Blogmas Day 13: Festive Books

We’ve made it half way! How are you enjoying Blogmas so far? Today is all about Christmassy books. It is safe to say that in my time I’ve read my fair share of Christmassy books, ok, they’ve mostly all been Chicklit books, but I do love a good Christmas book! So today I thought I’d share with you some of the Christmassy books that I’ve read πŸ™‚

img_3383

Christmas with Billy and Me – Giovanna Fletcher

I’m not sure I share enough how much I love the Billy and Me books by Giovanna Fletcher, but “Christmas with Billy and Me” is the sequel to Billy and Me and it is a short Christmas ebook.

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights – Carole Matthews

Photo 30-10-2017, 14 46 19

I read this book last month and loved it. I was originally going to wait until it came out in paperback but I couldn’t wait! This is a lovely Christmassy chicklit book that will make you want to bake loads of Christmas goodies.

I Heart Christmas & I Heart Forever – Lindsey Kelk

img_3384

I love the I Heart series by Lindsey Kelk and these two books are no exception. Both are set around Christmas, so you’re bound to get your Christmas fix reading these books.

I’ll Take New York – Miranda Dickinson

This book is obviously set in New York during Christmas. It was the first book by Miranda Dickinson that I read and I absolutely loved it and couldn’t put it down. πŸ™‚

A Girl’s Best Friend – Lindsey Kelk

Another Christmassy Lindsey Kelk book! “A Girl’s Best Friend” is a fantastic book, combining the “I Heart” series with the “About a Girl” series. Again, set in Christmassy New York it is a great read.

The Christmasaurus – Tom Fletcher

I know this is a kids book, but is is absolutely brilliant and I loved reading it. In fact I may read it again now in the lead up to Christmas!

The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas – Carole Matthews

If you’re looking for a book that is Christmassy, but not too Christmassy (and also Chicklit) then “The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas” is a great book to read πŸ™‚

The Christmas Party – Carole Matthews

I really enjoyed this book when I read it 2 years ago. I don’t think it is as good as the other Christmassy Carole Matthews books, but it is still a great festive read! πŸ™‚

Calling Mrs Christmas – Carole Matthews

I LOVE this book. I read it so quickly because it was too good to put down. It definitely has to be one of my favourite Christmas chick lit books and I would highly recommend it if Chicklit is your thing!

The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop – Caroline Roberts

Finally, “The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop” by Caroline Roberts. I really enjoyed the book and am really looking forward to the new one written by her which I’ve just downloaded to my kindle.

img_3382

I really love reading Christmassy books. Have you read any of these? What is your favourite Christmas read?

Advertisements

Blogmas Day 12: Christmas Hot Chocolate

One of the best parts about Christmas for me is no doubt the Costa Christmas drinks. From the start of November Costa start selling their Christmas drinks, from iced Christmas coffee and chocolate to coffees, teas, hot chocolates, and not forgetting their Christmas cakes!

Photo 18-11-2017, 13 46 41

I was first introduced to Costa’s Black Forest Hot Chocolate when I was in my 2nd year of uni, and I’ve been a convert…. Until last year they changed the recipe so it had almond in so I couldn’t have it 😦 But Black Forest Hot Chocolate is back to it’s old recipe now and is amazing! It is a lovely cherry flavoured hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and the best bit… Cherry sauce! πŸ˜€

Photo 21-11-2017, 11 59 13

Next up is the mint hot chocolate. I love Costa’s mint hot chocolate, it is minty and chocolatety, topped with whipped cream and I think they’re like sparkly green digestive biscuit pieces. I tried this for the first time last year as a replacement for Black Forest Hot Chocolate and it didn’t disappoint! πŸ™‚

Photo 05-12-2017, 10 27 20

Finally, new for this year is the Billionaire Hot Chocolate. A caramel flavoured hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and little caramel biscuit pieces. Think of millionaire shortbread, it kind of tastes exactly like that. It tasted amazing! I’ve only had one of these so far this year, but I’m pretty sure if the opportunity arises I’ll try some more.

Photo 02-12-2017, 11 03 33

Do you have any favourite Christmas drinks? Have you tried any of these Costa drinks, if so which is your favourite?

I’ll see you tomorrow πŸ™‚

Blogmas Day 11: Gingerbread

Christmas isn’t complete without gingerbread! I was looking forward to using my new Christmas cookie cutters and my new rolling pin to make some gingerbread. And I decorated some this time, which doesn’t usually happen! πŸ™‚

Photo 01-11-2017, 19 52 14

I don’t think this recipe is as good as my other gingerbread recipe I use (see here) but it does still make a pretty tasty biscuit.

Ingredients (makes around 20 biscuits)

200g plain flour (plus some extra for rolling)

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp mixed spice

pinch of salt

100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced

75g light muscovado sugar

2 tbsp golden syrup

1 egg yolk

Writing icing (if decorating)

1. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt into a bowl.

photo-08-12-2017-13-41-23.jpg

2. Add the butter and rub in until it resembles fine sand/breadcrumbs

Photo 08-12-2017, 13 46 12

3. Add the sugar and mix in

4. Mix the golden syrup and egg yolk together in a bowl.

5. Add the syrup mix to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Then gently knead the dough until it is smooth and all sticks together nicely.

6. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough to around 4mm (the recipe says 2mm which is far too thin!) then cut out shapes.

7. Place the shapes on to a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 4 (180 degrees) for 12 minutes.

8. Leave the gingerbread to cool slightly before moving them on to a cooling rack. Then once they’re totally cool you can decorate the gingerbread with writing icing.

Are you all enjoying my recipe posts? My other Blogmas recipes are Gingerbread cupcakes and Rudolph Cupcakes (click on them to see them) πŸ™‚

Blogmas Day 10: Cosy Evening

One of the things I love best about this time of year is the excuse for cosy evenings. Hot chocolate, candles, fairy lights, blankets, fluffy socks, TV, films, baths, onesies… etc. all make for a lovely cosy autumn/winter evening.

Today I thought I’d share with you some of my favourites for a cosy evening πŸ™‚

Bubble BathΒ 

Photo 15-10-2017, 10 32 31

Complete with my trusty rubber duck πŸ˜€ I love a good bath and bubble baths on winter evenings are great! Especially if you’ve put your pyjamas on the radiator so you have warm PJs to change in to πŸ˜€

Fairy LightsΒ 

Photo 07-10-2017, 21 54 22 (1)

I love my fairy lights and LED candles at this time of year and love curling up in bed with a film on with these on πŸ™‚

Candles

Photo 07-12-2017, 11 42 42

I wish I was more of a candle person but I’m always terrified of forgetting to blow them out so I never leave them on long enough! But I love my candles this time of year.

Christmas LightsΒ 

Photo 06-12-2017, 16 46 47 (1)

Christmas time isn’t complete without some kind of Christmas lights!

Books and Films/TV

Curling up in bed with a good book or film definitely feels right at this time of year too!

Hot ChocolateΒ 

So I kept meaning to take a photo of this but kept forgetting πŸ˜‚

Cosy PyjamasΒ 

So there we have it, some of my favourites for a cosy night in πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I’ll see you again tomorrow!

Blogmas Day 9: Reindeer Cupcakes

I love Christmas baking! It is a chance to get really creative and have some fun making some different cakes! πŸ™‚ While browsing through Pinterest I found the recipe for some Rudolph/Reindeer Cupcakes so couldn’t wait to give it a try! πŸ™‚ I thought they’d be quite difficult and awkward to make but actually they were really quick and easy and good fun πŸ™‚

Photo 02-12-2017, 20 39 46

I used the recipe hereΒ πŸ™‚

Ingredients (makes 12):

125g butter, softened (I used stork)

175g caster sugar

2 eggs

200g self raising flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

100 ml milk

100g dark chocolate

Ingredients for the frosting and decorations:

50g dark chocolate

3tbsp double cream

Giant chocolate buttons

Smarties or M&Ms

Pretzels

Black writing icing

White mini marshmallows (sliced)

Photo 02-12-2017, 20 39 40

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 (170 degrees) and line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases.

2. In the microwave gently melt the dark chocolate, once melted leave it on the side to cool.

Photo 02-12-2017, 19 02 38

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well combined then mix in the flour and cocoa powder. Mix well so everything is combined. Fold in the milk and melted chocolate and mix gently until the milk and chocolate are mixed in.

4. Spoon the mixture 2/3 full into muffin cases then cook in the oven for 20-25 mins (until skewer comes out clean) (N.B. Mine took quite a lot longer than 25 mins to cook).

Photo 02-12-2017, 19 16 01

5. While the cakes are cooking in the oven, very gently over a low heat melt together the chocolate and cream and whisk well until smooth. Then set it aside to cool.

6. Once the cakes are cooked and cooled use a spoon and pallet knife to spread some icing over the top of each cake.

Photo 02-12-2017, 20 28 15

7. Using a bit of writing icing stick the smartie or M&M to the chocolate button to make Rudolph’s nose, then stick it to the cake.

Photo 02-12-2017, 20 34 08

8. Stick the chopped marshmallows as eyes and use the writing icing to make the pupils.

9. Put the pretzels on as ears πŸ™‚

Photo 02-12-2017, 20 39 40Photo 02-12-2017, 20 39 46

I Love these cakes they’re really easy to make and look fun! πŸ™‚ Plus they tasted great! πŸ™‚

What is your favourite Christmas bake?

 

 

Blogmas Day 8: Christmas Shopping Tips

Christmas is a bit of a difficult one for me this year. Being without a job and only a certain amount of money to my name for an unknown amount of time means I’m having to be a bit more cautious about how I’m spending my money. So today I thought I’d share with you some of my Christmas shopping tips, both general and for Christmas on a budget πŸ™‚

1. Plan in advance. Try and get some idea of what people want in the lead up to Christmas. If necessary subtly drop hints to get information!

2. Write down what you find out/think of. It may only be June or July but if you’ve got a great idea write down the gift idea so you don’t forget it.

3. Work out how much you can sensibly spend on each person you’re buying for.

4. Start early. Come November is probably a sensible time to start looking for presents. Look in Black Friday if anything you want to buy is on offer. Also, if you’re buying beauty gifts, Boots and Superdrug have pretty good deals on weekly so it’s worth keeping an eye.

5. Think about DIY gifts. This is a big thing for me this year. I’ve bought presents for my mum, dad and brother but I can’t afford to buy things for grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins too. So I’m going for a DIY option this year!

6. Look around for the best deal. The days have started to go where DVDs/CDs were much cheaper online. These days you can get equally good (if not better) deals in supermarkets and even HMV.

So there we have it, some of my Christmas shopping tips πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I’ll see you again tomorrow πŸ™‚

Blogmas Day 7: Browsing Christmas Clothing

I’m not too sure how today’s post will go, but we’ll give it a go! I originally wanted this to be a mooch around town taking photos but I don’t often go in to town so I figured browsing online would be just as good!

Maybe we’ll call today a bit of a Christmas clothing wish list shall we? πŸ˜€

BeFunky Collage

So what did I find in my browsing? (From left to right)

Penguin all over print pyjamas – M&S. These pyjamas look really comfy and warm! And I love the print πŸ™‚

Fleece Penguin Print pyjamas – M&S. These pyjamas are a fleece material which I love the sound of but I’m not sure I could ever wear them to bed without getting too hot! They’d be lovely for lounging round the house though!

Penguin Print PyjamasΒ – M&S. I love the little slogan on these “Leave a little sparkle wherever you go”!

Star Print Pyjamas – M&S. My last set of PJs from M&S would be the star print ones. They’re kind of Christmassy but also not Christmassy so you could wear them year round πŸ™‚

BeFunky Collage2

Again from left to right πŸ™‚

Polar Bear and Penguin Print PJs – Sainsburys. Two of my favourite animals are polar bears and penguins so I love these pyjamas! Shame I don’t need any new ones though!

Polar Bear Jumper – Sainsburys. This jumper is adorable! Although I’m not overly sure about the sequins!

Polar Bear and Penguin Jumper – Tesco. Again, two of my favourite animals! It’s so cute! πŸ™‚

Rudolph Jumper – Tesco. I love this jumper BUT I’m not overly keen on the 3D pom pom for Rudolphs nose! Without it it would be the perfect jumper for me! πŸ™‚

BeFunky Collage3

Polar Bear Pyjamas – Tesco. How cute are these?!

Tatty Teddy Pyjamas – Tesco. I love Tatty Teddy, and these pyjamas are no exception. It is a fleecy top which I think would be really snug and warm! πŸ™‚

Winter Scene Pyjamas – Tesco. I’m amazed actually on how much nice Christmas clothing Tesco have online! I love these pyjamas and you could definitely get away with wearing them all winter! πŸ™‚

Finally, Moose Print Pyjamas – Next. I don’t usually shop at Next but after seeing them on Giovanna Fletcher’s Youtube video I thought I’d take a peak! They’re so cute (as is the video – you should really watch it πŸ˜‰ )

I think I’ll leave this post here now today πŸ™‚ I could have spent ages searching even more shops online but I don’t want to bore you to death! πŸ˜‰

I’ll see you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 8 πŸ™‚