Blogmas Day 17: 15 Minute Vegan Chocolate Buttons

I love the idea of making home made Christmas presents, preferably food ones, and popping them all in a hamper, with a pretty bow on top. But the reality is that often we don’t have time to make these gorgeous hampers, so we need to find quicker alternatives. This is where these chocolate buttons come in. They honestly only take 15 minutes to put together, which is great. And they’re totally vegan! 

What you will need (to make about 15 buttons):

  • 200g chocolate (I used vegan chocolate, but you could use non-vegan chocolate instead)
  • 100g walnuts
  • 150g glacé cherries

Method:

  1. First things first, melt the chocolate. Break it into chunks, pop it into a microwaveable bowl, and then blast it in 30 second spurts in the microwave until it has melted, which I think is the easiest way to do it.
  2. Decant the melted chocolate into either a piping bag, or a sandwich bag with a tiny corner cut off
  3. Lay down a sheet of greaseproof paper, and pipe generous circles of chocolate onto the paper
  4. Chop the cherries and walnuts into small chunks, and then place a few chunks of each onto the chocolate buttons
  5. Finally, leave the buttons somewhere cool to let them set

That’s it! They’re so easy to make, and I’ve actually made these as part of an upcoming blog post (which will be coming very soon).

I have to admit, as much as I would love to go totally vegan, and hopefully one day I will, I was a bit wary of this chocolate. I’ve tried vegan alternatives to chocolate before and was unsure, but I was so pleasantly surprised by this! It tasted so similar to non-vegan chocolate, the texture was the same, I really enjoyed it.

The main thing that I love about these chocolate buttons is that they are completely customisable, so you can put whichever toppings you want on them- fruit, nuts, seeds, honeycomb, the possibilities are endless!

See you tomorrow,

Anna

Blogmas Day 16: Festive Mood Boosters

I always find on a Sunday afternoon that my mood can dip as the thought of another week looms over me, and the realisation that I can’t have a lie in for a few days hits me! So for today, I wanted to share a few festive things that I use to help boost my mood:

  1. Festive Spotify Singles: I absolutely LOVE all of the festive song covers they have on Spotify. As I’m writing this right now, I’m listening to George Ezra’s cover of A White Christmas, and it’s helping me get through a lot of essay writing! I can’t recommend these festive covers enough, I think there’s even a playlist on there which has all of them in one place, which will definitely help to get you feeling festive.
  2. A Chilly Walk: When it’s grey and rainy outside, you don’t really feel like venturing out into the cold, however I really like bundling up in a warm coat, scarf and gloves and going for a quick walk. This really helps me to clear my thoughts, and breathing in the cold air definitely wakes you up!
  3.  Having a Cosy Evening: There’s only 9 days until Christmas now, and it’s only going to start getting more chaotic from here on in. I think this is the perfect opportunity to have a cosy evening in, so I am going to put on some fluffy socks, turn on the Christmas tree lights, wrap up under a blanket and watch something festive. The Gavin and Stacey Christmas special is definitely the next thing on my festive watching list!
  4. Eat Some Party Food: I don’t know about you, but one of my highlights of the festive season is the party food. I love any food that comes in miniature form, and now whenever I go to the supermarket, I get transfixed by the displays of beautifully arranged mini mac and cheese pots, burgers and beef wellingtons on the shelves. I’ve already bought some of those mini mac and cheese pots, so I might treat myself to a few!
  5. Watching/Reading Other Peoples’ Vlogmas and Blogmas: I love watching and reading about how people enjoy the festive season, and the Christmas challenges they do, and YouTube and WordPress are goldmines for this type of mood booster- I even used to watch Vlogmas videos in the Summer whenever I wasn’t feeling my best, to lift my mood! You almost feel like they’re your family as you’re watching them, which I think is so lovely. You can watch and read about people decorating gingerbread houses, doing a bit of Christmas shopping, wrapping their Christmas presents, it’s great for escapism for a few minutes.

So there are my recommendations for boosting your mood throughout December- let me know if you do any of these as well, or if you have any other recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

See you tomorrow,

Anna

Blogmas Day 15: My Thoughts on Blogmas So Far & Elderflower Champagne Tea

We’re definitely over halfway through Blogmas this year, and as it’s my first time doing this, I wanted to make myself a cup of Elderflower Champagne Tea (we have to go fancy, it’s Christmas!) and mull over Blogmas so far. My tea is just perfectly warm, so let’s get into it, shall we?

Here are my predominant thoughts so far:

  1. I’m really enjoying putting up a daily post on my blog. That is the thing I’ve struggled with on here the most, posting consistently and on a regular schedule, but it’s nice to put down my daily thoughts, it feels a bit like a tinsel-covered diary!
  2. My plan went out the window. I made and rewrote my plans for what I wanted to blog about, day by day, but even though I’ve done pretty much what I planned to, it’s definitely not in the perfectly planned order I wanted to.
  3. It is lovely being festive, but it’s also important to take breaks every third evening or so from doing all the Christmassy bits so that I don’t lose my mind.
  4. As rewarding as it is, it takes a lot of planning and commitment to do a daily post. I like the fact that I’ve had the Christmas theme to stick to, I feel like it’s given my posts a sense of purpose, but it’s made me realise how much admiration I have for daily bloggers!
  5. This is going way better than expected! I didn’t expect anybody to read my posts, so to have you lovely readers liking and commenting on my posts means a lot, thank you ever so much. I hope you are all having a lovely festive month so far!

See you tomorrow,

Anna

Blogmas Day 14: Christmas Film of The Day & Brownies From a Box

Whilst buying ingredients to do some other festive baking, this box of DIY brownies caught my eye– they are chocolate brownies with a mint icing, and the green icing made me think of The Grinch! I haven’t made brownies from a box in so long, and I love how easy and quick it is to throw everything together and pop it in the oven, but you still feel like you’ve done some baking!

In the box, there was the brownie mix, the mint icing and some chocolate sprinkles:

All I had to do was add an egg, oil and water to the brownie mix, put the batter into a pan, bake it, then add the icing and sprinkles on top. I also saw these really cute snowflake decorations in ASDA, so I thought I’d adorn my brownies with them as well.

My kitchen smelt amazing even whilst I was mixing all the ingredients together, and it made me remember how much I used to love these boxed cake mixes when I was younger!

Now, of course, you don’t need an occasion to eat brownies, but I thought it would be nice to have one (or more) of these brownies whilst watching a Christmas film, to get into the festive spirit and all that. I mean, this pack says that it serves 16 but I’ve probably already eaten about 3 servings in 5 bites.

So, as the perfect accompaniment to these brownies, today’s Christmas Film of the Day is Elf. This feels like one of those Christmas films you can only watch when it starts getting into proper Christmas, and it’s already the 14th December, so I’m calling it! There are 11 days to go until Christmas, so we need to keep up the festive vibes as we get into the 10 day countdown!

See you tomorrow,

Anna

Blogmas Day 13: A Festive Tipple

After the slight failure of yesterday’s paper Christmas tree crafting, I felt like I needed a win today. And it’s Christmas, which means treating yourself to little joys all throughout December, which is why I treated myself to a festive tipple tonight.

We recently bought some elderflower liqueur, which smells AMAZING, but is quite strong, so I wanted to incorporate it into a cocktail of some sort. I’m a big fan of gin, so this was the basis for my cocktail.

Before we go any further, I feel like we need a name for this cocktail… I mean, there is probably a name for this type of cocktail already, but let’s make a name for it anyway. After a solid 5 minutes of thinking, I can’t come up with a decent name, so I’m going to call it a Gin Bauble for the time being. It had to be a festive name!

It’s really simple to make, all I did was:

  • Mix 2 parts elderflower cordial with 5 parts gin
  • Top up with tonic until well diluted
  • Give it a quick stir, and that’s it!

Cheers!

See you tomorrow,

Anna

Blogmas Day 12: Questionable Christmas Crafting

Okay, so let’s recap. So far, we’ve done a little bit of baking (more to come very soon!), but if I want to be on the same level of Christmas mastery as Kirstie Allsopp, I need to do a bit of Christmas crafting. Some kind of homemade decoration, which looks easy when somebody else is doing it, but then when you do it, it never goes as smoothly. That is what today is all about.

This is how they’re supposed to look… really cool, right?

So, today I was shown how to make a Christmas tree out of one piece of paper, that you fold in all sorts of ways, and cut out little chunks of, a bit like when you make a paper chain of people, or a snowflake decoration in primary school. If done successfully, you get a really cool looking 3D paper Christmas tree that stands up on its own, and that you could decorate if you wanted.

When I was being shown what to do, I thought, pfft, I’ve got this. How hard can it be? As it turned out, very hard! I got about five folds in until intervention was needed. And once I started trying to work out how I could fix the situation, that was it. I’d made one wrong fold and now my Christmas tree looked like someone had all but cut off the back part of it.

I tried to salvage it as best as I could and followed the rest of the steps, but I think my dream of becoming Kirstie Allsopp is still a long way off…I’ll let you guess which one of these trees is mine!

See you tomorrow,

Anna

Blogmas Day 11: Gingerbread Loaf

This is my first bake of Blogmas… what a momentous occasion! I’m really surprised that this is the first bit of proper baking I’ve put up on here, particularly during Blogmas. If you read my Blogmas Day 3, where I rambled about running out of time to do all the baking that I wanted to a few days ago, you’ll know that I was planning to do loads of baking, all in one day. It’s taken a lot of motivation to get up off the sofa, but I’ve finally gotten around to doing it. 

*In my best Masterchef contestant voice* So today, I have made an iced gingerbread loaf, complete with some little gingerbread people around it.

I found the recipe for this gingerbread loaf online, I think it was on the BBC Good Food website, and then I freestyled with the icing. It was a risky move, I know, because I really wanted to make a salted caramel icing, but I couldn’t find any salted caramel in the supermarket and was so distracted with the idea of where I was going to place my gingerbread people on top of the loaf that I couldn’t be bothered to make my own salted caramel. Instead, I made a golden syrup frosting and sprinkled in some sea salt, which I thought was a close second to my original plan.

I really love this gingerbread loaf, because it’s packed with ginger and allspice, which are two of the most important aspects of any good Christmas bake. When the loaf was cooking, my kitchen smelled like a Christmas grotto!

This loaf also makes me imagine a Hansel and Gretel style world, where the loaf is a little village, and the icing is like mini mountain peaks. All the gingerbread people are gossiping and chatting whilst the snow (icing sugar) starts falling around them…I’m probably a little overtired if you can’t already tell, but this is what came to my mind as I was decorating it earlier!

See you tomorrow,

Anna