think of my cactus ring holder? 

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser


I'm a big fan of cleansing balms having tried a plethora over the past few months, so was excited when the one of my all time favourite skin care brands, Antipodes, sent over their Grapeseed Butter Cleanser* to try. The reason Antipodes are one of my number one loves is because their entire product range uses sustainably sourced, fresh ingredients, combined with extensive scientific research to create effective, results orientated skincare.

The Grapeseed Butter Cleanser works to soothe and remove impurities from the skin, using a blend of nourishing cocoa butter, soothing olive and harekeke oils. For those like me who have sensitive skin, the addition of lavender and blue chamomile work to ensure this product is gentle enough for use by all skin types.

The cleanser has the consistency of coconut oil - its solid at room temperature but quickly melts into a blendable oil when rubbed into your palms. I slather this over my face in the evening, massaging it into my skin to dissolve makeup and take away the layer of dirt thats collected on my skin throughout the day. Finally, I wash it off using a warm muslin cloth and am left with bright, soft, completely cleansed skin.

Whilst the cleanser is designed for all skin types, in my opinion it would definitely be extra beneficial for those with extremely dry skin. It's a little pot of goodness, which leave my skin feeling soft, nourished and clean and is a real pleasure to use. It can be picked up for £22.50 from Beauty Bay, which I think is a fair price considering only a small amount is required each day.

What are your favourite cleansing balms? 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Gooseberry and Pecan Crumble Cake


This cake is definitely not your most stereotypical dessert, but after discovering it at a recent family BBQ it's one I had to share. The cake brings together the classic combination of gooseberries and elderflowers - which herald the start of summer and it's soft sponge and crumbly topping makes it the perfect dessert for this time of year - a real crowd pleaser.

For the cake: 

  • 125g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 125g small gooseberries (the smaller ones have better flavour) - topped, tailed and halved
  • 3 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125g self raising flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
For the crumble:

  • 125g plain flour, sifted
  • 75g chilled unsalted butter, in pieces
  • 40g golden caster sugar
  • 75g pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
Before you get started, preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C) and lightly butter and line a 20cm springform tin. Next, put the gooseberries and elderflower cordial in a pan and cook gently for a few minutes until the fruit softens a little. Strain and set the fruit and juice aside separately to cool. 

To make the crumble top - put the flour in a bowl and add the butter mixing the two together with your fingertips to form a rough crumble mix. Stir in the sugar and set aside. 

For the cake, take a large bowl and use a hand held whisk (or Kitchen Aid if you're so blessed) to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in stages, mixing between each addition; if it starts to curdle, add a spoonful of flour. Fold in the remaining flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, then the gooseberries and lime zest, mixing gently. If the mixture feels really stiff, add a little strained gooseberry juice. 

Once your mixture is ready, spoon it into the tin and smooth. Sprinkle the crumble over the top, right to the edges and bake for about 40 minutes. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

To serve, scatter the pecans on top and cut into slices. If you have any remaining juice, drizzle a little on top. I'd recommend serving this with vanilla ice cream or gooseberry fool, which we picked up in Marks & Spencer.

Do you like the sound of this cake?