24 Days of Christmas: Day 5-Jingle All The Way

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I really had to resist just writing “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Christmas film” as today’s blog post, because frankly if that doesn’t sell it to you I don’t know what will.

The main main himself plays a workaholic father who fails to buy his son the one gift he wants, which also happens to be the must have gift of the season. Calamity ensues as he sets off on Christmas Eve to track down the sold out action figure for his son and takes on desperate parents, con-men and the police.

You’re certainly not going to find world class acting or script writing in this film, but it’s pure farcical comedy at its best, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is great as always (although I’ll admit I am biased as he could say boo and I’d laugh). It’s easy going fun for the whole family and any parent watching will empathise with his plight of trying to track down the must have Christmas present for their child. It’s very heavily set at Christmas so there’s plenty of holiday backdrops to get you feeling festive, and if that doesn’t work the classic Christmas soundtrack definitely will.

All in all the film is certainly not life changing but it’s very funny and the perfect type of film to put on when people are tired and fancy something enjoyable that you don’t really need to pay attention to. My family and I watch it every year and the over the top explosive ending still makes me laugh, and I think that the fact that we keep coming back to it year after year and enjoying it is the sign of a truly great Christmas film.

As always let me know if you guys have seen this film and what you thought of it, I know it can be pretty divisive in my friendship group depending on who’s an Arnie fan! I’d love to know what you guys have thought of my choices so far and what you’re hoping will be next!

 

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24 Days of Christmas Films

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Over the years it seems that escaping from the cold and getting cosy in front of a Christmas film has become an integral part of the holiday season, and I think it’s often the easiest way to get yourself into the festive spirit. It’s certainly one of the things I look most forward to in the run up to Christmas, so I thought what better way to mark the run up to December 25th on this blog than to compile a list of what I think are some of the top Christmas movies to get you in the mood .

From tomorrow I’ll be sharing my favourites starting with the ones that give you a sprinkling of Christmas for those who are wanting to dip their toe before diving fully into the festive season, slowly building in festivity until we reach the full force Christmas favourites we all know and love. Hopefully it’ll help build the excitement for you guys and as there’ll be a few more adult choices as well, I’ve tried my best to incorporate alternatives in those cases so whatever your taste you’ll never have to miss a day!

So starting from tomorrow I hope you guys will be following along and as always I’d love to know if you guys have any particular favourites that you love to watch or hope to see on the list!

Christmas Bits ‘n Pieces

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Little known fact, Christmas is my FAVOURITE time of year. Seriously from my birthday to Halloween to Fireworks nights, I feel every holiday is a mini celebration before the big mumma, Christmas. This means more often than not I get a little bit more spendy than usual at this time of year, so I thought I’d share with you guys some of the bits and pieces I’ve recently picked up in case you’re in need of some inspiration. Not to mention the best bit is the most expensive item on the list will still only cost you £6!

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Silver Glitter Gift Tags-Paperchase-£1.25

Chocolate Coins-Wilkinsons-£0.50

Winter House Tea Light Holder-Wilkinsons-£3

Snowflake Fairy Lights-Primark-£6

Metal Star Decoration-Wilkinsons-£1.50

Santa Claus Letter Decoration-Wilkinsons-£1

Christmas Ribbon Selection-Paperchase-£1.75

Penguin Felt Christmas Decoration-Wilkinsons-£1.50

Golden Glitter Pine Cones-Primark-£2

Tis the Season To Be Jolly-Wilkinsons-£1

Minature Glass Bauble Set-Wilkinsons-£2.50

Velvet Wrap Ribbon-Tiger-£1

Merry Christmas Decoration-Wilkinsons-£1.50

Gingerbread man present topper-Paperchase-£1.50

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I hope this post has given you a little bit of inspiration on how to get some cute Christmas bits on a budget and has got you into the festive spirit. I know it’s a cliché but I really do love Christmas, so expect more festive posts on their way soon! In the mean time I’d love to know where your favourite place to shop for Christmas bits is as I’m always on the lookout for more!

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Summer Party Family Style

As my family lives far and wide across the U.K. it’s not often that we all manage to get together in the same place. But with my great Uncle’s 70th looming, him and my Aunt decided to celebrate with a big blow out to make the most of the sun with good food and good company, and boy they didn’t let us down.

We arrived and walked round the corner of the house into what must be as close as England is going to get to being a tropical paradise!

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While the children made the most of the pool the rest of us relaxed in the sun and had a good old fashioned catch up.

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For once in my life I forgot to photograph the food which should tell you just how good it was! They had laid on enough for a small army with everything from hams, salads, fresh bread, salmon, and anything else that you could possibly want.

But a special mention has to go to the wine which I did manage to photograph, which had been flown in all the way from the Alps! Crisp, fresh and fruity it was a perfect accompaniment to the delicious feast.

DSC03278DSC03281  DSC03286  After all that feasting we decided to wander around the tropical paradise (and take a few photos as well).  DSC03311 DSC03312

Hidden behind these Hydrangea’s which had me swooning they were so beautiful, I discovered a little hideaway from all the craziness, squirreled away in the tropical forest.
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What I wouldn’t give for one of these in my back garden as my own little office/ reading nook.

Swooning over, I couldn’t help but strike a pose against the beautiful flowers.DSC03361Dress: Zara (Similar here, here and here), Denim Jacket: Topshop (similar here), Bag: Kate Spade (similar here), Sunglasses: ASOS, Pumps: Topshop.

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Usually I am the type of person who dreads these sorts of ‘smart/casual’ occasions as I often end up either too smart or too casual, but this recent Zara purchase has saved me. The more eagle eyed of you will recognise this as the dress I graduated in which emphasises just how versatile it is, not to mention how obsessed I am with it! Paired with my favourite Topshop denim jacket and pumps and my Kate Spade Saturday bag which I picked up in New York shortly before they closed, I think I’ve finally nailed the smart casual brief.
DSC03408DSC03398 DSC03412  After all that ‘hard work’ there was nothing left to do but enjoy the rest of the day, which is already one of the highlights of my Summer. I’d love to know if any of you have any tips of how you strike the balance of that dreaded smart/casual dress code and your favourite ways to have fun with your family this summer!

Graduation Belfast Style

So as you will probably know last week I headed back up to Belfast to finally pack up the remnants of the past three years of my life, and probably more importantly to graduate university! I’m still waiting for it all to sink in and the possibilities that now lie ahead of me, but in the meantime I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite parts of the day.

After the ceremony (which went by in the blink of an eye) I finally got my piece of paper proving that those three years of hard work weren’t for nothing and left me severely needing a drink. With the family in tow we headed to the newly opened Miel et Moi which is Belfast’s first licensed patisserie for some cocktails and cakes (my favourite combination).

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And boy did we have plenty to choose from! From tarts and eclairs to cakes and gateaus they have everything you could dream of, and with them all freshly baked every morning it was hard to resist not getting one of everything.
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In the end we managed to cut it down to just four deciding that dividing and conquering was the best way to tackle the amazing treats on offer. Trying to tick every box we went for viennese whirls, lemon madelines, a strawberry and white chocolate eclair and a rosewater gateau.

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Note the problem of ‘resting bitch face’ (of which I am a chronic sufferer of), but I can assure you that faces actually translates into me having the time of my life haha.DSC02943 DSC02948

As you can see they were so good it was impossible to get pictures of them all before we’d sneaked a bite. I have to say as a girl who has tasted her fair share of cakes and pastries the bar was set pretty high, but I can honestly say these blew me away. I have never tasted a viennese whirl so buttery and crumbly with the lemon curd cream filling perfectly providing a balance of tartness to the sweet. The lemon madeline (which I had to order to channel my inner Sansa Stark, Game of Throne fans you’ll know what I’m talking about) was so incredibly moist and fresh I could’ve eaten hundreds of them. Now while eclairs aren’t exactly my bag, my eclair obsessed sister assures me that it was the best she’s ever eaten, but my favourite has to be the rosewater gateau. I have never experienced a sponge like it,, it had the texture of air while melting in your mouth and the delicateness of the rosewater can only be described as the taste of summer. Paired with a combination of teas and bellinis with freshly made coulis it was the perfect high tea to celebrate the end of my time at university. Not to mention the setting was pretty idyllic too.DSC02917DSC02972

After all that it’s probably not really a surprise that we couldn’t resist going home without picking up a couple for the road. But with pastries this delicious it’s just too hard to say no!  DSC02912

If any of you are in or around Belfast, or even visiting in the future I highly recommend you swing by for a visit as with breakfast, lunch or dinner menus it’s perfect for every sort of celebration or even for an everyday treat. I’m still coming to terms with the post graduation blues so I’d love to hear your graduation stories, or if you have any cute places you like to visit I am always on the lookout for new recommendations. And if you haven’t graduated yet, good luck!

Dear Santa, For Christmas I would really like…

142324So my favourite time of year is almost upon us and after compiling my picks for both the boys and girls in your life, I thought I would share the top items I’m hoping for Santa to put in my stockings this year.

I am a massive fan of mugs, to the extent that I could probably have every single person I know round for tea and have the perfect mug for each of them, but that doesn’t mean I need to stop now, does it? This is to cute and as a suck for a fairy tale love story I can’t help but fall for this adorable H&M mug and who knows it might bring me my own Prince Charming in 2015!

Having maintained this blog for 6 months now (where has the time gone?), I have realised just how much I have been enjoying it and now really want to get my hands on some proper hardware to take it to the next level. I have everything crossed that I’m super lucky and find this awesome Sony under my tree, especially just in time to take some great photos in New York!

Now every year in my family we have a tradition that on Christmas Eve we get a new pair of pyjamas and these Christmas pudding ones are the best I’ve seen to make sure I wake up on Christmas morning in the most festive mood ever! Not to mention I will definitely be dropping hints that they’re now on sale!

Ever since I saw these on a Zoella video a few months ago I have been completely in love. I think they are the classiest, prettiest, girliest most beautiful headphones I’ve ever seen, and if it wasn’t for the (ahem) slightly steep price tag I would’ve been the proud owner of these for a very long time. But hopefully I’ve been a good enough girl to receive these this year, especially as they would make that 8 hour to New York so much nicer and stylish!

As you can probably tell travel and comfort presents are a bit of a recurring theme in my list this year and this gorgeous Mango jumper fills both of them. I am an absolute jumper obsessive during the winter months and although I put myself on a jumper ban this year, this totally doesn’t count as a) it’s cream and I don’t have a cream one and b) definitely doesn’t count if you don’t buy it, yes?  Pretty awful excuses but if you can’t be ridiculous at Christmas when can you, plus it’s also on sale (cough).

As a reknowned foodie but also beauty junkie this book seems like the perfect mix not to mention it will hopefully make 2015 a healthy one. Everyone I know who has this absolutely raves about it plus there’s always something nice about chilling out with something to read on Christmas day after you’ve eaten your weight in food.

After I have literally just admitted to my beauty junkie ways it’s probably no surprise this has surfaced on my list. One of the must have makeup kits of the year and adored by beauty bloggers everywhere this has had a firm place on my list since I first heard about it. As a massive fan of the Naked palettes, this to me is the perfect combination of everything you need on a night out in one cute little package and considering how much you get in it I think is incredibly good value as well!

Stereotypical girl present right here but who doesn’t love a candle and even better an adorable initial candle! From Kate Spade’s Saturday brand (which is somewhere I’m definitely heading when I’m in New York) it’s super cute and the perfect addition to add to my new house when I move next year!

Another one in the way of planning ahead to moving is this adorable tea towel, which at £2.99 is by far the cheapest item on my list, and although is incredibly boring, is hands down the cutest one I’ve ever seen. I hope you all get everything you want and more for Christmas and if you’ll excuse me, I’ll now resign myself  to my tea towel spinsterhood 2015. 🙂

Christmas Baking

WP_20141121_22_02_10_ProWP_20141121_22_09_29_Pro WP_20141121_22_02_37_ProWP_20141121_22_08_43_Pro  As a devotee of The Great British Bake Off and an aspirational baker myself, Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year to whip out that mixing bowl and get baking. There’s nothing I find more homely than a house that is full of the smell of baking and seeing as our student house celebrates Christmas a little earlier than usual, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my favourite Christmas recipes with you to practise just in time for Santa.

My first is a chocolate chip cookie recipe which is a firm favourite for me as it’s what Santa received from our house every year when I was younger. My personal favourite are those gooey, chewy versions so I borrowed this recipe from Tanya Burr’s website,adapting it slightly for a little less chocolate as I didn’t want too much added sweetness. Not to mention it’s incredibly adaptable so you can include any of your favourite chocolates that you like!

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My second recipe had to of course be gingerbread, as what is Christmas without gingerbread?! Although I am a great favourite of the gingerbread house, I tend to cheat nowadays in favour of the ikea flatpack version but I am still a traditionalist when it comes to the original cookies themselves. Thanks to this cookie recipe from the good old BBC themselves and some cookie cutters from the oh so glamorous Poundland, I ended up with these beauties.WP_20141121_22_08_54_Pro

If you give either of these a go or have any of your own traditional Christmas bakes let me know as I’m always on the lookout for some new offerings to leave for Father Christmas under the tree!