Books I got for Christmas

Apologies for the fact that it has been a while! The festive season got rather busy and I ended up spending time with my family rather than time on the internet! (Which I guess is fair enough around Christmas) I then just fell out of the swing of things and got distracted by other things. (Not so good!)

I hope that everybody had a great Christmas!  I had a great time playing board games and watching films with the family. I was also treated to some lovely things. Rather than doing an overall overview I thought I would ease myself back into blogging! So I decided to share the books I got for Christmas.

Books for Christmas

I have always loved being given books as gifts- and for many years when I was little I would be given book vouchers to spend. I always sit down and look through a new book on Christmas day and this year was no exception! This year was a non-fiction year with rather a focus on cookbooks- which I love receiving (I have several shelves full of cookbooks, and I love being able to pick one up and look through it.) My boyfriend knows me well as he bought me three cookbooks for Christmas!

Nigella

I was given Simply Nigella which I was super happy about as I loved watching her recent series and have pretty much all of her books! It is a lovely book to sit down and read through with lots of recipes that I would like to try. There are also several recipes that are gluten/ dairy free which I think is a little new for Nigella books, and it feels like a brand new selection of recipes. It does make me want to buy a Nordic Ware Bundt tin however!

nanban

I also was given Nanban which is a really interesting looking book- both in contents and appearance. It has an interesting spine which is glued rather than card! Nanban is filled with Japanese soul food recipes, which look super delicious and is great as the boyfriend and I are both fans of Japanese food. I really want to try making proper Ramen from it!

Nerdy Nummies

Nerdy Nummies is a book that I  wanted ever since it was first announced on Rosanna Pansino’s YouTube channel. I really love watching her videos as they always have such cute results and I wanted her book, as I vastly prefer cooking from a written recipe rather than a video! It is a such a cute book, and I think anyone who loves geeky things and cooking would find it an enjoyable read.

Lord Of the Rings

LOTR Book

The boyfriend also got me a very interesting book which is The Art of the Lord of the Rings. I can’t wait to sit down and have a proper look through it. It contains lots of J.R.R. Tolkien’s drawings, maps etc and as a great fan of both the books and the films it should be a great read. It is also a beautiful looking book.

Braids Buns Twists

Braids Buns Twists Inside

My mum got me a great looking book by my favourite hairstyle blogger- Hair Romance.  It was a really great pick which makes me wish my hair was growing about ten times faster- or that I hadn’t had it cut short months ago! But my hair will grow and when it does I can’t wait to try out some of these beautiful hairstyles (Or more accurately given my lack of skill with hair, try to convince other people to try them out on me!)

I hope you enjoyed this little look at some of my Christmas presents- I still can’t believe how quickly Christmas went.

I’d love to hear about any books people got as presents (would be great as inspiration for my birthday at the end of the month!)

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is one of my favourite hot drinks, although I generally only drink it in the winter time- when I feel that a little more indulgence is called for! To me it certainly tastes a lot more filling and indulgent than a tea or a normal coffee (lattes etc. not included!)

But now that we are rapidly approaching Christmas I wanted to try making my own hot chocolate. Preferably one that doesn’t require fancy ingredients and lots of measuring out every time you want to make a cup!

What I really love about the hot chocolate I made is that although there is some labour initially (and a food processor is required) after you have made your hot chocolate mix it is super simple to make a cup. There is also something very satisfying about having a jar of home-made hot chocolate mix in your cupboard.

This would make a great little present to give to someone you love- Fill up a pretty jar with it (kilner or the Bonne Maman jars look lovely!) and write the instructions on how to make a mug on a label and tie around the jar using some baker twine or ribbon.

It could even be used as part of a Christmas Hamper- I love the idea of giving it as a gift along with a set of pyjamas, a christmassy mug, marshmallows and a Christmas film (Christmas Eve in a box!)

I got my recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Drinks Tube, link to the video here. I had been wanting to try it for ages and Christmas seemed like the perfect time!

This makes a fair amount of hot chocolate- enough for at least a couple of jars!

Hot Chocolate Jar Mix

Ingredients

  • 200g Dark chocolate (broken into pieces and chilled in the fridge)
  • 100g Cocoa Powder
  • 100g Icing Sugar (I would recommend sifting it!)
  • 50g Cornflour
  • 50g Malted drink powder (Horlicks for example)
  • A pinch of salt.
  • Milk for when you want to make a mug of hot chocolate!

Hot Chocolate Mix

Using a food processor blend the dark chocolate to a fine powder.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients and pulse the ingredients together. Pulse it together 3-4 times until the mix is well mixed.

For one mug of hot chocolate measure out your milk into the mug and pour into a sauce pan. Use two heaped tablespoons of hot chocolate mixture per cup.

Put the hob on a medium heat and simmer and whisk the hot chocolate mixture for about five minutes.

Put your favourite garnishes on top- I would recommend marshmallows and cream!

Finally enjoy!

Hot Chocolate & Cream

Do you have any favourite drinks at Christmas?

Mincemeat Recipe

Mincemeat

Mincemeat is something I have been wanting to make for several years. It isn’t that it takes that long to make, but there are a lot of ingredients in it, which makes it a bit of a commitment to make. I really wanted to make a mincemeat with cranberries in, as I loved some cranberry mince pies that they sold at Sainsbury’s a couple of years ago and figured that homemade would be even better!

I found the recipe in Mary Berry’s Christmas collection, a great recipe book that I would highly recommend for awesome looking Christmas recipes. I like that this recipe can be made in advance- it lasts up to 6 months, and makes 4 x 370g jars. I used some big 600g compote jars- although I would have used smaller if I had them!

A jar of this would be a great Christmas present for someone you love.

To make this recipe you need sterilised jam jars to put it in to ensure the contents don’t go off. In order to do this heat the over to 140°C/120°C Fan. Wash jars in hot soapy water and rinse well. Then place them on a baking tray and put them in the oven to dry completely. Spoon the mincemeat in whilst the jars are still hot! Here’s a great guide.

Ingredients

  • 175g currants
  • 175g raisins
  • 175g sultanas
  • 175g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 125g butter cut into cubes
  • 50g whole blanched almonds, chopped
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 200ml brandy(my choice), rum or sherry

Measure all the ingredients except the alcohol into a large pan. Heat gently, ensuring the butter melts. Then simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for around 10 minutes.

Allow the mixture to completely cool. Then stir in the alcohol.

Spoon the mincemeat into the sterilised jam jars- see above for how to sterilise. Seal tightly and store in a cool place.

Mincemeat Jar

There’s several recipes I want to try with this mincemeat- but I will be posting up a mince pie recipe soon!

Rocking Around The Christmas Tree!

Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree is up and I am very excited! This is the first tree that my boyfriend and I have had, as it is the first Christmas that we have lived together in our own place. Photo Heavy Post Ahead!

As I love seeing other peoples Christmas trees I decided to do a post about mine. Along with giving some details about where I got decorations- although as I have been collecting decorations for several years, some are no longer available! I did pick up a few this year however so will say where they were from.

Although I love themed trees, all in one colour or style of decoration I am too big a fan of decorations to commit to one! I have rather an eclectic tree with decorations that have been gathered over the years from several different stores- including some home-made ones! Growing up we always had a bit of a mish mash tree, and clearly that is a trend that I plan to continue. However if I had more than one tree I would like to try out a themed one!

The Christmas tree was from John Lewis and is their 6ft Basics Festive Fir Tree. Although it took a while to assemble due to wanting to make the branches look as nice as possible I would definitely recommend this tree. It is bushy and holds decorations well, and feels like it should last a number of years.

We used two sets of lights on the tree, which were also from John Lewis. They are a soft white and twinkle gently, which I really love. They give a really pleasant soft glow and I would definitely recommend them! I used a weaving method I saw on pinterest, and it definitely gives a better glow.

Christmas Tree Topper

Our tree topper was from Asda, (This year) and was exactly what I wanted. They have a great range of decorations and are certainly worth checking for decorations that won’t break the bank!

Christmas Tree Skirt

The faux fur tree skirt came from West Elm, and I got it in the sales after Christmas last year for £10! (I was very happy!) It is so soft and plush. I really like the way the tree skirt looks against the tree, and with presents on it- it also means that presents for family can be decorative rather than taking up room whilst waiting be taken to my parents!

One of my favourite places to get decorations is the Disney store- although as I haven’t got a Disney store locally I haven’t got any new ones this year!

Here are a few of my Disney favourites, although I have quite a few more on the tree. I love Pascal in the dress! Lady and the Tramp is one of my favourite films and I think this Olaf decoration is very cool! The one thing I would say about these decorations is that they are heavy, and can be hard to support on a tree- so keep that in mind. In general I have used the branches underneath to keep the decoration steady.

Disney Pascal

Disney Lady and Tramp

Disney Olaf

I also love the Lego bauble- We have one for my boyfriend and one for me. We made them in store and they were the closest we could get to ourselves! I think it is an adorable decoration and it could use any lego figure you like- I would rather like a few more to put some of my Marvel lego figures in!

Lego Tree Decoration

John Lewis is great for decorations, although for their individual decorations it can get quite pricey. I bought a couple of new ones this year, which included this Acorn and Lion. They are so shiny and feel good quality. They also have lots of different ranges so you can find something to suit any tree.

John Lewis Acorn

John Lewis Lion

Wilko, IKEA and TKMAXX are also great places to look for decorations, and I have a number from Wilko and IKEA on the tree!

Bacon Decoration

This bacon decoration was handmade from a tutorial I found online here. I think it is super cute and the colours are very christmassy! I have quite a few homemade felt decorations which I think really add to the look of the tree.

So here is a small selection of the decorations on my tree!

I am loving watching television and films by the light of the Christmas Tree.

If you’d like to know any more about any of my decorations or where I got them just ask!