Sunday, 31 August 2014

How To Style the Pheobe Crossbody with Burkatron

This week, we gave the lovely Burkatron blog the task of reviewing our fun Pheobe crossbody bag, which she took along with her upon her recent trip to Ireland. 



Burkatron explains that she doesn't normally opt for a small bag but loved the Pheobe so much that she couldn't resist! She soon discovered however, that it’s a great size for fitting in all of her bits and bobs, as she managed to carry her phone, assorted make up, purse, glasses, passport, car keys, and sweets. See! We told you that it was deceptively big.

As she enjoyed a day out in the lovely Irish countryside, she teamed her Pheobe crossbody with a pair of summer perfect floral shorts, a simple white t-shirt and golden sandals. What do you think of her #NicaHandbags style? Why not drop us a comment below and let us know?!  


Our Pheobe is definitely one of our favourites from our latest collection, and it’s already becoming a firm favourite amongst some of our favourite bloggers too. It’s a timeless shape that transcends the seasons, and even more so if you opt for a classic hue such as black, yet it’s also finished with fun foxy hardware too for an unexpected Nica style twist. 


If you fancy adding a pop of colour into your outfit to make the most of the rest of the summer days or cheer up your forthcoming autumnal wardrobes, then, you’ll be happy to hear that the Pheobe crossbody is also available in mustard or raspberry. 

If you want to learn more about Pheobe’s day out to Ireland with Burkatron, then, head over to her blog where you can enjoy her full review here.

What’s your favourite Nica handbag from our currentcollection? Why not drop us a comment below? – We’d love to find out! 

Friday, 29 August 2014

#NicaBakeOff: Mary Berry Style Roulade!

This week, for our #NicaBakeOff challenge, we decided to test out one of Mary Berry’s very own recipes, as we opted for a delicious chocolate roulade. - And with great success, as it tasted delicious!

We followed the recipe from BBC Food, and here’s how you can make your own:


Ingredients
175g finely chopped dark chocolate
6 free-range eggs
175g caster sugar
2tbsp cocoa powder
300ml double cream
Sprinkle of icing sugar


Step by Step


1) Pre-heat oven to gas mark 6

2) Grease the inside of a 33cm by 23cm swiss roll tin and cover with some greaseproof paper.

 

3) Simmer some water in a pan, and place a bowl over the top without touching the water in which you melt the dark chocolate.

4) Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff but not dry. If you turn the bowl upside down, they shouldn’t fall out!

 

5) In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and creamy.

 

6) Gently fold the melted chocolate into the whisked egg yolk mixture.

 

7) Gently stir 2 large spoonfuls of egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then, fold in the remaining egg whites with a metal spoon.

 

8) Sift the cocoa powder over the mixture and fold in.

 

9) Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm. 





10) When the cake is cool, lay down a piece of greaseproof paper on the table, dust slightly with icing sugar, and put the roulade on top.

11) Whip the cream until it holds shape and spread onto the cake leaving a 2cm boarder around the edges.

12) Roll up the cake to form the roulade shape. 

13) Finish with a gentle dusting of icing sugar. 


Then, all’s that's left to do, is sit down and enjoy a slice with a cup of tea! Have you been getting into the #GBBO spirit? 

If so, why not drop us a comment below and let us know what you’ve been baking? Or, why not share your baking photos with us @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram?




Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Intrepid Long Haul Trips of a Lifetime


If your taste for travelling extends further than the nearest sun lounger then take a walk on the wild side with the help of Nica. Traverse the globe with life affirming treks to Mongolia, Morocco and Croatia. Try some of these ideas on for size.

Drive to Mongolia


Perhaps the greatest adventure you can go on by car, the Mongol Rally will test your endurance to the limit. Driving across mountains, desert, remote terrain and a sizeable chunk of Europe and Asia, you’ll literally be in the driving seat, free to explore the globe on your own terms.

It’s a daunting challenge; the rules state that no accommodation plans can be made in advance and from the second you leave, you’re out there on your own. Your car could break down in Siberia or you might get lost in Kazakhstan, but the possibility of anything happening is what makes this challenge so exciting. 

Teams can be 2-4 people strong and on average around 270 teams enter the rally annually. If you’ve got an amazingly thick skin, 3 months to put aside for travelling and fab fundraising skills then the Mongol Charity Rally could be your ticket to ride.

Hitchhike to Morocco


1,200 miles, 4 countries, 8 days- it’s not a challenge for the faint hearted but since Hitch started in 1992 some 8,500 people have taken part. Considered one of the cheapest and greenest ways to see the world, the Hitch to Morocco will take you deep into France and Spain before arriving in North Africa.

Travel with a best mate, partner or if you’re feeling super brave a mystery Hitcher organised by the company. It’s all in aid of charity and the generosity of drivers often extends to free accommodation, meals and friends for life.

Volunteer in Honduras


Are you a budding Dr Doolittle? With volunteering placements in Honduras, you can combine your love of animals and thirst for travel.  On a remote island location boasting azure sea and white sandy beaches, wildlife enthusiasts are given the opportunity to care for iguanas, trek in mangrove swamps and share experiences with likeminded volunteers.

For more unique travelling programmes such as this one, visit Original Volunteers to see what’s available.
Have we inspired you to take the plunge? Share your most exciting travel plans with us by leaving a comment below or tweeting us @Nica_Handbags.




Thursday, 21 August 2014

Lido Loving: The UK's Best Outdoor Pools and Lakes

Put your hands up if you’re looking forward to the dawn of autumn…Ahem. Whilst we love picking out our new season coat and stomping down the high street in winter boots, we’re not quite ready to wave goodbye to sunny Jim just yet.

And that’s why armed with towels, bathing suits and summertime tunes, we’re off to find the UK’s best outdoor swimming pools. Why not make the most of the last days of summer with Nica?

Feel the Heat at Beccles Lido in Suffolk

After raising over £300,000 to buy the deteriorating pool from the council, the local community have completely transformed the Beccles Lido. Situated next to the gorgeous River Waveney, the refashioned swimming pool boasts a diving board, giant inflatable playground for big kids at heart and a charming cafĂ©.

We all know how hit and miss the UK weather can be but luckily the Beccles Lido is heated to ensure a toasty swim whatever the forecast.


Indulge in Open Water Paddling at Cotswold Country Park and Beach

The Cotswolds is a place full of sublime, chocolate box villages and lush greenery, but it’s also home to Keynes Country Park - a picturesque beach and lake excellently situated on the fringes of Cirencester.

With kayak and cycle hire at your disposal, you can go wild swimming in the lake, revisit your childhood at the adventure playground or dip your toes in the sand at the UK’s largest inland beach.

Swim Beside the Seaside at Tinside Lido


As far as outdoor lidos go, you’re unlikely to find a better location than Tinside. Literally on the seafront, Plymouth’s iconic lido is absolutely lovely on a sunny day and it’s completely free too.  The art deco design will transport you back to the 1920’s making it a superb setting to pose for vintage style snaps with friends.

While you’re in the area, a look around the surrounding Plymouth Hoe is a must. A focal point of the city, the spectacular backdrop of the harbour is beautiful and there are an abundance of grassy areas and sensory gardens to while away the afternoon with a picnic. Be sure to take a trip to Smeaton’s Tower – a striking fairground esque lighthouse dating back to 1759.

Share your favourite places to take a dip with us. Leave us a comment in the box below or tweet us your pool suggestions @Nica_Handbags.






Wednesday, 20 August 2014

#NicaBakeOff: Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

Here at Nica HQ we’re all massive fans of the Great British Bake Off, so, in anticipation of watching the new series each week, we've decided to start our own #NicaBakeOff!

Each Wednesday, a member of Nica HQ will be sharing one of their delicious recipes with you right here upon our blog. Plus you can keep up with all of our bakes and sweet inspirations by following our new #NicaBakeOff Pinterest board



So, first up we’re beginning our bake off with some delicious vanilla flavoured cupcakes finished with vanilla butter icing. They’re super easy to make and only take around 40 minutes!

Ingredients


For the Cake:

2 medium beaten eggs
75g self-raising flour

110g caster sugar

110g butter

2 – 3 drops Madagascan vanilla extract 



For the Butter Icing:
2 to 3 drops Madagascan vanilla extract
175g icing sugar
75g unsalted butter 

chocolate sprinkles



Step by Step 

1) Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4.


2) Beat 2 medium eggs in a bowl.


3) Mix together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon.


4) Gradually mix in the beaten eggs.


5) Add the Vanilla extract.


6) Take a metal spoon and fold in the flour.


7) Place spoonfuls of the mixture into cupcake wrappers. 


8) Bake in the oven until golden brown and firm to the touch for around 15 to 20 minutes. 


9) Leave to cool before decorating with cream.


10) For the cream, mix together the unsalted butter with the icing, and add in the vanilla extract until the mixture is light and spreadable. If desired, add in some water until you achieve your preferred consistency.

11) Spread the cream upon the cooled cupcakes, and top with a dash of chocolate sprinkles. 



Et voilĂ ! That's how easy it is. Have you been inspired by our baking? If so, why not show us your bakes by tagging us @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram. We can't wait to see. 







Wednesday, 13 August 2014

How to Throw a Quintessentially British Picnic

Is there anything more quintessentially British than a picnic? We don’t think so. From scones and perfectly prepared cucumber sandwiches to presenting your feast stylishly, throw the best picnic in the park this summer.

Make it Memorable


The secret ingredient to every great picnic lies in the detail. Take time to choose the perfect location depending on the company you’re with. If you’ve got the time why not make a day trip out of it and head to a local beach or national park?

For an authentic picnic experience a traditional wicker basket is essential. Add a large, stylish blanket that can accommodate everyone, cosy cushions for comfort and vintage plates and cutlery to achieve that quintessential British charm. If you’ve got portable speakers why not create a playlist featuring British songs from The Kinks, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones? After all, every experience is enhanced with music.


Food with Heart

There’s nothing better than homemade British picnic food; cucumber sandwiches with the crusts sliced off, fruit scones with lashings of cream and jam, posh sausages wrapped in light, flaky pastry, pretty pink lemonade…The list goes on. Be sure to pack a good variety of savoury and sweet food so that everyone’s palette will be satisfied.

Make the occasion memorable with special finishing touches; colourful drink accessories, Victorian dainty cups and beautifully presented salads. It’s probably obvious, but don’t forget cutlery, plates and serviettes- without these your picnic will turn into a culinary assault course and no-one wants that. 

A classic picnic basket is an absolute must-have and usually comes with compartments to store all your picnic essentials. We personally love wicker basket styles with a plaid interior- they’re just so chic. You can track down picnic baskets in antique shops, vintage boutiques and our personal favourite; car boot sales. 

Last but not least, channel British summertime with a nautical dress, straw floppy hat and regal red lipstick. Can’t fit all your picnic goodies in the basket? The Nica Grace Weekend bag in decorative print is ideal for storing all those stray odds and ends. Spacious and stylish, you’ll want to take it everywhere.

We’d love to know where your favourite picnic hotspots are. Share your best loved places with us by leaving us a comment below or tweeting us @Nica_Handbags.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Nica’s Festival Survival Guide



Festivals have become a right of passage for every 20-something with a taste for music, but when it comes to packing many of us go into meltdown mode. Contrary to popular belief, itty bitty denim shorts aren’t going to cut it in colossal monsoons and as for that discount tent? Forget it. Pack smart and follow our tips for a flawless festival experience.

The Festival Packing List Dilemma



Festival weather is a real lottery, and for anyone who likes to dress fashionably, this spells disaster. But we’ve discovered a secret weapon this year: enter the transparent rain mac. We already confessed our love for this nifty garment in a previous style post. A practical rain mac won’t spoil your outfit choice, is easy to fold away and will keep you warm and dry. Now you won’t need to pack the kitchen sink in order to hold onto those style credentials. We can’t recommend one enough!

When it comes to luggage, a backpack is your best friend. Nobody wants to be lugging a family sized suitcase over muddy terrain and besides, walks from car parks to campsites can often take up to an hour.

If you’re after something a little more substantial luggage wise then the Nica Grace weekender is a festival saviour. And it even comes with a travel sized make-up bag which you can pop into your backpack for on-the-go beauty.


Embrace the Traditional


In many ways festivals are alternate realms, primitive holiday resorts which also offer gourmet halloumi and mojitos at sunrise. And even though you can wave goodbye to hot showers, phone signal and personal space for the best part of the week, embrace it. It’s actually quite refreshing to be newsfeed free for a few days and to fully immerse yourself in this temporary, exciting place.

Bring Your Own Drinks



Festivals are wateringly expensive and besides, nobody wants to miss Arcade Fire on the main stage because they’re stuck in a never ending queue. Bring a hipflask and a reusable water bottle with a lid- these are absolute must-haves.

Step Outside of your Comfort Zone



Last but not least, expect the unexpected. You’ll meet fancy dressed festival goers, catch amazing live performances when you least expect them and take home remarkable memories if you step outside of your comfort zone. So, spend time away from the main stage.

What do you think- have we missed out any crucial festival survival tips? Let us know by tweeting us @Nica_Handbags or leaving us a comment below.




Monday, 4 August 2014

How To Style the Lizzy Crossbody with A Daisy Chain Dream Blog

This week, we can’t wait to share our beautiful new Lizzy crossbody with you! So, to show you just how great it is, we asked the lovely A Daisy Chain Dream blog to test it out.


Opting for the raspberry hue, this style is also available in classic black and tan, a fun mustard pop, or party ready metallic! A Daisy Chain Dream says ‘it’s the perfect size for popping essentials in for an evening out or a trip to the shops’, and the amount of colour options make it all the more easy to go from day to evening.

We aim to create beautifully unique designs that can be incorporated into a multitude of styles, and our bags often infuse classic shapes with a modern twist as to create that little bit of Nica quirkiness that you can transcend the seasons with. Plus, A Daisy Chain Dream mentions that she always finds our bags of a super high quality which last for ages, which really does mean that your #NicaHandbags can last all the way from one summer until the next.  


Love the Lizzy style? We’re also offering you the chance to win your very own in collaboration with A Daisy Chain Dream, who’s currently running a competition over on her blog for her lucky readers. Why not head over and find out more?! 


Teaming her Lizzy crossbody with a simple white dress and sandals, it’s a perfectly understated outfit to embrace the summer sunshine with. How would you style yours? We’d love to see, so, please don’t forget to tag us in your stylish photos @nica_handbags on Twitter and @nicahandbags on Instagram.
 
If you can’t stand the wait of testing your luck with our joint competition, then, why not snap up your very own new #NicaHandbags from nica.co.uk right away?!



Friday, 1 August 2014

The Urban Butterfly Blog Reviews our Lauren Grab

It’s always lovely to meet some of our favourite fashion bloggers and discover that they love our #NicaHandbags! This week, we turned to the Urban Butterfly blog once more, and asked her to review our gorgeous new Lauren grab style.

Image Source

The Lauren grab infuses the classic Doctor’s bag with a modern twist, and is a great size for carrying around those daily essentials. Don’t just take our word for it, though, why not read Urban Butterfly’s review? – Who says: ‘The size is perfect as I do not travel light, it fits all the things that I need to cart around with me on a daily basis’.


She also adds that ‘the raspberry colour is ideal for summer but a great splash of colour we head into autumn / winter’, but if you’re still undecided about completing your outfits with a splash of colour, then, rest assured that the Lauren grab is also available in the classic hues of black and tan. You’re spoilt for choice! 

Image Source 

Urban butterfly does also provide us with a dash of outfit inspiration by opting for a vintage style polka dot dress and kitsch love heart heels. It’s a great retro style that shows just how easily you can work a raspberry hue into your wardrobe. 

Plus, we've also teamed up with the lovely blogger to offer her readers an exclusive 15% off their next full price purchase at Nica.co.uk. For more information, and of course, to read her full Lauren grab review, why not go for a peek over at the Urban-Butterfly blog?

To discover how more of our favourite bloggers are styling their #NicaHandbags, follow us on @nicahandbags on Pinterest and check out our bloggers’ hall of fame! 

Do you have a favourite Nica handbag yet? Why not get in touch and drop us a comment below, we’d love to discover which your favourites are.