Wednesday, 22 November 2017


Last Friday Marks and Spencer invited me to a fun, festive event to celebrate the launch of their Beauty Advent Calendar. On the agenda was making our own gingerbread houses at Biscuiteers icing cafe in Notting Hill. I arrived at the shop a little earlier before the event was scheduled to start at 6pm, so had a few moments to explore the oh-so-pretty venue. Biscuiteers not only specialise in biscuits but also chocolates and cakes too, all of which are available in a creative range of designs and individually handmade and iced. It was so cool to see all the different biscuits they had to offer up close (they even do personalised dog biscuits!) and I can't help but think that they would make the most perfect and special Christmas gifts. Once all the bloggers had assembled, it was time to go downstairs where the Biscuiteers team had laid out an attractive spread of snacks (mince pies, Percy Pigs, crisps etc.) and prosecco along with the foundations of our gingerbread houses and plenty of coloured icing. The idea was to construct a house much like the Advent Calendar shape and they showed us one they had made earlier as an example, which was astonishingly detailed to say the least, with snowflakes sprinkling the walls and reindeer along the roof. We were given an hour and a half to complete our gingerbread houses from start to finish, and despite this sounding like an ample amount of time, I soon realised that icing decorations was not as easy as it looked, and soon was left feeling quite like I was on The Great British Bake Off. I approached the sides of my house first, drawing in windows, grass and speckles of snow. Controlling the flow of the icing from the tube was something that I couldn't quite master, even by the end, and I did end up with varying line thicknesses throughout. Regardless of doing a messier job than I would've liked, I was quite pleased with the design I came up with in the short space of time. I threw in a snowman, some stars, my name and finally a tiled rooftop and the final result looked pretty cute if I say so myself. I was wrong to think that the hard part was over though as once all the iced decorations had dried, it was time to put the house together. Working in sections with white icing to cement the pieces together, it was very helpful to have a friend to hold on to certain sides whilst you ice and align everything so everything dries correctly and securely. I was super stoked to finally meet one of my favourite bloggers Holly from The Kitty Luxe, not only had we been online friends for ages, it turns out she's pretty nifty at the art of building gingerbread houses. She's an engineer too so we were definitely hoping her gingerbread house wasn't going to collapse (spoiler alert: it didn't). I struggled a bit more with mine as the roof kept sliding off even though I'd already reinforced it with more icing than was probably necessary, I'm guessing either I was not patient enough to have waited for the "cement" to fully dry or I didn't line up the edges of the roof 100% correctly but boy oh boy, those pesky panels just would not stay put. In the end I held onto it for longer as the other bloggers started packing up and washing their hands and only very carefully let it go when the Biscuiteers team took it to wrap up. It was amazing looking around at everyone's finished products, all the bloggers were super creative with their designs and I couldn't believe that we'd actually made our own gingerbread houses! The general consensus was that we'd hardly touched the refreshments either as we were so deep in concentration. I feel like I totally got an arm work out with all that piping and icing! 

Along with our gingerbread houses, we were also gifted the M&S Beauty Advent Calendar which instead of chocolate, contains 25 beauty products: a mixture of skincare, cosmetics, and hair care amounting to £250 value but retailing for only £35 when you spend £35 on M&S clothing or homeware both instore or online. It's the perfect countdown to Christmas for any beauty junkie and I can't wait to open the doors, see what surprises lie for me and try out some brand new beauty bits. I think it might be cool to do a YouTube video unboxing the advent calendar too so be on the look out for that! A huge thank you to the M&S and Biscuiteers team for such a fun night, I'm now staring at my gingerbread house wondering whether to continue admiring it or start devouring it...

*This post was sponsored by Marks & Spencer but all opinions are my own.

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