Saturday, 27 June 2015

Why am I changing my blog name?

The more observant of you will have noticed that my blog name, at the top of my site, has changed. At the beginning of July, I will also be changing the URL to match so this site will become ''.
You may be wondering why?
For ages, I haven't felt happy with the name 'Holly Olivia Creates', I think it restricts what I can and can't post about and also associates me solely with sewing, and I want to be able to post more store-bought outfit posts, book reviews and recipes on my blog, which I feel like I can't do now. I will still share the clothes that I make on here, they just won't be the primary focus.
I also think that now is the best time to change it, as changing it once my blog grows in popularity again, wouldn't be the best idea.

I am really looking forward to re-launching my blog in time for its first birthday, and I am excited about what lies ahead for it. Above is my original blog layout, it has changed so much in the time I have had it, and I am excited to alter it further when I change the URL: making it a total blog re-brand.
Here's hoping you like the new layout and branding as much as I do!

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x
Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Quick and easy gluten free breakfast

Since finishing college for this year, I have been able to have more time for breakfasts, which is good as it allows me to put together different bowls of  granola, and even make fresh granola once I've woken up! This recipe is for a gluten free version of my granola, but you could substitute the gluten free oats for 'normal' oats, if you don't have problems digesting gluten, like I do. 

Honey granola

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed when I posted a photo of my breakfast a couple of weeks ago, this is the recipe for the breakfast I featured on there. To make the granola, I combined gluten free oats, ground ginger, sunflower seeds, flaked almonds and crushed pecans. I don't have a set ratio  that I use, I just add as much of each ingredient as I want to be in the granola. I'm someone who really likes nuts and seeds, so I added quite a lot into my granola, but you can just add however much you want. I then mixed all the dry ingredients with enough honey to combine all of the nuts, oats and seeds. To bake, I used a fan oven at 180 degrees Celsius and cooked the granola until it was golden brown. (About fifteen minutes). I tried Icelandic style yogurt recently, and I much prefer it to other natural yogurts, the texture is a lot thicker and it tastes nicer, like yogurt mixed with creme fraiche. I chopped up some strawberries and combined them with the yogurt to eat with my granola. To top it off, I added more crushed pecans and sunflower seeds.  

Alternate serving suggestion 

I also like to add slightly more fruit to my breakfast sometimes, to make it healthier and as a lot of fruit is in season now, it isn't too expensive! For the above breakfast, I added one sliced peach and a couple of strawberries in with my yogurt and granola. I think it'd also taste really good with banana, mango, raspberries or passion fruit. Don't worry, I didn't eat the succulent. 
If you try this granola recipe, be sure to let me know on Instagram or Twitter!

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x
Friday, 19 June 2015

My Etsy shop

Just a quick, bonus post this week! If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter (both @hollyoliviablog), you may have noticed that I recently set up an Etsy store selling artwork! I am starting A level fine art in September, and am doing an intensive A level- so the whole course in a year. Obviously, most of the things I sell in my Etsy shop are more illustrative and won't take hours upon hours to do, unlike the art I'll do next year. I just want to sell some of the drawings and paintings I do a lot in my spare time, to earn some money and kick start my career early. 

Soon, I'll be adding prints of my photographs, once I create a watermark so that no one can steal my photos, so keep your eyes open for that. I hope you stop by for a look or add my shop to your Etsy favourites, even if you don't buy anything!

My shop link is- or you can click here.

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x
Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Audrey Hepburn in 'Sabrina'

A couple of months ago, we were invited to a 40th birthday party for our neighbour. The theme was to dress as a movie star, or film character, when I heard I automatically knew I was going to go as Audrey Hepburn. I already had a pattern for the LBD she wore in the 1954 film 'Sabrina', so I decided to go with that.

I made the dress from some black satin fabric, from 1st For Fabrics (of course), using a pattern from 'Famous Frocks- The Little Black Dress' by Dolin Bliss O'Shea, which I reviewed at the start of my blog here. I did have quite a few issues whilst making the dress, but I mostly blame myself for not reading the instructions properly and opting to make it up as I went along instead, whoops. Disclaimer, the reason my legs are a weird colour is because I wore skin toned tights, so as to protect my modesty if I twirled around on the dancefloor, sadly they don't do skintone tights in 'snowman'. My Grandma lent me the clutch bag, as she knew it'd go well with my outfit and it was just the right size for carrying my lipstick, concealer and phone in. The shoes were from Outfit last year, and are the ones I wore to my year eleven prom. 

I am not very skilled at makeup, I think the height of my makeup abilities is a smoky eye, but I thought I would still share my process for this look, incase anyone is interested. For my base, I used Revlon Photoready foundation in the shade 002- vanilla. I then covered my spots and blemishes using the Soap and Glory Kickass concealer in the shade 'light', using the Ecotools foundation brush. I hate using a brush for foundation, because it always leaves me with brush marks on my face, but I love this brush for blending concealer in. As I'm not the best at makeup, I only ever shape my brows, but Audrey had quite dark eyebrows, so I filled mine in using an eyeshadow brush and the darkest shade from the Bourjois smoky eyes palette in 01- gris dandy. I know, I know, my technical abilities aren't great when it comes to makeup. I then used my Bourjois blusher in shade 34 Rose d'Or, with an Ecotools blusher brush, to add some colour to my face. 
For my eyes, I used the Bourjois Intense Smoky palette in 61- Rose Twiste, to create a nudey pink smoky eye effect. In terms of eyeliner, I love the Soap and Glory Supercat pen, it's easy to apply and lasts all day- as well as being really affordable. I lined my eyelid and added a small flick, like Audrey used to. I then finished the look off with my eyelash curlers, Rimmel Scandaleyes XXtreme mascara and a deep red lipstick, which my mum lent to me. 

The most difficult part of this look was definitely the hair. Audrey had very short hair, and my hair is almost to my waist when straightened, so it took a lot of pinning up. I just twisted sections of my hair into spirals and secured them at the back of my hair using bobbypins, and a hell of a lot of hairspray. The party was really fun, even though the DJ didn't play the ChaCha slide, or the Macarena, which I personally think is a scandal. I'm not sure when I'll wear this dress again, it seems too dressy to wear casually, but will come in handy if I get invited to any weddings or even just for Christmas. 

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x
Tuesday, 9 June 2015 review

You may remember me posting a Wishlist for a little while ago here. I ended up ordering some things from the site, as they are all so lovely and international shipping was only around $10- how could anyone resist?

The first item I ordered was this recipe book. We have a book to write down all the recipes we find, but I didn't have a specific one for my gluten free recipes. I've been on a gluten free diet for a year now and prefer to keep all of my food and cookery books away from the 'gluten family members', as it makes it easier to find them when I need them. As I said on my original post, I love the design and the fact that it can be customized to feature your name is really lovely! You even get to customize the product further by choosing what type of paper to have and what you want on the inside cover. I opted for the patterned paper on the inside cover and lined paper, as I thought it looked the nicest and that the lined paper would be best for writing recipes onto. I've already begun writing in smoothie and breakfast recipes, as well as my new favourite gluten free pizza recipe. (Made out of a sweet potato!)

The second item I got was this flamingo print planner. I struggled this year without having a diary/planner to write down deadlines and homework for college in, so I got this for next year. (It'll also come in useful for planning blog posts!) Minted have so many lovely notebooks, but I really liked the front cover on this one and again, it was able to be personalized with my name-which is a huge bonus! I opted for the patterned paper inside cover again here, and I love the variety of page types it has. There is a calendar for 2014/2015 as well as a week-by-week diary and notes pages. I was also surprised that it contains stickers, which are really cute and illustrated with symbols to remind you about dates, hair appointments and holidays. 

The third item I ordered was a yard of this fabric, which I made into an A line skirt. The colour was slightly lighter than I had expected, but I really like the slightly paler shade anyway and the print is really pretty. The fabric itself has a lovely feel to it and is quite sturdy, which will be good for helping the skirt keep its shape. I haven't washed it yet, so I can't comment on how well it washes but I am sure it'll be fine as the quality is great from what I've found so far. Also because it's designed by an independent artist, it's just that little it different from what can be found in the shops. The cost of around £20 seems very reasonable for a unique little number! I will be styling this skirt up for a fashion post soon, so look out for that!

You can shop Minted's collection of journals here.
You can shop Minted's fabric collection here

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x
Saturday, 6 June 2015

Feeling like Stevie Nicks

I officially finished my AS exams last Thursday and I feel so relieved! (I only had two academic exams, but still) Since my business exam yesterday I've been working on my Audrey Hepburn 'Sabrina' costume and on opening up an Etsy shop selling artwork, as well as watching worrying amounts of Game of Thrones. I'm definitely looking forward to this time next year when I'll have left college for good. 
Friday was my first day I'd had for months where I wasn't working or worrying about exams, and my dad has Fridays off work, so we went for a walk around Whitley Bay. I dropped off my black and white film to be developed, and also found a Frida Kahlo book in a charity bookshop for £1.50- so a good day all-in-all.  
We later went to the beach to take some photos of what I was wearing. For some reason, this outfit makes me feel like Stevie Nicks, I think it's the hat and floaty clothing combo. 

The dress was a bargain in the Primark sale (£5!) a couple of months ago, and I love the shape and slightly botanical print. It was quite hot yesterday, but still windy so with the fact that I feel the cold easily and the unpredictable nature of British weather, I decided to wear my pink trench style coat with it. I also wore a Primark floppy hat and my 'Gatsby' shoes. Yes, I know I have ladders in my tights but I like them and shall continue to wear them up to the point when my knees are exposed, then I'll bid a fond farewell. 

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Macro photography

The other week we went on a family holiday to Derbyshire over the bank holiday weekend. I don't really like camping, but I did enjoy going on walks to take photos near the campsite we stayed at. I really like macro photography; especially photographing flowers as they look so much more beautiful close-up. To take these photos I used my Nikon D3200 DSLR on the macro setting, and using a manual focus. 

One of the things I love about using a manual focus when taking photos is that, you are in control of what you focus the camera on within the frame and it can make your photographs look very dream-like. Using a softer focus really makes certain parts of the subject pop and stand out, which makes a much more interesting photograph, in my opinion. It was quite unusual for me to have so many landscape orientated photos, my photography teacher always comments on how I take portrait photos all the time, even when I'm photographing landscapes! I think I just feel more comfortable holding my camera portrait. 

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x