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Easy Gift Wrapping ideas

By December 12, 2019 EVENTS, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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Today’s post is brought to you by our graphic designer, Alicia, also known as the Queen of DIY. If you love buying Christmas presents but hate having to wrap them, her tips on gift wrapping will be just what you need to create gifts that are so beautiful they won’t want to open them!

 

Alicia

Hi Everyone,

If I had to give one piece of advice when wrapping presents it would be to not get too worried about it. I would say the majority of people are just glad to be receiving a gift and won’t be too critical of your wrapping. Having said that, it is very nice to receive a beautifully presented gift, so I’ve tried to focus on a few ways to approach gift wrapping that will hopefully have a little something for everyone’s tastes and needs.

General tips on gift wrapping

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Choose quality wrapping paper to avoid rips and tears to the paper. Thicker paper tends to be more durable.

I recommend using your imagination and go one step further than just wrapping paper. An extra touch like ribbon, twine, string, feathers, or tiny ornaments can add lots of texture and interest to your wrapped gift. The possibilities are endless but adding these items can elevate your gift from an ordinary looking gift to something quite special.

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Image from: Half Baked Harvest

If you’re using tape, let it only be clear adhesive tape. Nothing is worse than a gift wrapped with brown tape!

Use natural elements

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One of my favourite things to do when gift wrapping is to incorporate natural elements into the wrapping. I find this to be a very pretty, inexpensive way to prepare gifts. Dried leaves, acorns or sprigs of fir and holly give such a beautiful touch to a present. If using these items I tend to stick with simple, plain wrapping paper so that the natural elements really stand out. To make it extra Christmasy, I often include dried fruit and spices such as dried oranges and cinnamon as they give off such a warming, cosy scent.

Do the world some good and recycle

As lovely and festive as Christmas is, it is also a time of huge waste and consumerism. An good way to tackle this is to be creative and recognise that there are lots of ways to reuse items in your home to create beautiful wrapping for your gifts.

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• Newspaper is one of the best examples of this. Collect old newspapers you have lying around the house and use this to replace traditional wrapping paper. If you want to spruce it up a bit, you can paint shapes on to the newspapers in traditional red or gold colours and wrap it with ribbon.

Box-Wrap

• Fabric scraps are another excellent and novel gift wrapping idea. Old cushion cover fabric or printed scarves can make the most beautiful wrapping. Wrap up your gift in the fabric and tie with ribbon or why not delve further into the world of craft and try out the Japanese art of fabric wrapping called Furoshiki.

 

Dealing with awkward shapes

Sometimes your presents don’t come in the most wrapping conducive shapes, for example a sports equipment or a teddybear. One of the easiest ways to deal with those oddly shaped presents is to use a box. Any box will do, ones with lids tend to be nicer, but even a cardboard box would work because you can decorate the outside. Some ideas for decorating a plain box could be, wrapping the entire box with wrapping paper orwrapping  it with a huge ribbon which will make such a statement under a Christmas tree.

 

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If you’re determined to that wrap that present with wrapping paper, there are lots of tutorials on the web showing step by step instructions to some of the most common, awkward shapes. I found this website helpful in the past.

Well, I hope that these ideas have been helpful and given you some new ideas to add to your gift wrapping skills for Christmas and beyond.  Giving gifts is an act of love and care for people in your life and it is so nice to create a moment of pleasure and enjoyment for another when they receive a beautifully wrapped gift. Good luck with the wrapping!

Happy holidays to you all!

Alicia xx

 

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The History of Cashmere

By November 5, 2019 FASHION, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION, Travel
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Cashmere has a long history going back many hundreds of years. The origins of this natural fibre comes from the cold, mountainous regions of China, Mongolia, India, Turkey and Afghanistan. For centuries, local people sought the hircus goats for the fibres of their coats that were long, silky soft and warm to help the animals survive the harsh conditions of winter. The fibres were combed off the goats and made into blankets that were prized for their superb warming ability. Early written accounts in the 15th century, describe the high quality of fibre from the kashmir goats of the Kashmir region. Thus the name Kashmir stuck and for many years Kashmir yarn was traded within the region.

Fast forward to the 18th century and the rise of the Imperial powers. Traders brought kashmir items back along the Silk Road from China to Europe and the Americas bringing much excitement. Initially kashmir was available exclusively to royalty and the elite members of society. It was considered the height of luxury and cashmere shawls or ‘pashminas’ particularly were a symbol of status and the pinnacle of a fashionable aristocratic woman. Even Napoleon was reputed to gift his wife Empress Josephine pashminas leading to a large and famous collection of pashminas.

The story of cashmere was advanced considerably, when in the 19th century interest by European manufacturers turned to creating mechanisms that could replicate the production of cashmere fibres into yarn as was witnessed in the East. Areas such as Scotland became powerhouses of cashmere production and a new era for cashmere was born. Cashmere rapidly gained popularity, particularly the cashmere sweater and twin set, sweater and cardigan- items that everyone wanted to have and show off. This would have perhaps continued, however popularity began to dwindle during the 1980s when cashmere was appropriated by high end designer brands who marketed cashmere as a luxury, highly expensive quality only accessible to the ultra wealthy.

In the last 15 years, cashmere has seen yet another shift, appearing on the high street for much lower prices. The proliferation of cashmere has meant a renewed increase in popularity, however mass production has also meant it is difficult to ascertain quality. There are now many brands claiming to sell cashmere, however the product is in reality a blend of cashmere and other fibres to achieve an inexpensive product or a lower grade, short haired cashmere item.

It is clear that cashmere has had many twists and turns in its history and it is hard to say what will be the next chapter for this yarn especially with the rise of mass production of the quality. What do you think? Do you own any cashmere? We are probably a bit biased here at Les 100 Ciels, but we do believe there isn’t anything quite like 100% pure cashmere-it is so soft and comforting to the touch and its warming qualities are undeniable- it is truly something to cherish..

Want to learn more about cashmere quality? Read more about this exquisite yarn here.

 

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Autumn Playlist 2019

By October 11, 2019 IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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Are you looking for some music to take you through autumn? Browse our chilled Autumn playlist for our favourite music to listen to on cosy evenings or lazy weekends, featuring new releases and some of our of older loves.

Listen to the playlist here

1. Drive by Oh Wonder
2. Autumn Leaves by Ed Sheeran
3. Youth by Daughter
4. Shadow Children by Mindy Gledhill
5. Lionhearted by Billie Marten
6. River by Leon Bridges
7. Atlas Hands by Benjamin Francis Leftwich
8. Pretty Thoughts by Galimatias, Alina Baraz
9. Ophelia by The Lumineers
10. Heart’s on Fire by Passenger

What’s your favourite songs to listen to during the autumn months?

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Autumn Winter 2019 Fashion Trends

By August 23, 2019 Editor's Picks, FASHION, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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As we near the end of summer, it’s that time when we start thinking about the arrival of the new season and inevitably our wardrobe. Today we’re highlighting some of the most exciting fashion trends for the Autumn/ Winter 2019 period so you’ll be ready and in the know once the season begins!

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1. Utilitywear

Yes , it is back again! Utility wear is one of those trends that comes back again and again. It is reminder that you can never go wrong with some utility inspired clothing in your wardrobe. For the coming season, try the trend in a neutral palette such as head to toe tones of brown and beige or go for the statement utility wear jacket or coat that you will last for years to come.

 

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2. Floral Noir

Florals, a summer favourite, have been appropriated for the colder months this season. All florals will be big this coming season, but unlike summer flowers, the trend leans towards a brooding, romantic style- think deepest-red roses stumbled upon in a forgotten garden in the dead of night. We love this trend as there is lots of room to transition from the summer months.

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3. Neon Brights

If you thought that neon bright colours were for the hot summer months you’d be wrong! This autumn/ winter we will be seeing neons in all shades and we’re pretty sure you will be seeing some head to toe neon looks prowling the streets day or night! If you love the idea, but it all seems a bit too much, consider adding just a pop of neon to your wardrobe. Neon shoes, accessories or trim details on your clothing are the perfect nod to a season trend without the fear of being mistaken for a road sign!

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4. Luminescent

Metallics were all over the runways, especially in gold and silver tones. They appeared in full metallic looks or sparkling separates. Metallics can add that extra texture and brightness to your outfit and is much easier than you would think to go from day to night. Pair an iridescent faux collar on a simple grey sweater and you’ve instantly vamped up your look.  You can also go big with the trend and wear contrasting metallics for a bold, statement look.

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5. Sharp Suiting

This season, the revival of tailoring is back and here to stay. From menswear inspired suits to waist cinching, slim and trim designs, there’s a lot of variety built into the trend. Choose your favourite and get the look! If you’re tired of wearing same old suits, why not try wearing a silhouette you’ve never worn before or add  your own unique touches, such as extreme shoulder pads (also a trend this season) or details like brooches or embroidery.

 

What trends do you love? Whether you love all of them or just a few, the trick with fashion trends is to just have fun with them. Don’t take it all too seriously and remember to make it your own. In the end, there is nothing quite like personal style to outlast any fashion trend!

 

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Summer Dishes

By August 16, 2019 Editor's Picks, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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When the weather is hot and humidity soars, eating can sometimes feel like a chore, especially when your recipe repertoire is full of dishes that leave you feeling hotter than your were! At this point, it’s good to have a little recipe refresher and seek out some inspiration from some of the best summer food friendly meals around. Here are a few of our favourites to get you inspired!

 

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Watermelon and Feta Salad

One of our all time favourite foods for a starter is watermelon and feta salad. This is so simple to make and is always a welcome start to a summer meal with friends.

Ingredients
Half a large watermelon
Feta Cheese
Mint leaves
1/2 red onion
tbsp Olive oil
Pinch of Salt

Instructions
Scope out of the watermelon and cut into cubes about an inch thick and then cube the feta into slightly smaller pieces. Chop red onion roughly (chop into smaller pieces if preferred). Tear up mint leaves and add all ingredients into a bowl, tossing lightly with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. For extra ‘wow’ factor, retain the watermelon shell and once all the salad ingredients are well combined, transfer it back into the watermelon shell for a delicious and impressive starter!

 

 Sommer-Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Gazpacho is essentially a cold soup, which for some can be off-putting at first, but if given a chance, this dish is brimming with flavour and is so refreshing in summer that we could not leave it off our list. Use your ripest tomatoes and give it a try- we’re sure you will love it!

Ingredients
7 ripe Tomatoes
3 Cloves Garlic
1 red onion
1/2 cucumber peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Parsley or basil for garnish (dependent on preference)

Instructions
Chop up all the ingredients and place in the blender. Add your olive oil and vinegar and blend all ingredients into a puree. Leave the mixture in a covered bowl to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Strain the puree through a mesh sieve and place the mixture in the fridge to cool. When thoroughly cool, pour gazpacho into bowls and serve with lightly chopped basil garnish. Tip: Prepare gazpacho a day in advance so flavours can develop fully.

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Salmon Fritters with Citrus Creme Fraiche

Salmon fritters are the perfect comfort food when a heartier meal is desired that still feels light enough to eat on a hot day. The citrus dip is the perfect partner to the dish to keep it all feeling light and fresh.

Ingredients
8 Smoked salmon slices
Spring onion (chopped finely)
1/2 onion (chopped finely)
1/2 cup flour
1 large egg beaten
1 /2 cup creme fraiche
1 large lemon
oil for frying
rocket for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Break up salmon slices and mix together with onion,  flour and egg in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a frying pan. Parcel out 1 tablespoon sized portions of the salmon batter and flatten in hand. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side and then take out of frying pan and place on absorbent paper. Repeat until all batter has been fried. Cut lemon and squeeze into a bowl. Add creme fraiche, spring onion and mix until all are well combined. Serve salmon fritters on a serving tray on a bed of rocket with extra smoked salmon slice and a dollop of citrus creme fraiche.

 

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Spinach & Tomato Quiche

A quiche and salad on a warm day is something of a British summer institution. Eat your quiche piping hot or have it cold from the fridge as a yummy leftover.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach leaves 
4 large eggs
2/33 cup milk
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese (or other cheese of your choice- feta cheese is also very nice)
1-2 medium tomatoes (cubed)
2 cloves garlic
mixed bag of lettuce
Store bought easy roll puff pastry (can also use short crust pastry)
1 Egg white (beaten)
salt and pepper
 to taste

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Unroll your pastry and lay out on a 10 inch pie dish making sure to pull it up and over the edges of dish. Wilt the spinach with the olive oil in a hot pan adding salt and pepper to taste. Add the spinach into the pie dish and then add in half the grated cheese. Beat the eggs and add the milk and crushed garlic. Pour this on to the spinach and then add the chopped tomatoes on to the top of the mixture. Finish off with a layer of the rest of the cheese. Layer a beaten egg-white wash over the edges of the pastry to ensure it bakes golden brown.  Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until a fork comes out clean from the centre of the quiche. Serve with a side of green salad tossed lightly in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

 

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Vietnames Spring Rolls

Add an asian flavour to your summer with these spring rolls that are so delicious you won’t want to share them with anyone! They are also so easy to make yet look impressive when prepared so you are sure to delight and surprise your guests with your skills in the kitchen!

Ingredients
Firm tofu
Rice paper wrappers
1/2 head of cobb lettuce
1/2 a cucumber
2 Carrots grated
Spring Onion
Fresh mint, coriander, thai basil

For dipping sauce
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 tsp chilli sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped peanuts

Instructions
Chop your cucumber and tofu into 1.5cm depth strips and about 4-5cm long. Chop the lettuce and all your herbs finely. Dip the rice paper in a bowl of warm water for 3 seconds ensuring it is fully submerged. It should come out of the water slightly firm so that you can easily lay it flat on to a ceramic plate. Starting at the edge of the rice paper closest to you, add all your fillings in very small amounts. If you have too much filling, it will be difficult to roll and the fillings will easily fall out. Once you have added all your fillings, pick up the edge of your paper closest to you and roll it tightly over the filling. Repeat until you have the desired number of rolls. For the dip, pour all the ingredients into a small bowl and stir vigorously. Place rolls on a serving dish with the bowl of dipping sauce.

 

We hope this has given you a few ideas for summer dishes. If you try them out, do let us know how you found them!

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Style icons through the decades

By July 30, 2019 FASHION, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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Over the years, there have been a few key female figures who have firmly held the title- style icon. These women were true trailblazers in fashion during their times, setting trends and creating movements. The true marker of a style icon is their lasting inspiration to women of all ages and periods. We have selected a few of our favourite style icons over the decades.

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Katherine Hepburn 1930s

An actress who shunned the press in favour of staying out of the spotlight, Katherine Hepburn was the original wearer of androgynous clothing. While her peers wore sequins, curve hugging clothing, Hepburn chose wide leg trousers and loose, crisp shirts. Her style was one of comfort and practicality and fashion houses followed her embrace of traditional menswear with designs for the modern woman. Her style is still referenced year on year on fashion catwalks around the world.

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Ava Gardner 1940s

An actress renowned for her beauty, Ava Gardner lit up television screens effortlessly. She was famous for making the neckerchief popular as well as the belted waist for a cinched in look. Her style was all about the glamour of Hollywood and her dresses and love of blue hues were immortalised in fashion history.

 

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Audrey Hepburn 1950s

Perhaps the epitome of a style icon is Audrey Hepburn. Actor and celebrity fashionista, her simple and classic style burst on to the scene in the 1950s and since then she has continued her legacy as a symbol of classic, elegant style.

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Jackie Kennedy 1960s

The wife of an American president, Jackie Kennedy became a fashion icon with her feminine and poised looks. Her two piece suits became the rage at the time as well as carefully coiffed hair and dark sunglasses. Her style was mimicked across the United States and spread around the world in popularity.

 

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Jane Birkin 1970s

A French model and singer who the world was enamoured with, Jane Birkin became famous for her cool, off duty dressing. It was a simple and effortless sense of style that was truly a diversion from the 70s flower power era and for this it was refreshing and alluring look for the period. Her classic jeans and a white tshirt have continued their legacy into present day.

 

 

 

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Madonna 1980s

One of the most controversial style icons is Madonna, singer and actress who challenged norms and always caused a stir!
From conical bras to patent leather boots and controversial references to Catholicism, Madonna has influenced trends and made huge statements in the fashion arena like no one else!

 

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Kate Moss 1990s

Model Kate Moss defined the 1990s with her pared down and minimalist style. Her thin frame was the perfect base for the simple slips, leather jackets and tailored blazers.  She is as much a style icon today as she was in this period with many looks coming back into circulation!

 

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Sarah Jessica Parker 2000s

SJP had a number of fashion titles under her belt in the 80s and 90s, but in the 2000s she truly shot to stardom with the Sex and the City tv series. Her on-screen character had an addiction to fashion and a shockingly large shoe collection which mirrored the real life woman’s love of fashion. Her style embraced experimentation, the mixing of textures and colours all with a strong feminine streak running through it.

The jury is still out on who will be our favourite style icon of the 2010s. In an era of social media with platforms like Instagram, we have so many more sources of inspiration for fashion and style. We’ll be back with a closer look at our current favourite style icons soon.

Who are your favourites?

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