Saturday, 7 December 2019

The Fat Cats & Good Books Merry Christmas Tag!

Every year at Christmas I like to take part in some sort of festive tag post. I've actually not seen as many around this year but recently the lovely Louisa who blogs at Fat Cats & Good Books created one and I couldn't wait to take part. I've shared the questions below but if you want to take part make sure you head over to Louisa's blog too!
The Fat Cats & Good Books Merry Christmas Tag poster with questions on

More: What Xmas Food Would You Ask For More Of?

ROAST POTATOES! I mean I love every single part of a Christmas dinner but I could eat a good roastie all day every day. I'm going to make loads this year

Eve: Do You Have Any Xmas Eve Traditions?

One thing George and I always do is open 1 present each in the evening. We also like to have some sort of picky/party food tea and cosy up with a film. For a few years we have gone to the cinema on Christmas Eve which was always something to really look forward to but now we have Bear we'll be in with him instead and I can't wait

Reindeer: Can You Name Them All? No Cheating!

I think there's Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Dancer, Blitzen, Donner, Cupid and of course Rudolph?

Ready To Party: Do You Have Any This Year?

Not currently and I couldn't be happier about it. Give me a cosy night in any day.

Yorkshire Puddings: Yes Or No?

YES. They're not my all time fave part of a roast or Christmas dinner but you've gotta have them

Chocolate: What's Your Favourite Tub?

Ooh I like them all! I think it would probably be heroes just because there's more that I would choose to eat from that tub whereas others they'll always be a few I'm not bothered about. Quality Street are a very close second though

Host: Are You Hosting?

Well I do the cooking so I suppose I am? Does it really count if there's not loads of you?

Ribbons: How Do You Like To Decorate Your Gifts?

I'm pretty boring and just use wrapping paper and gift tags. I always think about being more creative and adding ribbon and bows etc but I never get round to it

Is November Too Early: Can The Tree Go Up In November?

It's never too early and for a few years now we've put the tree up towards the end of November. I just want this time of year to last forever so I'm gonna get as many weeks with the tree up as possible

Songs: What's Your Favourite?

I love love love Step Into Christmas by Elton John and one I always play over and over is One More Sleep by Leona Lewis

Theme: Do You Have One For This Year?

Not really, I suppose our theme if you could call it that would be 'traditional'. We have a lot of reds and golds on our tree and throughout our living room

Mistletoe: Who Would You Love To Find Underneath It?

Well of course George and Bear. If Jamie Dornan appeared though I would not be mad about it

Angel: What Tops Your Xmas Tree?

We have a little gold pair of angel wings that go at the top, it's one of the decorations I look forward to putting up the most

Snow: Will It Be A White Christmas?

I hope so! It definitely feels cold enough for it and I'd love to see Bear's first reaction to snow!

I've absolutely loved answering all of these questions from Louisa's tag and it's only made me feel even more festive now. Let me know what your answers would be or if you want to take part on your blog, head on over to Louisa's!

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Friday, 6 December 2019

Weekend Summary #30 - Breakfast Date & Leeds Christmas Market!

I only mentioned in my recent favourites on Wednesday that last weekend we ventured to the Leeds Christmas market but like I usually do I wanted to write up one of my weekend posts so soz if you're reading about it twice. As I always say these are my fave posts to read back so I do it more for me than anything. Anyway I'm gonna get started as I have lots of photos to share.
Christmas tree in Trinity Leeds
Now George and I have Bear we really try to make time each month to go out for the day or sometimes just for a few hours if we're busy because life with a puppy is full on! It's easy to get caught up in it all and let weeks go by where we've hardly spent anytime together so it's something we set time aside for when we can and last weekend as Christmas has officially started, we went to our first Christmas market of the year. You all know how much I adore a Christmas market, I legit look forward to them all year so I'd been counting down the days for this. After visiting a few markets in London and going to the Manchester markets year after year, this time we went to Leeds. We started our day off with a breakfast date though at Giraffe as Bear went to daycare early (he was one tired boy that morning). I think we both underestimated the portion sizes though as just look at these pancakes! I mean, they were absolutely delicious but wow they were a struggle to get through. I had the Nutella and Banana Pancakes and I think they might be the best I've ever had, even beating The Breakfast Club which is no mean feat.
Pancakes at Giraffe, Leeds
After a long browse around Trinity which was looking very festive and a sneaky purchase in the Lindt shop, how can you go and not buy anything? I picked up a few bits from my fave The Yorkshire Soap Company and then we headed to the Leeds Corn Exchange which is somewhere I've seen online loads and always wanted to go to. It's full of independent boutiques and quirky shops so it's definitely worth a visit if you want to buy from small businesses this Christmas. It's so cute inside too.
The Yorkshire Soap Company, Leeds
Leeds Corn Exchange
We then walked upto the Xmas market which is based at Millennium Square this year. Pretty much straight away I didn't get that feeling I usually do when we go to a Christmas market, it might sound silly but if you're as Christmas obsessed as I am I'm sure you'll know what I mean. It just looked quite bare and compared to the photos I've seen online, there really isn't loads to see. We did have a delish hot chocolate though and the stall doing these crispy fried potatoes are 100% worth checking out if you're visiting the market. I could totally eat them again right now. I'm still really glad we went and it's another ticked off our list but I just don't think we'll be making a point of going back again just yet. Next up is the York markets which I have a feeling are going to be really special and I'm already making note of a few others to visit next year so let me know if you have any recommendations!
collage - Leeds Xmas market, hot chocolate, carousel, donuts, selfie
Later on that day before picking Bear up from daycare we had an impromptu cinema trip to see Last Christmas and this might be my highlight of the weekend because it was just exactly what you want in a Christmas film. It was a little cheesy of course but it was just lovely and better than I could have predicted. I cried A LOT, just so good.
Last Christmas film
The rest of the weekend ended up being full of cleaning, cooking and catching up on work as I have been seriously slack with writing blog posts recently so pretty boring but I still found time for a spot of baking, we watched Christmas films and of course on Sunday it was time for advent calendars. I splashed out a little this year and treated myself to the Treatbox Advent Calendar and I'm loving it so far. It's a mix of lifestyle, beauty, home and more so I really have no idea what I'm opening each day which I love. So far I've received this pretty Christmas countdown from Sass & Belle, a lovely manicure set, a Cinnamon & Apple candle which is basically Christmas in a jar, a gorgeous bracelet, hand cream and handmade cards. Bear is also enjoying having an early morning treat each day too!
Sass & Belle Christmas Countdown in front of Christmas tree
Bear next to his advent calendar
Last weekend was a perfect way to start of December, I just don't want this month to fly by! Anyone else feel like Christmas is coming around so much faster this year?

Have you visited any Christmas markets or seen Last Christmas?

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Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Recent Favourites - & Juliet, The Politician & Christmas Markets

It's been a while since my previous favourites post so I thought I would do a final one before the end of 2019. How are we so close to Christmas already?! I'm not ready for it all to be over. Over the last few months I've been keeping note of some products I've been going back to over and over again, TV shows I've binge-watched and places I've been so let's get started.
collage - The Politician poster, Bear on autumn walk, home bargains candle, hot chocolate, body shop pear range, & Juliet CD, Last Christmas movie

& Juliet Cast Recording

Okay we have to talk about this first because I AM OBSESSED. In case you didn't see last month I shared my review of this brand new musical and honestly I am just waiting to see it again now. It's a twist on the classic love story of Romeo & Juliet - what would happen if Juliet lived? It's just so much fun, cheesy at times, full of heart and the cast are out of this world. After a run in Manchester, it's now open in the West End at the Shaftesbury Theatre and to tie in with that they've just released the original cast recording. It's full of songs you are guaranteed to have heard, some with a little twist and I just can't stop playing it. AMAZING.
& Juliet cast recording

Autumn Walks

The cold crisp weather is my favourite and there's nothing better than going for a long walk and then getting back to a cosy home afterwards. We took Bear for a lovely Autumn walk recently to somewhere we'd not been before and he absolutely loved it! We all met so many other dogs so I was in my element just as much as he was and the place we went was beautiful. The sun was shining but there was a chill in the air and the ground was covered in crunchy leaves. Autumn and Winter are just the best months.
Bear in the woods

The Body Shop Pear Range

I was a little disappointed when it was revealed that The Body Shop weren't bringing back their peppermint range this year so I wasn't going to get anything but then I had a sniff of the brand new Pear range when we were in Leeds last month and OMG I think it might actually be their best yet. It's surprisingly festive but is fruity enough that you could use the scent all year round. I got the shower gel, a bath bomb and the body yoghurt which is just divine to use after a shower. I'm hoping it will go sale after Christmas so I can stock up!
The Body Shop Pear range - shower gel, bath bomb and body yoghurt

Home Bargains Vanilla Sugar Cookies Candle

This candle is bloody brilliant. Forget paying over £20 for a Yankee Candle, get yourself down to Home Bargains and pick up one of these for just £2.99! I mentioned in my Christmas Homeware Haul that I'd stocked up on the Vanilla Sugar Cookies tealights but I couldn't resist the big candle too and for the price, it's an absolute steal. It makes the whole living room smell gorgeous for hours and it is honestly just as good as the the more expensive candles from various brands, I have no idea how but it is. I keep burning this but I don't want it to run out. There are a few other festive scents too though so I might try and grab some of those whilst they're still available as it's just too good of a bargain to miss.
Home Bargains Vanilla Sugar Cookies candles

Christmas Markets

God, I ADORE Christmas markets! Every year George and I try to get to a couple at least and normally we visit the Manchester ones in Albert Square as they just do Christmas SO well. We also usually have some sort of festive trip to London so Winter Wonderland and the Southbank Market have been enjoyed many times but this year we switched it up. Last weekend we went to the Leeds market for the first time and whilst it wasn't the best we've been too and not one I'd really plan a visit to again over others, I'm still glad we went. We devoured the most delicious fried potatoes, struggled with the spiciest currywurst I've ever had in my life and drank a beautiful hot chocolate in the cutest mug which I definitely snuck home with me. It was such a festive day so I'm still really glad we went somewhere new and now I'm just uber excited to see what York's market is like in a few weeks.
Hot chocolate at Leeds Christmas Market

Last Christmas

As we had lots of time to spare before picking Bear up from daycare after our trip to Leeds we went to see Last Christmas finally and I'm still not over it. I'm sure it won't go down in history as one of the best ever Xmas films but for people like me who love any sort of Christmas film, it was PERFECT. It was so heartwarming, funny with brilliant acting from Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, all the music is George Michael which felt really special and of course it was #emosh. I cried A LOT which I wasn't expecting and if I think about it I can feel myself ready to go again, but seriously if you've been thinking about seeing it, do it! It's a lovely, feel good film that's sure to get you in a festive mood.
Last Christmas movie

The Politician

You know when you find a TV show where as soon as it ends you want to go right back to the beginning and re-watch? Well The Politician made me feel that way. I mentioned this in my latest Netflix recommendations so I won't go on too much but it's just absolutely brilliant. It follows student Payton who knows one day he will be president but for now he has to tackle becoming his school's student body president. Ben Platt is incredible as the lead but the whole cast are fantastic and I can't wait to see where they take it in the next series. The music throughout is stunning too.
The Politician Netflix
So that's everything I've been wanting to mention over the last few weeks. I'd love to know if you've been to any Christmas markets too, or if you have any other Netflix recommendations?

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Tuesday, 3 December 2019

My Festive Snowmen Cupcakes Recipe

I love baking. I love Christmas. But it's not often I actually do much festive baking. When I bake I tend to stick to the usual chocolate cakes, brownies (as I'm sure you've seen with the variety I've been sharing recently!) and biscuits regardless of the time of year but this year I really wanted to try a few new things in the lead up to Christmas and one I was really keen on trying was Snowmen Cupcakes. There are a variety of recipes online and ideas for decorating but I kept it quite simple with a basic chocolate cupcake recipe and then I improvised with the toppings. I found the marshmallow snowmen in Asda for £2 (it's a huge bag too!), the Marshmallow fluff was just over £1 in B&M, M&M's are basically a cupboard staple for us 😂 and Matchmakers are a firm fave at Xmas so it's not too hard to get all of the bits together for these. To say I fully expected these to end up looking a little dodgy, I'm so pleased with how they turned out!
Ingredients:
100g butter/margarine
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
75g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
Marshmallow fluff
Snowmen marshmallows
Matchmakers
M&M's

Method:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (180 fan) and line a bun tin with bun cases. This recipe will make 12 cupcakes
2. Add your butter, caster sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, cocoa powder and baking powder to a bowl then beat well with an electric whisk for 1-2 minutes until smooth. You could add in the ingredients one by one and mix by hand but I find with certain things throwing it all in and using an electric whisk works much better!
3. Spoon the mixture into the bun cases (I used just over a tablespoon per case) and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes
4. The cakes should be well risen after 20 minutes then leave to cool on a wire rack
5. When the cakes are completely cool, you can start to assemble the snowmen! I used a teaspoon of marshmallow fluff on each cupcake and spread with a knife. I then added the snowmen marshmallows to the top, used 1 matchmaker per cupcake for the arms and two M&M's for the buttons
And that's it! A really simple cupcake recipe which goes so well with just plain milk chocolate on top or icing sugar if you'd rather do that instead but one that can really become something fun with ideas like this. These cupcakes could be a great one to enjoy over the festive period, you could maybe take them into work to enjoy or even make them with your kids, it's a recipe all the family can get involved in!

Let me know if give these a try or if you have any other christmassy recipes you recommend.

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