D I Y   B R I D A L   B E A U T Y . . .

One of the aspects of the wedding I was without doubt most nervous about in the lead up was getting my makeup right. The pressure of having to look your absolute best on a day when you’ll have a camera being pointed at your face almost from the second you open your eyes in the morning, until the moment the clock strikes midnight and you wave your last goodbye to your guests, is pretty full-on!

I deliberated for weeks about whether or not to book a makeup artist to do it for me, but eventually decided to ‘forgo the pro’, and do my makeup myself! There were 101 reasons behind the decision, but the main one was that Jason had this worry that if someone else did my makeup for me, I’d end up not looking like myself on our wedding day! He was so very anxious about it and felt so passionately that he always loves how I do my makeup myself, and since I was was pretty divided and couldn’t makeup my mind one way or the other, it helped make the decision for me.

Doing my makeup myself actually turned out to be such a fun challenge! And, my friends, it also turned out to be an *excellent* excuse to buy a whole load of new makeup, so if ever you needed a reason…;)


After experimenting with endless different options, I decided to go for a very soft, natural grey eye makeup look for the day. I knew I wanted an eye makeup look that would be defined enough that it’d hold up to a camera, but not something so heavily smokey that it’d look out of place in our church ceremony. We’d chosen a fairly cool-toned palette for the day (in everything from the flowers to the bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s suits), and since warmer colours can be pretty hit and miss on me anyway, going for a cooler neutral look was pretty much a no-brainer!

I’ve put together a tutorial below of how I did my eye makeup for my wedding, and a full list of all the products I used for the rest of the full look shown in the photos above! And since I’ve already had a few questions from soon-to-be brides about how it was DIYing my makeup, I’d say, go for it! So long as you’ve done a few practise rounds of the look, and leave yourself plenty of time on the actual morning so that if any mistakes happen you’ve got time to fix them, you’ll be just fine! Looking back on it now, taking 45 minutes to myself that morning to do my makeup was probably the most calm and peaceful period of the whole day, and I was so very grateful to have a moment of quiet to reflect and gather my thoughts on the most exciting ‘whirlwind’ day of my life.


P R O D U C T S ::
Foundation – Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation {Shade 5}
Concealer – Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer
Powder – Bare Minerals Touch Up Veil {Shade Light}
Eye shadows – Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics and Urban Decay Naked palettes
Brows – Urban Decay ‘Primal’ shadow
Liner – Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal {Shade 001 Black}
Mascara – Benefit Roller Lash
Blusher – Benefit Bella Bamba
Bronzer – Benefit Hoola
Highlighter – MAC Mineralise Skin Finish ‘Soft + Gentle’
Lip liner – L’Oreal Indefectible Lip Liner ‘Always Toasted’
Lipstick – Max Factor Colour Elixir ‘Simply Nude’
Lip gloss – L’Oreal Infallible Gloss ‘Protest Queen’

** Photos from the wedding by Sam Docker, tutorial photos by me.


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I like to think that nail varnish is one of the few things we can legitimately treat ourselves to during December, a month in which buying for oneself is unoffically prohibited. Within my family anyway, we try to hold off buying ourselves the things we want most during the weeks leading up to Christmas, so as not to spoil any surprises that might be coming our way on the 25th. Not that we always manage to stick to that rule…but we try! And that rule is especially important since both my sister and I are December babies, so we’re double trouble to buy for!

Nail varnishes are just tiny enough to slip under the radar though, if you ask me. You can totally  sneak them into the house tucked away in the depths of your handbag after a Christmas gift-buying expedition, and your fiancé will never, ever realise that there’s another little bottle been added to your already somewhat silly collection. So I’ve heard, anyway…

I went through a funny phase of not wearing nail varnish for months and months (laziness got the better of me) but just recently I’ve been back on a major nail polish kick. Today, I’m sharing five of my absolute favourite nail varnish shades for wearing throughout winter, as well as the Christmas season. Oh! And whilst we’re talking of laziness- that Bourgeois 1-second nail varnish remover is witchcraft, I tell you! Honestly and truly, it removed two/three coats of even the darkest colours photographed here in a single swipe, without even a jot of staining! Well worth picking up.

Now, let’s talk colour… 


T H E   E L E G A N T   G O L D ::


Essie ‘Buy me a Cameo’ - £7.99

I love this polish for two reasons- 1. Because it’s easily the most wearable, elegant shade I’ve ever tried on. It finishes off just about any outfit imaginable (and I like to think makes you look like the sort of woman who only ever wears matching underwear, and never forgets to brush her hair), and 2. It dries quicker than a flash. On countless occasions I’ve thrown on a coat or two of this just before running out of the door in a mad panic, and found it’s dried even before I’ve reached my car. Truly the best thing to have on hand (Ha. On hand. D’ya get it?) for those ‘I can’t go to this wedding/meeting/fancy meal out with bare, unmanicured nails’ emergencies.

T H E   T R U E   R E D ::


Tanya Burr cosmetics ‘Riding Hood’ – £4.99

It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable wearing red polish. I’d always felt that you could only pull off red if you had beautfifully long, almond shaped nails, and since I have just about the squarest nails you’ll ever come across and an extreme aversion to long nails, I thought it just wasn’t for me! But slowly slowly, as it’s become de rigueur to have shorter nails, I decided that maybe it was time to dip my toe into the scarlet-hued waters. This shade is a beauty. It applies smoothly, and is the most festive shade of red imaginable. Maybe the perfect Christmas day nail colour?

T H E   M U T E D   G R E Y ::


Essie ‘Master Plan’ – £7.99

Even though Christmas and winter are traditionally a time for bright, jewel-toned shades, I just can’t help but go muted and minimal every now and again too. A grey-toned nail varnish is go-with-everything staple, and truly, you just can’t go wrong with Essie. This one dries quickly and applies smoothly, and is the beautiful elephant-grey shade I love so much. Wear with black skinnies, a Breton and a red lip, and do your best impression of a super-chic Parisian.

T H E   I R I D E S C E N T   M I D N I G H T   B L U E ::


Max Factor Colour Effects ‘Cloudy Blue’ – £3.99

This one might just be my favourite from the whole selection. Navy nail varnish is always a winner in my book, and so one shot through with the most incredible iridescent, sky-at-night shimmer was bound to be a good’un. It sort of reminds me of those galaxy nails that were popular a couple of years ago, but without all the effort of having to mix colours! ;) Oh, and since it’s important to know these things, even though I didn’t use a top coat after applying this (I just bought a new one, and found it was smashed when I open up the packaging, sob!) it still lasted a good couple of days without chipping. With a decent top coat, I reckon it’d be a solid five day-er!

T H E   P E R F E C T   P L U M  ::


Essie ‘Bahama Mama’ – £7.99

Bahama Mama has been my favourite autumn/winter nail varnish since time immemorial. I mean, just look at it! It’s just dark enough to be classed as ‘vampy’ (but not so dark you feel like you’ve journeyed back to your pre-teen goth phase- yep, I had one…) and makes a statement that says ‘I take the winter months seriously, don’t you know’. It’s my favourite shade to wear with a simple nude trench coat and a wide-brimmed hat, for days spent wandering through Christmas markets and  drinking mulled wine that matches the colour of your nails.


What I wore :: Pyjamas by Yawn.

Which colour’s your favourite? Do you go bright and sparkly over the Christmas season, or stick to elegant, muted shades? :)


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When it comes to coffee-making, things have moved on a bit in our house since my last tutorial. A ROK espresso machine arrived in the post a couple of weekends back (delivered by a delivery man I see so often we’re now on a first name basis…) and has been the cause of a mini-coffee revolution around these parts. As much as I loved my old 6-cup Bialetti stovetop pot, being able to brew just enough espresso for one (sublimely tasty!) coffee is brilliant beyond belief. And it doesn’t hurt that the ROK a thing of beauty, either. Let me tell you more about it…

ROK-portafilter ROK-espresso-machine

The coffee machine is a manual one, which ROK say gives greater control over the espresso it makes. You just fill up the little portafilter with ground coffee, use the tamp to press it all in tight, pour freshly boiled water in to the top of the machine, then push down the two metal arms to force the water through the coffee grounds and brew the espresso! It’s blissfully quiet, and like I said previously, brews just the right amount of espresso to make a generously sized latte/flat white/cappuccino. I’ve been so impressed by the quality of the coffee too- the only thing that isn’t so amazing is the little manual milk frothed that comes with the machine, but I’m still so happy with the little Bodum one I bought during summer that it’s not been a problem at all! It looks so very swanky too- I was nervous that it would look out of place in our little kitchen, but it’s so handsome I’ve been leaving it out on show 24/7!

Now, let’s get on to the cinnamon part of this cinnamon-themed tutorial.

Making-espresso-with-ROK Untitled-1

To make the cinnamon syrup that’ll flavour the coffee, just put one cup of water and one cup of granulated sugar into a saucepan. Then break up 3 cinnamon sticks, and add them in with the water and sugar. Heat the mixture over a medium flame until the sugar has completely dissolved, then simmer for 8-10 minutes until the syrup has thickened ever so slightly. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve, and then decant into a bottle.

To make the latte, brew an espresso using your coffee machine, and heat up enough milk to fill your mug two-thirds full. Take it off the heat just before it boils, then use a milk frother to whisk up the milk and get a nice velvety foam. Pour the milk into the espresso, and then add in a couple of drops of the cinnamon syrup. It makes the coffee taste extra rich and smooth, and more festive than should be legal so early on in autumn!

Cinnamon-syrup-recipe Cinnamon-latte-recipe Homemade-Starbucks-cinnamon-latte-recipe

The ROK espresso machine is available to buy from Selfridges, who sent me through this one to test and review here on Cider with Rosie. It’s definitely more of an investment than the pod coffee machines that are so popular right now, but in my opinion is in a whole league above when it comes to making great coffee. Perhaps one to put on this year’s Christmas list?


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Confession: In the past year or so, I’ve become a pretty hardcore coffee addict. Up until about the middle of last year, tea had always and forever been my preferred hot drink of choice- there are even photos of me drinking milky tea from a little bottle as a toddler! But slowly, gradually, my taste for coffee has grown, and now I’d rather have a lovely latte or punchy flat white over a cup of my beloved English Breakfast!

Recently a few lovely Cider with Rosie readers have asked if I might put together a tutorial for how I make the iced coffees that so frequently appear on my Instagram feed, and also how to create that pretty layered effect that fancy cafes make in £3.50 a pop lattes! Though I’m by no means a professional or expert when it comes to making coffee, I have made more than my fair share of lattes and flat whites over the past few months, and have really begun to settle into a little routine of how I like to make my coffees at home. So, let’s get brewing!

Now, let’s talk coffee-making-equipment. There are a billion different ways to brew coffee at home- from expensive bean to cup machines, to the humble and traditional filter method. I use a Bialetti stovetop coffee pot to brew my coffee, which costs around £20 and makes enough espresso for about three or four generous lattes. I used to use a cheaper, non-branded version of the Bialetti (before I accidentally forgot to put water in it before filling it with coffee and putting it on the hob, and set fire to the coffee grounds…) and would definitely recommend going for the Bialetti over any other. It really is brilliant!


Though I’m currently hankering after a bean-grinder (as well as a fancy milk frother, and a lifetime supply of Monmouth beans), right now my favourite coffee to use at home is either Lavazza’s ground espresso, or Starbucks medium blend ground coffee. The Lavazza is a much finer grind than the Starbucks blend and so is noticeably richer, but quite a bit smokier too. It really comes down to personal taste which you’d prefer to drink. Jason absolutely loathes the Lavazza, for example, but I adore it! Most blends available in the supermarket cost around £3/4 for a 250g bag, so it won’t have cost much more than a Starbucks/Costa latte if you buy a blend and decide it’s not for you. Now, for the ‘how-to’!

What you’ll need:
Enough ground coffee or espresso to fill up your coffee machine/stovetop pot/cafetiere
Semi-skimmed milk
A flavoured syrup, or brown sugar
A milk frother (I just recently bought this Bodum milk frother, and am really impressed with it!)
Ice (if you’re making your latte iced, of course!)


- To make a regular latte (not an iced one) just fill up your coffee pot, and brew some coffee. At the same time, measure out enough milk to fill your mug/glass/cup to about 2/3 full, then heat the milk until it’s hot, but not boiling. I do mine on the hob in a milk pan, because we don’t have a microwave and also because I prefer to be able to watch it closely whilst it heats up.

- When the milk is nice and hot, transfer it to a tall jug and use a frother to whisk it until it’s softly foaming and really velvety. Careful not to over-froth it, or we’ll end up with the sort of stiff foam you tend to find on top of a cappuccino instead of a latte! Pour the milk into your mug or glass, and add a small layer of soft milk foam on top.


- Now, for the fiddly part! Take a spoon, rest it on the edge of your glass as shown in the photo above, and lay the tip of it so it just about touches the top of the milk. Slowly, *very* slowly, begin pouring coffee over the back of the spoon into the glass. Try and keep the stream of coffee pretty thin here, and pour with the pot held really close to the glass or else it’ll create too much movement in the glass and split the layers. I find it easiest to put my glass right on the edge of the kitchen work-surface so that I can get the top of the coffee pot level with the glass before I begin to pour, as it’s the easiest way to control the stream of coffee.

- Keep pouring really slowly and carefully until you’ve got about 1/3 coffee to 2/3 milk in your glass, then step back and admire your handiwork! Add sugar to taste (or a flavoured syrup if you’d prefer), stir, and enjoy!

How-to-make-layered-latte Layered-brown-sugar-latte

- To make an iced latte, you can either use freshly brewed warm, or cooled espresso. I tend to brew a pot of coffee in the morning, drink a shot or two of it warm either in a latte/flat white or just with a little sugar, and then let the rest go cold to be used in iced lattes.

- Put two or three ice cubes into a glass, then add in a splash of syrup for sweetness. In the amount of coffee shown in the photos, I used one capful of Starbucks own vanilla syrup.


- Pour in enough milk to again fill your glass about 2/3 full, and then carefully begin pouring in espresso directly onto one of the ice cubes. Pouring the coffee onto an ice cube will slow down the stream of coffee as it hits the milk, and allow it to float right on top! If you’re using warm espresso here, it might be easier to just pour over the back of a spoon again because the ice will melt too fast otherwise.

- Keep pouring carefully, then when you’ve got about 1/3 coffee to 2/3 milk, stop pouring and again step back to appreciate your handiwork! Add a straw, mix, and enjoy!

Iced-latte-recipe Iced-latte-marbling

And that, as they say, is it! I think it’s such a lovely way to serve coffee at the weekend, or if you’ve got friends round for coffee and a slice of cake. The layering might seem a palaver but is *so* satisfying to do, and even if the layers do break it’ll still create a pretty ombre effect in your coffee!

Do let me know if you give it a go, and don’t forget tag me in on Instagram using the hashtag ‘#ciderwithrosiecooks’, so that we can all be cliches and ‘gram our coffees together! ;) Happy layering!


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