Tuesday, 29 December 2015

What I Got For Christmas 2015

Hi all, hope you are enjoying your Christmas holiday and have maybe even braved the sales. I thought I would share what I got for Christmas, I got some things I’m really pleased with this year and was pleasantly surprised with some unexpected gifts too. I find these present posts super fun to both create and read. Seeing what people got for Christmas can be helpful for future gift ideas especially as somethings get reduced in the January sales. This time of year is a lovely opportunity to try things out that you wouldn’t normally. Although I write a Christmas list, I find the gifts that I wouldn’t necessarily buy myself can be more fun to use and experiment with later.

I will quickly talk you through some of my favourite gifts…. My Dad bought me some gorgeous fleecy PJs in an aqua blue colour, I have been loving wearing these in the house over the Christmas period. My Mum bought me an adult colouring book, I was so impressed with the catwalk illustrations as they look so inviting to colour in. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into some more baking now my Mum got me a snowman cupcake baking kit, I think I will attempt these before the New Year, look out for a related post.

I chatted to my Mum before Christmas about having my own Christmas budget and buying a few beauty gifts for myself from her that she would later wrap. With this money I got an Autograph fragrance set and a Rituals bath set. With money left over I got a Whittard hot chocolate set, I can’t wait to try the different varieties to combat January blues.

I got lots of other gifts I was pleased with but won’t ramble any further, I will let you have a nosy at the photographs. I hope you enjoy the spirit of these kind of posts as much as me, if you have a similar post you are very welcome to mention it in the comments. I want to thank my family and friends for a lovely Christmas and presents. I hope you all had a nice time too! Speak soon! Love Helen xxxx

Sunday, 27 December 2015

My Christmas In Pictures :-)

Hello! Hope you all had a super Christmas and enjoyed spending time with loved ones. I have had some special highlights over the festive period, I love this season and the build up to Christmas was really awesome this year. I had little days out with close family and friends. I enjoyed Christmas day with my parents and brother. This year my Dad cooked our turkey lunch as unfortunately my Mum was a bit under the weather. The Christmas dinner was really delicious, so well done to my Dad!

I was really blessed with the presents I received, I got some lovely surprises and luckily my family/friends seemed to appreciate what I gifted them. I had one or two comments saying how much they liked what I got them which made me happy. I thought I would share with you a few photo snippets from my Christmas holiday. I didn’t take any on Christmas day but these ones are from throughout December. I did a previous post with activities from the month, if you want to see it click here.

On Boxing Day/today I made a super duper hot chocolate, and have been catching up with my reading and photography. I wanted to take some pictures of my decorations, which I did a little. I mostly photographed our main Christmas tree, my enormous hot chocolate and my Christmas presents ready for my ‘What I got for Christmas’ post which is coming shortly. Also if you were wondering what those handmade labels in the photograph were they are to put on each family members Santa sack, I made them a couple of years back! :-)

Did you have a nice Christmas? How have you been spending your time over the holiday? :-) xxx

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Mince Pies & Merry Christmas! :-)

Christmas is so close now, I thought I would share one last post before the big day. I made mince pies one morning last week with readymade pastry. It was actually the first mince pies I have ever made to my memory. I found using readymade pastry a lot easier and less time consuming. It was a simple bake and not a lot of steps. For each case I made a dough base and then added a dollop of mincemeat. I used a star cutter to create a pretty effect on top and after they came out the oven I dusted them with icing sugar.

I also used silicone cupcake cases, these are great as they are reusable plus the bright colours are perfect for photographing. I was really pleased with how my bake came out, my family seemed to enjoy the mince pies and I thought they tasted good too! If you fancy baking something but don’t have a lot of time, these would be a great choice! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy it with family and friends and Santa brings you some blog worthy presents! :-D

So have you been baking recently? Are you looking forward to Christmas? Xxx

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Christmassy Update // A few things I’ve been up to in December.

Put Christmas decorations up and decorated the tree.
I put my Christmas decorations up in my bedroom last week. I now have three mini trees, one with flashing fairy lights and another is black with a purple and silver colour scheme. Yesterday I decorated the main tree in the living room so I might do an extra decorations post if I have time.

Been enjoying my two beauty advent calendars.
In a previous post I shared that I have two beauty advent calendars this year. I won a bomb cosmetics one in a YouTube competition and so far I’ve been loving the colourful soaps and pretty bath bombs included. I’ve been surprised with the Wilko one I picked up, there have been some real gems behind some of the doors.

Tried out the Morrison’s Christmas menu.
At the beginning of the month I met up with my good friend and her family. It was a lovely meet up and it was nice to catch up. We had lunch in the Morrison’s café and we tried some of the things on the Christmas menu. The Christmas lunch was reasonable, I also had a snowman cupcake which was insanely good and a wonderful treat.

Had my first Costa coffee black forest hot chocolate.
Oh my was this good! They just recently opened a Costa coffee where I live which I was super excited about. It’s a bit overpriced in there but I really enjoyed the experience of going in and checking out the Christmas drinks menu.

My Mum and I visited our friend and cute Labrador Connie.
This week we went to catch up with my Mums friend which was nice. I really enjoyed this outing, Connie is such a lovely dog and I took some photos of her too. It was fun spending time with Connie as I love dogs.

Went to a shabby chic café with parents.
I had a lovely outing with my parents this month. We went out for lunch in a cute local café. The prices were good and there were some lovely meals on the menu. I had a hot tuna and cheese panini and a deluxe hot chocolate which I enjoyed very much.

Have you been anywhere nice this December? Where do you like to eat out? :-) xxx

Monday, 14 December 2015

Ideas for Christmas Books to Read! :-)

Since a few years back I’ve been making it a fun tradition to read a couple of festive novels over the holiday period. This post is a little different from the kind I normally produce on here but let me know if you like it! So I have a few titles I've read that I wanted to share with you, Enjoy! X

Coming Home for Christmas Patricia Scanlan (buy here)
In unfortunate circumstances Alison decides to visits home for Christmas to spend time with her sister Olivia and family. A romance forms with a sweet Irish man she met back In NYC. This book left me feeling warm and comforted.

Just for Christmas by Scarlett Bailey (buy here)
This book covers all bases, really festive, great romance and beautiful setting. Alex moves to a Cornish cottage at Christmas and meets someone special. A real page turner and a lot of interesting characters including Alexs dog Buoy.

Make my Wish Come True by Fiona Harper (buy here)
Juliet and Gemma are sisters with very contrasting lives. They do a life swap at Christmas and learn a lot about each other. There’s also a bit of romance in this one and some unexpected turns.

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale (buy here)
A bit of a slow starter but the characters were very well written and this made the book for me. Lots of very festive elements to the book as Carrie joins a new family over Christmas as a nanny.

A Winter Flame by Milly Johnson (buy here)
One of my fav Christmas books to read. I was captivated around the idea of the main leads building a theme park called Winter World. I felt like a child again reading this but the romance was lovely too!

The Gift by Cecelia Ahern (buy here)
This book was the one that made me get into Christmas novels and was one of the first I read. The plot and message of the book is brilliant and an amazing page turner with some unexpected twists.

Falling for Christmas by Debbie Macomber (buy here)
A modern interpretation of the story of the birth of Jesus. It is retold through Mary-Jo who is pregnant on Christmas Eve without the comfort of family by her side. This is a heart-warming book.

When I Fall In Love by Miranda Dickinson (buy here)
I’m currently reading this one and it’s not as Christmassy as I first thought. I’m still trying to get into it but it’s light-hearted and humorous so far.

What will you be reading over Christmas? Any books that take your fancy? Xxx

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Winter Bread & Butter Pudding with Mixed Spice.

Today’s post is a baking related, I feel like I haven’t shared one of these for a little while and I love reading these type of posts myself. I made bread and butter pudding recently. I used a Sainsbury’s recipe book which is out of date now but I found a very similar recipe online here. Bread and butter pudding is probably one of the easiest baking recipes out there. The core ingredients include bread, an eggy mix and any extras you wish to include. I chose to add honey, mixed spice, cherries and walnuts which makes it comforting for winter time.

You may wish to add other things such as jam, sultanas, chocolate chips…. The list goes on. It’s very adaptable so you can add any extras you want. One thing I will say is I put the bake in the oven for about 20min and it was done so although some might suggest longer I would advise to keep checking while cooking. The finished result was super tasty and because I used wholemeal bread it was also much healthier. It’s a perfect treat to tuck into with the weather we have be having!

So do you like bread and butter pudding? What extra ingredients would you add? Xxx

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

‘Merry and Bright’ Lush Hamper Review

A couple of posts back I featured a Christmas haul of things to keep me going before the big day arrives. This included some Christmas novels, hot cocoa and a lush gift set. Click here for that post! I’ve been using up the products from the Lush gift and today I will be reviewing them. Click here to buy it priced at £14.95.

Beautiful Shower Gel
The apricot scent to this was beautiful and was something different from the regular perfumes you can expect at Christmas. The shower gel was glittery and lathered nicely.

Celebrate Body Lotion
This bright and zesty body lotion was particularly uplifting and I loved using it. The lotion sank into the skin well and really gave me a boost on dreary days.

Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub
This scrub worked best after running it under water, the texture was gritty so I found I needed to be a little gentler when exfoliating my skin with this. The classic floral scent was pretty but my least fav of the three products.

Would you like to try this out? Or would this gift be perfect for someone you know? Xxx