Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests making a batch of old fashioned fudge in July to help bring more harmony to your everyday life.

My Favourite recipe for fudge comes from the Edmonds Cooking Book

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 TBS cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 25 g butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence

Put sugar & cocoa in a pot. Mix to combine. Add milk & butter, heat gently, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved and butter has melted. Bring to the boil. Do not stir. Let mixture boil until the soft ball stage. Remove from heat. Add essence & leave to stand for 5 minutes. Beat with a wooden spoon until thick. Pour into buttered tin & cut when cold.

Cole Porter

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests listening to Cole Porter July to help bring more harmony to your everyday life.

I have added to my music player

  • Anything Goes
  • Begin The Beguine
  • Every Time We Say Goodbye
  • I Get A Kick Out Of You
  • I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  • It’s De-Lovely
  • Lets Do It
  • Miss Otis Regrets
  • Night And Day
  • Don’t Fence Me In

and they are lovely to listen to in an apron while cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Red Rose

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests treating yourself to one long stem red rose for your desk in July to help bring more harmony to your everyday life.

Lisa O’Neil in her book Look Gorgeous, Be Happy: What a Woman Wants says that its not just the actual beauty & amazing smell of the flowers that make you happy but also the reason for having them. That you have enough time to grow & pick them or you have earned enough money to buy them or that you have done something wonderful to be given them.

Red Lipstick

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests in July wearing red lipstick to help bring more harmony to your everyday life.

Trinny & Susannah in their book What Your Clothes Say About You: How To Look Different, Act Different And Feel Different remind us that in the evening you need to add some drama to your look. Red lipstick can be stunningly sexy if applied correctly. First apply a wax filler like Body Shops Wax Filler to reduce bleeding. With a rock steady hand take a lip pencil in an identical colour to your lipstick to outline the fullest shape of your lips without going outside your lip line. Finally apply the red with a lip brush. For extra staying power, blot your lips and then apply another layer. For a more sexy and less tarty look use a matt lipstick rather than a gloss. They recommend Tango Red Lipstick by Laura Mercier.

In their book Who Do You Want To Be Today: Be Inspired To Dress Differently they give us step by step instructions to achieve luscious bombshell red lips

  • To make your lipstick last all day start with a good primer as a base (Chanel)
  • Use a lip wax pencil around your lip line to stop any colour bleeding (Benefit)
  • Use a small brush and dot concealer around the rim of your lips. Brush it in to smooth out the shape of your lips.
  • Using a lip brush start painting in your cupids bow, then do the centre of your bottom lip and finally fill the colour in from the sides. Blot your lips with a tissue and repeat building the colour up in two, three or four layers. (Chanel or Mac)

And they teach us how to choose the right shade of red lipstick

Cool & Bright

  • Hair: white blonde, ash brown, cool mid brown, dark brown, silver or salt & pepper (definitely not red, auburn, ginger or yellow)
  • Skin: alabaster white, olive or black (no hint of red or freckles)
  • Eyes: dark or have dark rim around iris
  • Red lipstick shade: Fuchsia, Wine or Pillar Box (MAC)

Warm

  • Hair: red, chestnut, auburn, ginger, strawberry blonde or yellowish grey
  • Skin: Sallow or freckly (not dark)
  • Eyes: pale blue, brown, hazel or dull green
  • Red lipstick shade: Tomato or Brick (Mac)

Mid Tones

  • Hair: dark blonde, mouse brown, mid brown, mid auburn or dull grey
  • Skin: blue undertones, pale & washed out or peaches & cream
  • Eyes: green, aqua or blue.
  • Red lipstick shade: Fuchsia or Pillar Box (MAC)

 

Perfume

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests in July wearing perfume everyday to help bring more harmony to your life.

Trinny & Susannah in their book What Your Clothes Say About You: How To Look Different, Act Different And Feel Different, remind us that perfume goes off after a while and ends up smelling like cat pee.  So have a thorough cleanout of all those half used perfumes from Christmas past and little sample bottles that came free with cosmetic purchases. If they are still good use them to freshen your car, linen drawer etc…

Scent is a very powerful memory trigger. In the morning, after your shower, dab on a little of the perfume you normally wear. Does it make you feel somewhat melancholy, wistful and sad? That may be because it is reminding your subconscious of a time in your past that you were unhappy. Those ghosts must be laid to rest by getting rid of that perfume.

Next is to find a perfume that makes you truly happy. Go around the department store and try many different scents, not on your wrist but on the little paper tester strips that the sales assistants will have hidden under the counter. Don’t be seduced by the packaging, the advertising or the sales pitch. Take the strips away with you and keep sniffing them in turn. The perfumes true scent will develop after about half an hour. The right scent for you is the one that instantly lifts your spirit every time you smell it. Now go back to the shop and try it on your wrists, again wait half an hour for the perfume to react with your body chemistry before you finally decide to lay your money down.

Wear only a little, perfume is a source of delight not a substitute for deodorant.

They recommend trying Blush eau de perfum by Marc Jacobs

In their book Who Do You Want To Be Today: Be Inspired To Dress Differently they talk about the power of scent to help you tap into  different moods. They give the following suggestions to help you bring out your inner:

  • Bombshell (hot & Sassy): Woman by Jean Paul Gaultier
  • Gamine (innocent & childlike): Miss Dior Cherie by Dior
  • Cutting Edge Cool (original & experimental) Truly by Stephen Burlingham
  • Androgyne (girl in boys clothing) Man 2 by Comme Des Garcons
  • Ice Queen (Enigmatic, cool perfection) Channel No 5
  • Avant Garde Eccentric (individual intellectual) Arpege by Lanvin
  •  Diva (sultry & Sexy) Pearls De Lalique by Lalique
  • Sophisticate (assured & stylish) White Jasmine and Mint by Jo Malone
  • Rock Chick (wild & strong) Pure Poison by Dior
  • Minimalist (calm & authoritive) Bois 1920 Vetiver Ambrato by Perfumus Firenze
  • High Maintenance (expensive & slick) Black Orchid by Tom Ford
  • Boho (arty fairy) Daisy by Marc Jacobs

Hyacinths

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggests that in July you start forcing some bulbs of Hyacinths to help bring more harmony to your everyday life. She says that you should visit a nursery to purchase hyacinth bulbs for forcing to blossom inside to brighten your spirits and home with fragrance and colour in winter.

Lisa O’Neil in her book Look Gorgeous, Be Happy: What a Woman Wants says that its not just the actual beauty & amazing smell of the flowers that make you happy but also the reason for having them. That you have enough time to grow & pick them or you have earned enough money to buy them or that you have done something wonderful to be given them.

So although it is one of my goals for July to force some spring bulbs to flower inside, I am currently time poor. However I am very happy that I have earned enough money to buy them and I truly feel that no matter how I got them, their colour & fragrance will still brighten my spirits & home this winter.