Blogmas # 14 Getting into the Christmas Spirit

This year I have really struggled to get into the Christmas spirit and start to feel festive. A lot has happened this year in my personal life and I don’t know if that has impacted that but I have been starting to feel more Christmassy over this last week so I wanted to share a list of things that have made me get a little bit more festive!

Christmas Markets: Whilst this isn’t something everyone can do, I would highly recommend this one! Walking around Christmas stalls selling amazingly scented gingerbread to beautiful decorations surrounded by Christmas music always brings out my festive spirit. There is a lovely atmosphere and it really makes me start to feel the warmth and coziness of the season.

Friends: A lot of my friends are either at university or are working full time, like me, so I don’t always get to see as much of them as I would like. I have spent quite a bit of time with friends over the last week or so, especially with having rehearsals for our Christmas concert and it has really made me feel more jolly!

Baking: If I have time on a Sunday afternoon, I really love to bake cookies and have a play with the recipe to see what seasonal twists I can make. The smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies reminds me of baking with my grandparents around Christmas and that brings back a lot of happy memories for me!

Christmas Music: It is only over the past week or so that I have actually let myself listen to Christmas music, but it really makes all the difference. My favourite album at the minute is Christmas in New York.Screenshot 2018-12-13 at 21.58.17.png

Decorations: Once the tree is up and everywhere is covered in fairy lights, I always feel much more merry and in the spirit of Christmas. We decorated our office at work this week which has brought a really lovely atmosphere!

What are your favourite ways to help yourself start to feel festive?

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Blogmas # 13 Little Q&A

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying Blogmas! I am starting to find it quite challenging due to having a lot of stuff on at the moment at work and at home, but I want to keep going with it for as long as I can. I want to do a few little chatty posts in between the more structured ones, so I hope you don’t mind that. For today’s Blogmas, I thought it might be nice to do a little Q&A!

What made you decide to start your blog?

I used to write a beauty blog a few years ago and really enjoyed it but once my exams started to come around I didn’t spend much time on it and I gradually stopped all together. This year I have really wanted to get back into blogging and have a new start. I love having a place to share my thoughts and experiences whilst connecting with other bloggers in the community.

What do you do for fun?

I am part of an amateur dramatics group that perform a musical once a year and usually a Christmas concert around this time of year. I love being involved in every stage of the production and perfomance of a show. My main focus is dance and I was really lucky to get to co-choreograph our production on Bring It On The Musical in the summer.

What is your dream job?

This one is really difficult to answer. As a child I always wanted to be a dancer, but as I got a bit older this became less of a realistic dream for me. I find psychology and crime related professions fascinating so that is a path I am looking into going down. I am starting my degree in January in Psychology and Criminology so that will hopefully be the first step towards a proper career path for me.

What is the best place you have visited?

A few years ago, I was really lucky to be able to visit Tanzania and Zanzibar on a trip with my 6th form to help build and teach at a school that we were partnered with. I do want to write a full post on this so I won’t go into too much detail but it was such an amazing and fulfilling couple of weeks that completely changed my perspective on a lot of things. I would really recommend taking a trip like that at least once in your lifetime to go!

I hope you are all having a lovely December and let me know if you are doing Blogmas too!

Blogmas # 12 Sick Days

During the winter, I always always get all of the colds that are floating around so I have had quite a few days this colder weather when I have felt a bit rubbish. Sometimes the only thing you want to do is curl up in bed and sleep the fog away but sometimes you have to get up and get on with the day as normal.

When I have to get up and go to work when I am not feeling my best I go into the office armed with all the supplies I could possibly need to get through the day.

Painkillers: Painkillers are my best friend when it comes to getting through the work day when I just want to be at home in bed. My desk drawer is always equipped with a box of Lemsip sachets or paracetamol as well as ibuprofen and throat sweets.

Tissues: I always keep tissues in my desk but especially when I have a cold. I like the balm ones because they are really soft and don’t make your nose feel quite so sore.

Lip Balm/Protective Balm: Not only is this great for keeping your lips moisturised, it is perfect for putting around your nose to stop it getting so chapped from constantly being rubbed by a tissue. I often get a really sore nose when I have a cold and it just helps to soothe it and keep it moisturised.

When I am feeling a bit under the weather I  don’t tend to wear too much makeup as I quite often end up rubbing most of it off anyway! On these days, I like to make sure I have my moisturiser with me in case my skin startings feeling tight and dry.

Also, on these days, I like to find really comfy outfits that I can still wear to the office but don’t feel restricted. My favourite combo is an oversized jumper with either jeans or leggings and boots. This way I am comfy and still look presentable.

 

Blogmas # 11 Favourite Christmas Films

Every year at the begining of December my mum gets all of the Christmas films out and lines them up on the windowsill. I always reach for the same few films every year and will always watch them!

The Holiday – This is probably my favourite film in general, not just for Christmas. I love the two separate plots that intertwine and come together in the end. I love the strong female leads and strong supporting male roles. I love the cosy and warm feeling of the film.

Muppets Christmas Carol – This is a family favourite and it’s one that comes out every year that we all sit down to watch together. It is lighthearted and festive whilst also telling the original story very well!

Elf – Another classic Christmas film that I love to put on whilst baking festive treats or whilst decorating the Christmas tree. It is just an easy going, happy film that gets you feeling in the spirit.

Nightmare Before Christmas – This is a film that I love to watch on a cosy night in all wrapped un in bed. I often watch this all year round because it focuses on so many different holidays but Halloween and Christmas are usually when I watch it the most.

Arthur Christmas – When this film was released we saw it in the cinema with my grandparents and it has been a firm favourite ever since. Both of my grandparents really enjoyed it because it was just a fun Christmassy film and it became a bit of a tradition to watch it with them when they came to stay at Christmas so I want to carry that on this year.

Which Christmas film is your favourite?

Blogmas # 10 Winter Pamper Evening

I absolutely love setting aside a full afternoon or evening ever now and again to have a proper pamper evening so I thought I would share with you my favourite things to do in this time.

The first thing I do is run a bath. I really love the Lush Comforter Bubble Bar because it makes so many bubbles and turns the water such a lovely colour! The blackcurrant scent is my favourite of all the Lush Bubble Bar scents too.

Just before I get in the bath, I like to take all my makeup off with the Clinique Take The Day Off Balm and then wash off any extra residue and dirt with the Clinique Liquid Facial Soap. I then put a layer of the No7 Moisture Mask and get into the bath.

After I have had a soak in the bath, I like to rinse off, shave my legs and wash my hair. On the days when I am having a proper pamper, I use my Tony&Guy Damage Repair hair mask which I leave on for about 5 minutes.

Once I am done with my bath and have washed my hair I jump out and moisturise. My favourite body lotion at the minute is the Vaseline Cocoa one but I also love the Soap and Glory Body Butters! I then move onto my hair, which I usually roughly blowdry once I have added in some hair oil.

Pamper nights usually coincide with bed sheet changing day so my favourite bit of the evening is getting changed into some fluffy pjs and snuggling up in bed to watch a film. This, of course, only happens once I light my candles and turn on my fairy lights to make my bedroom really cosy.

When you have a pamper evening what is your favourite step?

Blogmas # 9 Christmas Cookies

I love making cookies at any time of year but around Christmas I tend to switch up the recipe a bit to make it more festive. The original recipe I used was the BBC Good Food Millie’s Cookies recipe but this has evolved over time so it is a bit different!

  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 175g Light Brown Sugar
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Salted Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 tsp Ginger
  • 200g Chocolate Chips (or roughly chopped chocolate)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Soften the butter and combine with both types of sugar.
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla essence and combine with the sugar and butter mix.
  4. Sieve the flour into the bowl and add in the salt along with the cinnamon and ginger. Mix everything together.
  5. Add in the chocolate chips.
  6. Section into 12 and roll into balls.
  7. Put on the baking tray (I usually put 6 to a tray as they spread out quite a bit!) and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Do keep checking on them as depending on the oven it can vary quite a bit!
  8. Once they are out of the oven, they are really nice warm but are also great once cooled. They do keep in a tin for 4 or 5 days!

Blogmas # 7 Super Easy Hot Chocolate

When the weather starts getting colder and the nights get darker I love to snuggle up in the evening with a hot chocolate. I have recently found my new favourite way of making it with a slightly festive twist. This is super simple, but with a bit of a twist as I like to use the Innocent Hazelnut Milk rather than dairy milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Innocent Hazelnut Milk
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Green & Blacks Hot Chocolate Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Teaspoons of Sweet Garam Masala (This can be swapped out for any other spice you like)

Method:

Pour your milk into your pan and place over a gentle heat.

Add in the hot chocolate powder and cocoa powder and whisk into the milk.

Once this is all combined, add in the vanilla extract and the spice of your choice. I really love the sweet Garam Masala as it gives it a rounded Chai flavour rather than just the cinnamon.

 

What is your favourite festive twist on hot chocolate? I would love to try out some other recipes!

 

Blogmas # 6 Stocking Fillers for Her

Following on from yesterday’s stocking filler ideas for Him, here are some stocking fillers/small gifts for her! I have linked a few things that I really love as an example for each one (non of which are affiliate links).

Fluffy Socks: No matter how many pairs of fluffy socks I already have, I always love receiving fluffy socks (especially Christmas themed ones!). Topshop have some really pretty patterns and they are really soft!

Candles: Again, this is something I absolutely love to receive as a gift and also love to pick out scents for other people. There are just so many different scents and I always find something new to try! Yankee Candle always do really nice Christmas stocking filler sets too!

Mugs: Especially around Christmas, there are always so many options when it comes to mugs and I think they make a great gift because they can be so personal. I love this one from Prezzy Box: https://www.prezzybox.com/for-fox-sake-mug.aspx

Custom Decorations: There are so many options for customised Christmas decorations and I really love the item of getting these for friends with some of my favourite photos of us all! Not on The High Street has a really nice hanging decoration that is customisable: https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/sophiavictoriajoy/product/personalised-hanging-photo-decoration

 

Blogmas # 5 Stocking Fillers for Him

I thought I would put together a little list of some stocking fillers for the men in your life. These are things that my dad, my brother or my boyfriend would love. I have included a few links so you can see some examples!

Table Top Sports Game: This is the sort of thing that my dad loves and is always something fun to play on Chirstmas Day/Boxing Day.  The Works have a Foosball version which is very similar to the one I bought my dad last year! https://www.theworks.co.uk/p/activity-toys/tabletop-football/5052089255906?CAWELAID=720011340002669535&CATARGETID=720011340002488683&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAiA0O7fBRASEiwAYI9QAh9026vRfNaV14RGLa_vXSliEo8ZPG1P9QCWG4V0fyrIGw13MBCrlBoCGcoQAvD_BwE

Christmas Socks: Socks are always a winner and in my family we love to find the craziest Chirstmas patterned ones we can find! Asos have a really great selection this year!

Christmas Hats: Along with the Christmas socks, this is also one that my family love. I have bought them from Primark and Sainsbury’s in the past, but H&M have some different ones this year! https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0697456001.html?gclid=CjwKCAiA0O7fBRASEiwAYI9QAuvbdE2sj-g2Sde4Ddai7H8RrBTaX32s23WS6A_1SqD5GUfrezYtERoCVZwQAvD_BwE&ef_id=W-xClQAAAPxUNdI4:20181126185933:s&s_kwcid=AL!850!3!296852201991!!!g!309247138059!#modal-1

Magic Tricks/Puzzles: This is one that my boyfriend loves. Most supermarkets have these around christmas in their stocking filler section but Amazon is also a great place to look!