Saturday, 15 December 2018

Christmas Baking: Christmas Tree Mince Pies



It’s time to get festive, Christmas is coming! Today I wanted to share with you a baking project I’ve been working on. Mince pies are a staple this time of year so my Mum and I made some from scratch. Normally we bake separately but we joined forces for these and I was pleased with how they came out. My Mum made the mincemeat and I made the pastry.

I searched for a healthier alternative recipe online and found this one which we used as a guide. Before I’ve made mince pies with ready made pastry so it was interesting making it myself this time. I used a Christmas tree cookie cutter to cut out a pastry shape for the top of each pie. Overall they were so tasty!

Do you like mince pies? 
Have you ever made your own? :-) Xx



Wednesday, 12 December 2018

My Christmas Gift Wrapping 2018


Hi – So Christmas is in less than two weeks and I am ready to start wrapping presents. Last year I did a similar gift wrap theme post and I’m bringing it back for 2018. Same as last year, I shopped around throughout the year to find everyday wrap that I could use for Christmas. I went for two colour palettes, one for men and one for women.


The male scheme consists of rose gold, gold and red with a statement using a modern triangle pattern. The female palette is girly pink, purple and grey. I was so pleased to stumble across two rolls of wrap at the Primark tills in early autumn. The pastel paint splat design is probably my favourite although the pink iridescent is also a statement with the texture and shine.


My top tip would be to look out for regular gift wrap throughout the year, particularly in places like Primark and Poundland. I do this so the designs are more unique, and I was pleased with what I picked up very inexpensively. 


What I purchased:

Primark:
Pink iridescent textured gift wrap 
Pastels paint splatter gift wrap

Poundland:
Rose gold triangle gift wrap
Gold craft paper gift wrap
Purple foil gift wrap

The Works:
Red foil gift wrap


I would love to hear about your Christmas wrap theme.
Are you going for traditional Christmas or have you gone graphic like me? :-) Xx

Friday, 7 December 2018

Festive Outing to Star Buds Café & Garden Centre




Hope you are all doing well. Today I wanted to share a family outing. A while back I did a series from our visits to Star Buds Cafe, it’s been sometime, but the day before December we went for a brew and a look at what was on offer in the garden centre. We didn’t plan it but that day they were preparing the Christmas trees ready to be sold. It was actually really interesting observing them, and I got some candid photos with my camera.




We relaxed in the café for a bit and the atmosphere was lovely. I had a freshly made blueberry scone, which was still hot from the oven, and it tasted so good. My Dad always orders a latte, and I was curious to try one for myself, I went for decaffe. It had quite a sophisticated taste and I enjoyed it. Garden centres can be a really good place to go this time of year – we might revisit before Christmas!







Do you like visiting garden centres or cafes?
What are your plans over the festive season? :-) Xx

Friday, 30 November 2018

The Snack Diaries | Part Twelve


Nine Peanut Seed Bars
(From TKMaxx, £1.89 for four bars.) 
I really enjoyed these, they had a nice taste and texture as well as being pretty healthy. I’ve tried out the brand before and have nothing but good things to say about them. Perfect to pop in your bag on the go!

Ten Acre Cappuccino Popcorn
(From Holland&Barrett, £0.89 for 28g)
I was super intrigued to try these because of the cappuccino flavour and cute packaging. The flavour was authentic and made a change from regular popcorn although they were a little too sweet for me personally.

Emily Mixed Roots Vegetable Crisps  
(From TKMaxx, £1.30 for 23g)
Wow I have such positive praise for these, they tasted so good! I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them but I did. We shared them out over two days on a salad and they were a real treat. I adore the packaging too!

Heartsease Farm Traditional Lemonade
(From WHSmith’s, price unknown, quantity known)
This was my least favourite from the four. I was at the train station newsagent and the water was so overpriced. This lemonade was better value so I thought I would give it a shot. The taste was too strong, and overly sugary sweet.

Have you tried any of these brands? 
Do you like your snacks sweet or healthy? :-) Xx




Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Photo Diary P2 | Commondale, North Yorkshire Holiday



Hi – Hope you are all well. I’m excited to share with you the second part of my holiday photo diary. Today will be a few clips from the cottage, some selfies and food related.

One of the highlights of the holiday was having a wood burner in the cottage, it was so cosy and my brother and Dad seemed to enjoy maintaining it. Not only did it warm up the cottage, it made a homely crackling sound, perfect autumn hygge!

I took one or two selfies while we were away, and I thought I would share these two. The first was taken in a mirror in the cottage and the second was taken just outside the Danby Moor Centre.



We went out for meals every day to lots of different cafes and pubs. My top two meals were firstly a special cheese on toast, but this wasn’t anything like you normally get, probably the best I’ve ever tasted. The cheese was creamy, the toast was sweet and delicious. I had that at the Stonehouse café in Danby. 

A close second was a corned beef hash brown pie from The Old Chapel tearoom in Castleton. The pastry and beef were so fresh, and the homemade chips tasted so good! I also had some general salad, sandwiches type meals which were lovely too.






Let me know which of these meals you would have liked to try!
I hope you enjoyed my two part photo diary. :-) Xx

Monday, 19 November 2018

The Runcible Spoon Café Review and Tour

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Today I’m back with a review of a café we visited back in the summer when visiting the Runswick Bay area. My Mum did some research into the most popular local cafes to visit and The Runcible Spoon came up. It’s located in Hinderwell and I have a lot of positive things to say about it.





There was a lovely, welcoming atmosphere to the café and it also had a lot of character. If you are a bookworm, I recommend you visit as they have an extensive book selection where all proceeds go to charity. They have some fascinating vintage books too!




I had an unusual fruit smoothie, which was refreshing and lovely. My Mum treated herself to an ice-cream while I think my Dad had a scone. They had a pot of tea I think too. We sat by the window just by the bigger book case. The service was great and we enjoyed out visit, it was one of the things that made our holiday. I imagine it would be so cosy to visit in A/W too!



Does this café seem appealing to you too? 
Do you have any café recommendations? :-) Xx

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Recent Reads Reviewed #9


The Code Girls by Daisy Styles - 5/5

I haven’t previously delved into historical fiction before in my spare time, so I felt this book was a really great starting point. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed reading about World War two in the form of fiction. Although some of the topics were heavier than I was used to, the author still managed to make it easy reading most of the way through. The whole feel of the book had a cosy and warm hearted vibe to it, even though the setting wasn’t so uplifting.

The title suggests that there will be a lot of content about being a code girl which there was but the plot seemed to take a different direction for a good chunk of the story. Despite this, I liked where Styles went with the girls being employed to cook for the code girls, mainly because I loved learning about rationing, and this was done well in my view. The food descriptions for the time period seemed to set the mood, and made the book for me.


I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison - 4/5

I thought the concept of this book was a really good one, and I was keen to see as a reader if the author pulled it off. The book was set in the seventeen hundreds and focuses on Jane Austen in her adolescence, and her family at that time. The protagonist and narrator is Jenny, best friend of Jane Austen who tells the story in the form of her personal journal. Illustrations were included by Jenny’s character to make the book more accessible to children, but important topics were introduced to open up a discussion.
 
There was definitely a way about how you were supposed to behave in this period relating to gender roles. Much of this was interesting to learn about, but I felt with it being a children’s book, the author could have focused on the strength of the women more. Friendship plays an important factor, Jenny and Jane had a strong bond as they develop into maturity however it was very much centred on finding them a suitable man. Overall it was a different read for me, which opened my eyes to something new. I recommend this book if you would like to read about Jane Austen from a different angle or have an interest in the time period. 


Tales from Titchmarsh by Alan Titchmarsh - 4/5

Titchmarsh’s personality comes across really well in this book with his dry wit, passion and in depth knowledge for gardening. It took me a little while to gel with the writing style but I certainly enjoyed hearing about his tales. I found the philosophical themes inspiring too. It’s quite a cosy read, with added helpful tips to get into the garden for yourself. This book encouraged me to keep going with my hobby and enjoy the process.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith - 5/5

This was probably one of the most accomplished books I’ve ever read and I look forward to rereading it again in the future. It’s the kind of novel, where you can get different things out of it every time you read it. Zadie’s wonderful writing style jumped off the page, and I cherished the reading experience. The plot was mostly character driven, and as a reader, these are the most enjoyable kind of books to me. This is the first book I’ve read by Zadie Smith, and I’m hoping to be captivated again by her.


The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello - 4/5

I love Jane Costello because she is a reliable author and your always know what you are getting with her. I’ve read many of her books now and this one was one of my favs along with All the Single Ladies and Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel. Imogen and friends go on holiday to Barcelona but things keep going wrong with some laugh out loud moments. I knocked it down one star because Imogen’s work stresses cropped up often making it a less relaxing read. This was an addictive, humorous and fun book that I happily got lost in all the same.

What is your favourite book genre? 
Do any of these books interest you?

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Photo Diary P1 | Commondale, North Yorkshire Holiday





At the beginning of autumn my family and I went on holiday to a cottage in Commondale. I thought it would be fun to share some of my photos from then as photography is one of my favourite pastimes. So this is part one of a series, there will be another coming soon hopefully. The three categories I will be sharing with you today are animals, landscape and plants.

We were extremely lucky with the weather while we were away and the cottage we stayed in was just lovely. The scenery was one of my highlights – it was so picturesque. There were many opportunities to photograph landscapes, including just by the cottage as well as a boating and fishing lake nearby.









I have a love for animals and there were certainly a few to choose from to take pictures of including cats, rabbits and sheep. I tried to make friends with the cottage cats and although they were a little shy they were still totally cute. There were also lots of sheep in the field by the cottage too. 

We went for a meal in Castleton and they kept enormous rabbits out back, their size was impressive although it’s not obvious from the photo. Also they had a fish tank which I happily stood by taking some snaps. Lastly I took some photos around the cottage and at the Danby Moor Centre of plants – my interest in this sort of thing has increased since getting into gardening.







I would love to know if you have a favourite photo!
Have you gone anywhere on holiday recently? :-) Xx