Tuesday, December 24, 2013

christmas eve wishes

After having a very relaxing Christmas Eve of getting my hair done and having a good dinner of homemade salmon-en-croute (yum yum yum) I am painting my nails all festive and watching the christmas episode of Made in Chelsea and just feeling quite cosy and such. I just thought I'd post some pictures of the kind of Christmasses that I aspire to have: a mixture between something homemade and vintagey and bright, and something natural and yule inspired and still homemade. All the pictures and the relevant credits and such can be found on my Pinterest if you're interested! I probably won't be around much tomorrow - except maybe on twitter - so I hope you have a lovely Christmas and have a wonderful day, whatever you're upto! I'm off to Church shortly for midnight mass, so I should probably get ready..

 merry christmas everyone 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

the christmas tag!

favourite christmas film?

It's a bit of a silly one actually, but I really adore The Snowman. I used to watch it every year when I was little and get really upset if I accidentally missed it. It used to be on on Christmas Eve, but when I started working a lot I would always miss it, so my mum bought me it on DVD a few years ago and I really love watching it. Don't even talk to me about the Snowdog though, that gets me all angry!

favourite festive colour?

As a general rule in life, anything green and shiny.. green glittery baubles and such. Also anything silver and shiny. Actually, scratch that - shiny is colour right? Shiny.

do you open gifts on christmas eve or christmas morning?

Christmas morning, definitely. When we were little we were allowed to open one from a particular friend of the family on Christmas eve because that was when she dropped round. Now we're older we pretty much just have to wait! 

favourite winter fragrance?

I don't have a particular scent that I wear in the Christmas - (though I have my eye on Spicebomb by Viktor and Rolf something shocking! I know it's a mens fragrance, but that doesn't bother me..) but I do have a perfume that I was given at Christmas a few years ago, and as such it always remind me of Christmas - that's Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche.

real or fake christmas tree?

Real real real! Nothing beats a real christmas tree. We were never allowed them when we were little - too much mess, my mum thought. Up until about six years ago I would say, when we were all finally deemed old enough not to knock it over or fight near it (I have two brothers.. haha) and we started getting real ones. Yes, they can start to look a bit sad by January 6th, but the smell of them is so much better, and I like the wonky charm they have when we can never get them to stand up straight, haha.

favourite festive drink?

I do love a big mug of hot chocolate at Christmas - but I'm also particular partial to a glass of mulled wine. I love the spices and cinnamon and orange and the cloves - such a perfect smell.

favourite food?

I'm not a massive fan of Christmas dinner, I'll be honest. I don't like turkey or Christmas pudding and I don't like sausages wrapped in bacon so it always leaves me a little lacking. There's become a sort of tradition that after midnight mass on Christmas Eve, me and my family always come home and have a little supper of sorts. I think it started as us having a bite to eat before we headed to bed as it can sometimes go on quite late, mass. Then gradually it evolved into my mum doing a little platter of cheese, cold meats, olives, nuts, smoked salmon and such, usually accompanied by wine or beer. That is my favourite festive meal!

favourite scent?

I think I mentioned it before but basically anything spicy or mulled wine-y. My two current favourite candles are Yankee Candle's Kitchen Spice and Mulling Spices by Kringle.

favourite christmas music?

I am a big lover of old carols - one of my favourite albums is Carols at King's because they just sound so beautiful. Also, absolutely anything Christmassy sung by Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald (her Christmas album is so good!). I also really like Carol of the Bells.

what is most important about christmas to you?

It sounds bad, but I never really appreciated how much I enjoy having all the family around at Christmas. Last year there was a scare with my grandmothers health (which I spoke a little about here) and my parents were not really around for the Christmas period for obvious reasons. So with all fingers and toes crossed, everyone will be okay this year and everyone will be around!

I saw this tag over on Sailor Jennie's blog (which I absolutely adore, her posts, and bunny, are really cute), and I liked the idea of it, adding a few questions I saw on a different Christmas tag post.. I'm currently curled up on the sofa after my final night shift, waiting for some friends to come over for a Christmas get-together/dinner. Anyway, I hope you do this tag too - I'd love to see your responses. Let me know in the comments if you do this too!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

step forward, bloglovin'

Hello all - just a little post to everyone today, to remind you readers that Google Friend Connect (which I used to use to follow blogs!) has now gone to the computer in the sky, or something like that, so you'll need to find another method to follow me! I recommend Bloglovin, and you can find mine here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

do-it-yourself gifts - part four

This year, I want to try and make as many presents as possible, because I want to give nice things to my friends and family even if I am a bit poor this year, because they still deserve nice things. Over the next two weekends I am going to show you some of my favourite items you can do for friends - that will cute and thoughtful, and won't break the bank. This is my last edition of these gift ideas - because I hope you're all sorted now, and I am working like mad up until Christmas now!
These are last-minute-gifts - things you can throw together at home and have ready just in-case anyone unexpected pops round.
  • Jar mixes; cookies or biscuits or sweets, anything will go down well with my friends! You could make them yourself, but I know a lot of my friends enjoy baking, there are. Allrecipes has a lot of things that you can try, I think the best involve chocolate, really. Add a little label that says what else they need to add (usually butter or eggs or maybe a little milk) and the instructions (mix everything together, pretty much!) and tie a ribbon or some twine around the top and they look really cute, I think! Very easy to throw together at the last minute, all you need is a jar that you probably have knocking about the house.
  • Chocolate, sweets, etc; I've made chocolate truffles and peppermint creams in the past, this year I think I'm going to try my fudge recipe because it went down so well with my family earlier in the year, but they make really lovely gifts, much better than a store bought box of chocolates, I think. Put in cute bags or jars and it will look really sweet, I think. 
  • Flavoured alcohol; these are even quicker to make than anything else. Buy a cheapish bottle of vodka or gin and add a fruit of choice - I've made raspberry vodka, tangerine vodka and sloe gin this year. All you do is add the fruit directly into the vodka with some sugar and then leave to sit for as long as you can. Strain out the fruit when you're giving it to someone, and it tastes fantastic. Nigel Slaterhas a good sloe gin recipe if you want to stick to one!

Friday, December 13, 2013

light up light up

I had a very dull day of 'errands' yesterday - I had to go and do boring things like get my teeth cleaned and buy stamps and I was given the arduous task of buying the turkey and getting some things for the fish and going to B&Q and and and I could go on.. Anyway, I finally got home after spending a fortune on nothing, really. Nothing fun, at least. Anyway, as a treat I popped into one of those shops that sells really cheap stuff, and found a set of 40 LED battery lights for £3.99, which I thought was a good bargain and now my room looks even more cosy. I put on my mulled wine candle and wrapped all my Christmas presents, and now I feel very satisfied and happy. Then I had a little nap. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

continental jaunt - bruges

(all photos are mine, not to be used without my permission)

Last Friday me and some friends went to Bruges for the which was perfectly Christmassy and just lovely. Cold, and a long travel and a very early start, but worth it for the beautiful architecture - I've never been further north than Paris, so I haven't any German, Dutch or Flemish cities before, and I think I'm completely hooked, I have to say. Whilst Italian and French towns have a certain distinct beauty, there is something about the Gothic buildings there that I really loved, and the gabled buildings they have that look just like those in Amsterdam. Anyway, we had a great time, visiting the chip frites and chocolate museum and walking along the canals and looking in an amazing Christmas store that had the most fantastic baubles and eating frites and drinking gluhwein.
Anyway, I highly recommend it if you ever go - I don't think you could spend very long there but it would be a beautiful weekend away or something, so definitely worth a look!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

beginning to feel like christmas

The tree is up and lights are on in my bedroom.. it feels more Christmassy now! I lit every candle in my room last night and and my room smelled like the most Christmassy heaven of cloves and cinnamon and ginger and I got under my quilts and watched Elf. Felt myself fully relax for the first time in such a long time! How cute are these Christmas lights by the way? They're teeny little lanterns, they used to belong to my Grandmother but a few years ago she decided to stop having a Christmas tree, and donated them to us. They're lovely and really sweet, I have them around my desk after they kept falling off my mirror.. haha.
How are you enjoying Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the bigger fish

There is not much substance to this post except to say - look how beautiful my fish are getting? They're growing so fast and they all have their distinct personalities now, I am so, so, so attached. I have to say to anyone who is thinking about goldfish; as long as you're willing to spend a lot of money on a proper tank and a fancy ass filter: get them. They're so beautiful to watch and really calming, too (well, my mum says watching them when they're about to be fed tires her out cause they're so dappy and manic). 
I feel like a proud mother. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

do-it-yourself gifts - part three

This year, I want to try and make as many presents as possible, because I want to give nice things to my friends and family even if I am a bit poor this year, because they still deserve nice things. Over the next two weekends I am going to show you some of my favourite items you can do for friends - that will cute and thoughtful, and won't break the bank, particular now we're into December and time is running out to gather fancy ingredients.
Todays recipes are for those amongst you who have friends and family who are - I hate to say this word because it's a little cringey - foodies. My brother and his girlfriend love fancy restaurants and such, so I always think that if they would like any of this, I'm on the right track. These can also be done in batches, or would be great to fill out a hamper.
  • Chili oil or chili jam; or any other kind of flavoured oil or jam. I just know that a bottle of chili oil goes down very well, and isn't that hard to make. It goes well in cooking or as a dressing for lots of things, and very nicely in stir-fries. The BBC have a good recipe for both oil and jam and so does thanksforthefood.com. However, you can do regular jam or marmalade, or something similar if the chili-thing won't go down well.
  • Cranberry chutney; nothing, and I mean nothing feels like Christmas until I have had a brie and cranberry sandwich. There is something so perfect about gently toasted bread and melty brie with a sharp bit of cranberry chutney. It's also really good with ham and other cheeses and there is something about the fruity chutney that just tastes so good. I give you only one recipe: Delia's, because my mother only really trusts Delia! Of course, you could do thinks other than cranberry, or mix things with the cranberry if you're feeling adventurous. 
  • Flavoured butter; this is a bit harder to gift, as it needs chilling, but it would be great to give to something who loves a bit of flavour. Baked in a foil bag with some fish, these can be really great to have in the house, ready to go to spice up any boring dish, so I think some people would really love them. Wrap in wax paper with some twine around the ends like a cracker, and make a little label, and try out these recipies from here and here.
gifts - part one
gifts - part two

How is your shopping getting on - getting there? No, me neither.. haha. I thought I was so organised last week!

    Thursday, December 05, 2013

    bedroom snippets; greenery

    I've recently put a lot of effort into re-decorating my bedroom, and getting my bits and bobs sorted - I'm hoping to make this into something of a feature, because I have lots of nice things that I want to show someone, as I'm quite proud of what I've done with the place. My room has had a few incarnations and I promised I would show you when it was done.. So here we go! 

    First to show you is my small collection of plants.. I love houseplants and cacti and succulents and they improve the air quality (particularly spider plants and such) so I really love having them around. I have all sorts scattered around my room, and the house actually, but these are my favourites. I think I'm pretty good at growing them too, as the spider plant on the left in the bottom photo was a 'baby' that a friend had given me, and now has tiny 'babies' of its own. Pretty neat. (Cat ornament is something my mum had when she was kid and I love it haha.) 

    Tuesday, December 03, 2013

    vintage tins

    I have a thing for tins. I'm not sure why, but I like little tin cases I can squirrel away little bits in. Like who'd have thought an old Elastoplast tin was the perfect size for my business cards? It's werid how things you have lying around forever suddenly become the most perfect vehicle. 
    I picked up these awesome little tins at a car boot sale about a year ago, and now they all have inhabitants. I used to have lots of little plastic pots of pins or needles or things like that lying around my room - but since I've put them in these I display them a lot more. In the sellotape tin I have a load of fine pins and drawing pins and such, the blackcurrant tins has big magnetic nails for hanging my artwork in, the cinnamon tablet tin holds post-it note highlighter things. I have an old Paprika tin that houses ink-pen nibs too.