It’s officially 2019, how did that happen? I know I might be a little bit late to the party, but I have made one proper New Year’s Resolution which I want to put out into the universe- I want to read more books this year.
I know how vague this sounds, so I’m going to put a number on it- I want to read 5 books this year. That’s not a lot for some people, but I can’t remember the last time I finished a book, so this feels like a challenge to me.
I hear people talking about being utterly gripped by books all the time, and I want in on this! I want the escapism, the cosy feeling of reading a book inside under a blanket whilst it’s grey and miserable outside, and I definitely want a break from my phone screen.
Now, the details. I want to read at least 2 fiction books, because I think this is where the proper escapism comes in. I don’t know if I’m ready to commit to a Harry Potter-esque series, but I want to lose myself in a glorious, fictional world. I think the other 3 books will be self-development books because these are the ones that make me excited; not so much the faddy ones which promise to change your life in 30 seconds, but I recently half read a book about near-death experiences, and I found that so interesting. I love the type of books that lift you out of your narrow box of thinking and give you a totally new perspective that you hadn’t thought of before.
So, here are the books I am planning on reading:
My Story by Jo Malone
Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell
On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
I’m still undecided- I need another fiction book to complete my list, so any suggestions would be gratefully received!
I have to admit, the other reason I like this New Year’s Resolution is because it’s totally lazy, and I don’t need to do any extreme exercise or diet to complete this. I don’t even have to leave my sofa, which is an added bonus!
I’ll keep you updated with progress on my New Year’s Resolution but let me know if you’ve read any of the books on my list- I’d love to know what you think of them!
Oh my goodness, we’ve made it. It’s Christmas Eve and Blogmas is nearly over! I don’t know how to feel about that, but I’m not giving myself any time to think about it yet because last minute Christmas preparations are well and truly underway and I feel like I’m already about 6 hours behind on what I’d planned to do!
Fuelled by almond croissants and homemade sausage rolls, I have been essay writing, preparing vegetables for tomorrow, and I need to do some tidying as well. I’m hoping to get a few more Christmas films in this evening, and of course, start eating my body weight in chocolate! That’s what Christmas is for, right?
But the highlight of my day so far has been these homemade sausage rolls. My grandma definitely makes the best sausage rolls, but hopefully mine come up as a close (ish) second. They were so easy to make, particularly because the pastry and sausagemeat came ready made. I just rolled out the puff pastry, spread some onion chutney on the bottom, put the sausagemeat (which came with almonds and apricots in) on one half of the pastry and used the other half to seal it all up. I brushed it with some beaten egg, and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. Ta da! The perfect Christmas treat.
It feels strange to say, but that’s it for today and for my Blogmas- I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas Eve and I hope you have the most amazing Christmas Day and New Year- I can’t wait to see you again in 2019!
Happy Christmas Eve Eve! It’s getting closer and closer to the big day, there’s only 2 days to go! I have to admit that yesterday I started panic buying very unnecessary things, so today I am staying away from any shops, and instead, I’m going to start decorating the table ready for Christmas Day.
We’ve got tinsel up on every available bookshelf and cabinet, and yesterday I hung up some very pretty pastel bunting. I know it’s not the traditional festive colours, but it still makes me feel like we’re celebrating, and it took me a good few attempts to hang it up so I’m never taking it down!
In terms of table decorations, we’re going for a white, silver and gold theme with our table cloth, plates and napkins, I’m probably going to empty a whole pack of this gold star confetti on and around the table (most of it will probably go on the floor, but at least every inch of the house will be as festive as possible!) and we’re going to have tea lights all around the room. Don’t worry, I have definitely learnt from my lesson yesterday with fire and I promise I will be very careful!
If our dining room still doesn’t look festive enough after all this, I may have to resort to fairy lights, but either way, I can’t wait for everything to look cosy and Christmassy.
I hope all of your festive preparations are going well!
In my quest to do as many Christmassy things as possible within the next 3 days, today I thought I could try and make a new tradition. I’ve seen these delicious looking Chocolate Torrones all over my Pinterest feed; it looks like a block of chocolate with whole hazelnuts in, what’s not to love?!
So I thought I would try and make one of these this afternoon. In my head, I thought this might be something I could incorporate into my yearly festive traditions, I could make one of these every year and it could be a centrepiece on our Christmas table.
To cut a long story short, it didn’t quite turn out like that. I started off well, I had all my ingredients ready and things were going smoothly- I was melting chocolate, using it to line a loaf tin to get the signature Torrone shape, and everything was going well. But whilst I was melting my chocolate, with my festive music on in the background, I completely forgot the tray of hazelnuts I was roasting. As soon as I opened the oven, a smell that reminded me of burning popcorn filled the kitchen, as well as a thick cloud of smoke.
So that was the first mishap. The second one came soon after, when I’d put the tray of half burnt hazelnuts on top of the stove whilst I was trying to work out how to salvage the situation. I was still melting some chocolate using the hob very close to the burnt hazelnuts, and you can probably guess what happened next… the baking paper I’d put the hazelnuts on caught fire! Thankfully it was only the corner of the paper which had caught fire, so it didn’t touch the hazelnuts, although it probably wouldn’t have made much difference to them!
This may all sound rather dramatic for a bit of baking, but this was not the perfect new tradition I was planning on making! I did manage to salvage a few hazelnuts from the wreckage and add them into my Torrone, which is more like a big block of chocolate (which will still definitely get eaten within a matter of moments), but I think I’m going to take it as a sign that I should stick to gin cocktails and chutney!
List 10 songs that you would consider to be a part of your ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ (optional: mention a little bit why each song is on your list)
Tag 10 other bloggers to join in with the ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ Challenge
I always find it so interesting to hear what music other people listen to, so I am very excited to take part in this tag. I wrote in my Blogmas Day 16 post about using music as a festive mood booster, so I also love the fact that this tag focuses on how music helps your mental health.
I am always happiest when I have my earphones in, when I can just shut out the world for a bit. I don’t feel like I’ve started my day off right until I’ve been able to put my earphones in and strut around, so music really helps my mental health, particularly in the mornings when I know I can be a bit grumpy! I find that music definitely has the power to lift your mood, even by just a little bit, so I want to share with you the festive songs that make me feel good:
Michael Bublé- It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas- this song signifies the beginning of Christmas for me. Any Christmas song sung by Michael Bublé instantly makes me feel 1000% more festive.
Coldplay- Christmas Lights- I love this song, it’s one of my favourites. I think the piano is so calming and atmospheric, and just makes me think of cosy evenings in when it’s dark outside!
East 17- Stay Another Day- I don’t know why this is a Christmas song, but the video is so good that I had to include it in this list!
Mariah Carey- All I Want For Christmas Is You- a song that needs no explanation, it never gets old! You know whenever you hear that twinkle at the beginning of the song that it’s about to get full-on Christmassy wherever you go!
Bing Crosby and David Bowie- Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy- the perfect classic, traditional song that everyone goes quiet for when it comes on.
Ariana Grande- Santa Tell Me- I know this is more like Christmas pop rather than the traditional ones, but I could listen to this on repeat for hours. I think it’s such a good song to have on in the background when you’re doing a bit of Christmas baking, because you can sing along to it at the top of your lungs while you’re eating cookie dough straight from the bowl!
Nina Nesbitt- Oh Holy Night- this is such a beautiful version of this song, it gives me shivers when I listen to it!
Sam Smith- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas- this is another one that I found on the Spotify Singles Christmas playlist, and it’s just brilliant and echoey and cosy; all the good things.
George Ezra- White Christmas- I spoke about how much I love this song in my blog post the other day, but I had to include it on this list because it’s so good!
Lily Allen- Somewhere Only We Know- I don’t think this one is technically a Christmas song but it was on the John Lewis Christmas advert a few years ago and ever since then, every time I’ve heard it it makes me smile and think of Christmas decorations and twinkly lights.
So those are all of the songs which are getting me through the festive season- I haven’t been blogging for very long, so instead of tagging other bloggers to do this tag, I’d love to hear in the comments which Christmas songs give you that instant burst of happiness, or which really help your mental health.
I’ve just got a small, cosy post for today because this afternoon, I have been wrapping my Christmas presents. In my head, this is one of those activities which is always one of the most exciting parts of Christmas, where you put a film on, wear some kind of festive article of clothing and happily wrap your presents by your tree. In reality, it’s more like spending half your time finding the end of the sellotape and choppily cutting just the right amount of paper to fit whatever you’re wrapping. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it.
I’ve gone for plain brown paper this year for my wrapping, with gold string (doesn’t this make you think of the song from the Sound of Music? I’ve had it stuck in my head for DAYS now), and as a bit of a curveball, I’ve got some gold star confetti which I might haphazardly stick on top as well!
I know they might look a little bit plain, but I like the simplicity of it. I can’t say that I don’t miss seeing cute little cartoons of festive creatures on the presents, but for this year, it’ll do.
Charlotte from theoutspokenblonde and I are exchanging Christmas boxes today! When Charlotte and I were talking through ideas for this Christmas box, she came up with the idea of basing it around a cruelty-free theme, which I loved. For me, the main thing that excited me about this theme was delving into the vegan recipe side of Pinterest (heads up, it’s amazing).
She is going to tell you all about the box that I made for her over on her blog, theoutspokenblonde, but I am going to tell you all about what was in my cruelty-free Christmas box, let’s do it!
So, first things first, I have to admire the box- isn’t it beautiful?! The lid is pale pink with gold spots on the top, and the base is cream with pink spots and gold Christmas trees- the perfect colour combination in my opinion.
What was in the box:
This adorable llama decoration- I honestly thought this was homemade for a moment until Charlotte reminded me that there’s a tag on it!
This makes me smile every time I look at it- it’s gone straight on my tree.
A gorgeous trinket dish- this dish has got little pastel and gold coloured teardrops, and I love these little dishes for putting my jewellery on.
A pair of fluffy socks- these socks are cream and pale pink, and they feel so soft and warm. I can’t wait to wear these on Christmas Eve; it is a rare occasion when I can find matching socks, so I will make sure they stay as a pair so that they can stay looking so pretty together!
A Candy Cane Lush Bubble Bar- I have always been intrigued by the Lush Bubble Bars. Every time I’ve been to Lush during the Christmas season, I stop by these and think they smell amazing, but I’ve never bought one for myself before, so I’m very excited to try this. It smells SO good, and Lush is well-known for its cruelty-free promise, which is great as well.
Lavender Shampoo Bar- you can’t see it very well in the picture, but it’s the purple bar next to the llama decoration. Charlotte was explaining to me how this shampoo bar works, so you hold it under the shower until it lathers, and it’s supposed to make your hair amazingly soft. She also explained to me that she bought this bar from a local seller, which I thought was really cool. I love receiving a gift that you can properly try, and I’m definitely going to do that with this shampoo bar!
Thank you so much Charlotte, I love my box! If you didn’t already know, she is taking part in Blogmas as well, so you should check out her glorious festive posts, especially her baking ones!
I also really enjoyed putting Charlotte’s box together and doing a whole box exchange with her. I think it’s a great idea to do something like this with your friends or family, because who wouldn’t get excited about a box of festive goodies?!