Friday, 30 December 2011

Après Christmas

 My beautiful new camera, courtesy of my exceedingly kind Mother. Just need to work out how to use it now...

I hope you all had wonderful Christmases and haven't had to go back to work yet. I've got Hubby until the 3rd (too soon!) but I'm still off until the 9th! The ultimate perk of working in education is the divine number of holidays you get. We have been taking it super easy since we got back from visiting family, partially because it's the holidays, and partially because I somehow managed to hurt my back (again) and so haven't been very mobile. It's feeling much better now, so much so that we actually considered leaving the house today (we've been holed up playing Lego Harry Potter - our post-Christmas present to ourselves), but just as we started to get ready, it started to throw it down with rain and continued to all day! Alas, another afternoon spent curled up on the sofa, in front of the fire, playing our favourite video games and drinking endless cups of tea...

It's a hard life isn't it?!

When we've not been on the xbox, we've been playing with our new Christmas presents - we were spoilt rotten by our families (and each other, naturally) this year, and our presents went down well (I think/hope).

Now that everyone's received them, I can safely reveal what we (well, mostly I, but Hubby did help too) made. The presents were mostly food and drink based, tailored to people's tastes and allergies (although I did forget my sister-in-law's gluten allergy, oops). We made blackberry liquor (using this blackcurrant recipe) and mulled wine for the drinkers amongst the grown-ups, and put them in pretty bottles we found at Ikea (I hinted a peak at them here). Special "festive" rocky road (thanks Nigella!) and peanut butter fudge  for those with a sweet tooth - the RR came out excellently, with the cherries and amaretti biscuits making it feel more decadent and christmas-sy, and the fudge worked well when it was fresh, but went a little squishy once it was out of the fridge unfortunately :( Since my Mum's neither much for alcohol or sweets, I made her some mincemeat, with the promise of a baking session we didn't have time for in the end - maybe next year? and some blackberry jam - made with the pulp from the liquor - no waste here.

I also made a candle for each person, in a chintzy vintage (read: charity shop) cup using wax and dyes I bought off eBay. This all seemed just that little bit too easy to do, and of course, it was - they all came out in terribly delicate pastel colours- pretty, but not so good for the boys in my family, and because I poured the wax too early, they all cracked all over the tops.

 Not to be beaten, and luckily not out of wax, I whipped up a drop more, in slightly bolder colours, and added a tiny extra layer to the candles to sort out both problems in one go.

Since I was on a handmade present kick at this point, I made crunchy granola and brandied cherries for my Mum's birthday too, and my eldest brother (who's birthday is today actually, Happy Birthday G!) got homemade basil and chili oil. We sneaked a nip out of the pan with a crust of bread and I can safely say, the basil oil is divine! Now can you see why I've blogged so little this month? I've been rushed off my feet!

You might think I'm crazy but I've already started thinking about next Christmas too. Hubby came up with a decidedly bold, but brilliant, suggestion which would involve some growing, so we'd have to plan it early, if it were even possible! And we've been snapping up a few more Christmas decorations to add to our eclectic collection - we've been buying a few each year so that by the time we are Old we will have hundreds!

One thing that Hubby MUST NOT READ is a truly incredible present idea I have found for him which will need to be started ASAP. Very excited by this one. If you have a loved one in your life, you might want to consider clicking this link here (No spoilers please!). I think it's such a fab idea.

Are you doing anything nice for New Year's? We'll probably do our usual thing of curling up with a film - maybe having a cheeky glass of fizz, but that's all. I love the hope and promise of a new year and a fresh start, but I'm not much one for fireworks and all the pomp surrounding this holiday. Have fun if you're celebrating and stay safe.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


My house is looking very festive, more and more decorations go up by the day, tinsel is attached to every thing and there are cards everywhere...

Unfortunately I'm not feeling very festive myself :( Hubby and I have both been poorly for the last week or so, and have been confined to bed and pajamas - feeling rotten does NOT get you in the Christmas spirit, let me tell you, nor does it make you feel much like blogging. I've been a bit rubbish this last month or two, too much going on to get it all down on virtual paper! But I'm going to try harder in the new year as I do really enjoy sharing my stories and pictures with  all you lovely readers. I'm also going to be going on a bit of a health kick (AFTER the holidays, obviously) which will hopefully a bit more successful than my attempt at the 30 day shred in December. I was trying to perk up my energy levels for Christmas, but just ended up feeling worse so I abandoned it :)  

But now I have one last tiny bit of Christmas crafting to do, then a few last presents to wrap and I am done! I finished work yesterday and have spent the day tidying up the house, Hubby is on his way home from work and our holidays are ready to begin - horray. The next few days will be spent lazing around the house, watching endless films and eating all the chocolate we can lay our hands on (that's what Christmas is all about, right?) before we go to spend a few days seeing various family members, and eating a lot more food.

If I don't get around to blogging beforehand, assume I'm too busy having fun and have a WONDERFUL Christmas. Try not to kill your siblings and remember to be grateful for all your presents, even if they're rubbish - people mean well. Oh, and don't miss the Doctor Who special, 7pm BBC1! A definite must on my list.

P.S. One last thing to tick of my list is to finish the 30 day journal challenge I started about, oh, 6 months ago. I WILL finish it this year if I am up until 23.59 on New Years Eve

Monday, 12 December 2011

My Weekend

It's been a busy old weekend for me here in Yorkshire, mostly pretty great but with a couple of sour notes.

Hubby and I drove to Bolton on Friday, to stay with my Grandma and to see The Saturdays in Manchester, but got caught in the worst traffic going over - what should've taken just over an hour took almost three! We got caught in a mini-snow blizzard crossing the Pennines and barely made it over 30mph for most of the trip. Sigh. Luckily we'd left early enough that we didn't miss any of the concert, and got to see the fabulous Oh My! as one of the support acts. A really fun pop duo who are apparently British, but have a real Swedish vibe about them. Dirty Dancer was my favourite of the songs they did, and we had great fun having a little dance, I'd love to see them again.

Then The Saturdays came on and were pretty great. They played a LOT of the new album (10 out of 14 songs!), which I've not listened to that much yet, but Get Ready, Get Set, Faster, The Way You Watch Me and the singles of the album were all still easy to sing along to. Ego was, obviously, fantastic, and I loved the mash-up of If This Is Love with Moves Like Jagger. I'd have liked a bit more in terms of production - when we saw Girls Aloud there, they put on much more of a 'show' in terms of staging and dancing and movement around the arena, but it was still really good. And they did make it snow at the end so all was not lost :)

(images from Google)

Saturday was supposed to be spent at a medical appointment in Manchester, which was, very frustratingly, cancelled at the very last minute on Saturday morning. Argh! But, the silver lining was that we were able to have lunch with some of my family at the Lowry Hotel.

We weren't exactly dressed for the occasion, but since I always have a collection of brightly coloured lipsticks rattling round my handbag, I rouged up and felt more dressy instantly.

We popped into Ikea on the way home for a new bookshelf and a few more Christmas decorations, then spent the rest of the evening catching up with Strictly and occasionally flicking X Factor on, shuddering in horror and then turning it off again. Sunday was pretty much a write-off. One of those lazy days where you sleep late and basically just watch loads of telly. Ideal after being out all weekend.

What was your weekend like? Busy, lazy or both?!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My style crush on Taylor Swift

There. I said it. I think Taylor Swift is 'the bomb'. Yes her music is corny and a bit silly, and yes, the girl does love her sparkles a littttle too much...


But seriously, her 'off-duty' style is to DIE for. There's a real simplicity and elegance to her look, and it's clean-cut whilst still being age-appropriate. Taylor (TayTay as I fondly refered to her when I'm having a good old singalong of Band Hero), you're too cute.

Whenever she pops up on Red Carpet Fashion Awards (a favourite read of mine), I'm always impressed with how she channels old Hollywood glamour - I love her Marcel waves - whilst remaining true to her teenage, country, sparkles loving self. But the look that has me going gaga at the moment?

Seriously Taylor, I DIE. It's so simple yet so heavenly. From the pleated skirt to the colourful satchel, the sassy red lips and the simple pearl earrings, it's just too perfect. Girl sure knows how to colour block. Swoooooon.

What do you think, are you swooning too or do you think she's overrated? Do you get sick of her sparkly red carpet dresses?

All images via Google image search
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...