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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Made Me Happy This Week

{someone clearly can't handle the excitement of Christmas}

About an hour ago I squealed -an actual child like squeal! The reason you ask? I suddenly realised, (for some reason until now it hadn't actually dawned on me) that when I wake up tomorrow morning I get to open my advent calendar! (*jumps up and down with excitement!) And not just one, this year I have a chocolate one because lets face it, its just not December without a tiny chocolate to start your day but I have also been treated to a beauty one too. I honestly can't believe that tomorrow is the start of December! That means one very exciting thing for me -our tree goes up! :)

1. Party food! At this time of year, when the super markets are full of the tastiest party food for all the holiday parties we go a little crazy, really...we do. We don't have any parties planned -we just like to have lots of little bits to pick at for when people come round. We also sometimes have them for dinner -that's aloud right??

2. Hot cups of tea, need I say more?

3. Home Sense has opened in Edinburgh! I'm not actually sure when it happened, I only found it this week but I'm so happy. On our first visit I bought a decorative gold bowl and an absolutely beautiful star decoration. I'm not sure yet if its going on the Christmas tree or somewhere else, but I'm sure we will find a place for it :)

4. Doing nothing on Wednesday night. The past few weeks have been non-stop so when the chance to just sit down and relax comes along, we take it.

5. Black Friday sale deals from Topshop that include: a new onesie, some socks and a glittery jumpsuit.

6. Being able to play Christmas music without being told it's too early.

7. Saying goodbye to my best friends house. She has just sold it and has now moved into her new place, and it may sound sad (and it was very emotional) but it was a nice thing to do. We just walked around the empty rooms and laughed at the memories.

8. Venturing into a dark berry lip, I have started out with a gloss stick instead of going straight for a full on lipstick but so far, I'm really enjoying it! It's something I never thought I could get away with.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide 2014 - Stocking Fillers for Him

Well this is my forth and final gift guide for this year, and we are ending with stocking fillers for him. Doing these posts always leaves me in such a festive mood. And as we aren't to far from Christmas now, I hope these gift guides have maybe helped you in some way, or given you some inspiration of your own. My favourite from this list is number 1, I love that style of hat and it does suit a lot of people.

Where are you with your Christmas shopping, are you all done, or have you not started yet?

1. Trapper Hat - £16

2. Burrito Cook Book - £11.89

3. Corkers - £5.95

4. Guitar Salad Servers - £15

5. Whisky Stones - £4.48

6. Wallet Ninja - £7.95

7. Scratch Map - £16.95

8. Grooming Gift Set - £19.99

9. Portable Charger - £17.99


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide 2014 - Stocking Fillers for Her

When it comes to buying Christmas gifts I definitely get more excited about the little things! It's easy to make someone really happy with a huge expensive present but sometimes, finding something small that they love will put just as big a smile on their face. Personally, I'm in love with number 2! A gold pretzel shaped bottle opener -what's not to love?

1. The Baking Book - £9

6. Heated Pug Doll - £10

7. Eye Lash Set - £12.99

8. Polaroid Love Notes - £10.68


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Made Me Happy This Week

I feel as if I spent most of my time over the past couple of months just wishing it could be Christmas. Now that it is nearly upon us though...I just really wish it would slow down so we can enjoy it a little longer. I'm also not exactly sure where this week has gone! It has been a blur of shopping, decorating, work and planning. ...slow down time! Have you had a good weekend?

1. Driving along a road lined with trees and watching all the yellow leaves fall. It honestly felt like something from a film.

2. Watching the ice-rink being set up at the beginning of the week. It's part of Edinburgh's Christmas celebration and its now open I'm sure. I love watching everyone skate, hot chocolate in hand of course.

3. A little mid-Christmas shopping lunch with a friend - I just love Costa's Christmas menu this year!

4. Trying to hunt down the best Christmas jumpers for this year. Do you go for simple and classic or...the loudest, brightest most hilarious (possibly light up) ones you can find? Oh the decisions!

5. Making birthday plans for Paul.

6. Ordering a few Christmas film for the weeks ahead. They will more than likely be enjoyed with hot chocolates and party food.

7. Spending this weekend in bed mostly -but with good reason! All our furniture in the living room is covered at the moment so the bed is the only option.

8. My new Essie nail polishes, they are so festive...but in a more subtle way. I'm sure they will make an appearance here soon.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide 2014 - For Him

I always think men are the hardest to buy for at Christmas time...well, any time really. There doesn't seem to be as many easy gift options as there are for woman. I tried to round up some of my favourites for this year, with the help of Paul of course. His top choice for any man in your life is Assassins Creed, he tells me it is one of the best games for this Christmas. Mine would be the popcorn maker! I think it would be such a fun gift to receive -or to buy for yourself . The one I have included here is the larger size but it also comes in two smaller sizes, which are also much cheaper. 

1. Smart Grey Coat - £159

3. Bosh Gourmet Set - £49.95

4. Electric Razor - £66.10

5. Assassins Creed PS4 - £59.99

6. Check Scarf - £25

7. Amazon Kindle - £199

8. Popcorn Maker - £140

9. Lager Making Set - £34.99


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide 2014: For Her

For my first gift guide of 2014 I have rounded up some of my favourite finds that I think would make gorgeous gifts for someone special. I have to say, I think 1, 2 and 3 are my favourites from this list...I would be a very happy girl if I found any of them under my tree. I hope some of these suggestions will be a help to you if you are just starting your Christmas shopping, or maybe help as inspiration for other ideas. Or... even if you just want to treat yourself! Next up will be "Gifts for Him".

1. Statement Necklace - £68.00

3. Classic Trench Coat - £99.99

5. Decorative Globe - £108

9. Michael Kors Watch - £229


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Interiors: The Living Room

{1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}

It can be quite daunting to stare at a bare white room and try to decide what you want to do with it. We have of course decorated before but as this is the first house we have owned -not rented, we knew we could do exactly what we wanted when it came to putting our stamp on the place. The living room was the first room we wanted to finish (in time for the Christmas tree on the 1st!), and it's always easier to tackle one room at a time. When we moved in we were of course left with the previous owners style -stripe wall paper and off white wall. While there wasn't anything wrong with it, after all...everyone to their own, it just wasn't very "us". So it was all stripped back and painted white.

We had an idea of what we wanted to do and we also knew that somewhere we wanted to have a brick wall (which is now up and looks amazing!). That was non-negotiable! Planning an entire room in your head can be quite tricky so making a mood board can be a great help. Whether or not it includes the actual items you want in the room, it can help give you a sense of if it will all go together in the end. That's what I have done here, the brick and the sofa are ours and we are strongly considering the rest -I love the coffee table! 

I'm not a huge fan of everything matching so I love the look of the different metals together, also the slight industrial feel you get from the brick and the coffee table. It is such a great contrast with the comfy squishy sofa and ornate mirror. 

Do you have any help or advice for decorating?


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Made Me Happy This Week

{this little one has a new jumper, after is getting cold!}

Sorry for the lack of posts this week but it has been a busy one! At the start of the week I became a little over whelmed by the thought of everything that has to be done before Christmas...I don't normally get that way. So, while being busy anyway this week, I have spend nearly all of my spare time writing list after list of everything that needs to be done. I am a huge list writer and having them there to tick off as I go definitely puts my mind at ease. It also lets me sleep a little better at night as I'm not lying there going over everything in my head...its fine, its written down! But don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining! I love how busy everything gets around this time of year, I don't think I would have it any other way. It's just a case of trying to fit in as much as you can to make the most of the season.

1. Waking up to a sunny Monday morning, how can that not put a smile on your face?

2. My new dressing gown, it arrived on Thursday. It is the softest thing I think I have ever owned! I would happily wear it everywhere I go -but something tells me that isn't appropriate? Now I just need some fuzzy slippers and then I will be all set for Winter.

3. The amount of Christmas adverts that are playing now, I just can't get enough Christmas in my life.

4.  Making the most random of dinners with all the left overs in the house -mainly because we haven't been food shopping.

5. I'm a Celebrity is starting tonight! Now if I'm being honest, I don't really watch the show. I catch bits of it and I do like to watch them to the trials...especially the eating ones. The real reason I like it is that it is just one of those things that I am used to being around in the run up to Christmas.

6. Re-discovering an old favourite blusher I had completely forgot about. It's so old that the name has rubbed off but it is such a lovely colour for this time of year. For that "cheeks pinched by the frost and cold" look.

7. Setting an alarm for 2 hours before we need to wake up just to enjoy that "we can go back to sleep" feeling. I swear it makes having to get up much easier when the time eventually comes.

8. Hiding presents around the house for someone's birthday and Christmas. Sadly I can't tell you about my brilliant and amazing hidden spots just in case someone reads this know who you are!

Happy Sunday lovely people :)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Made Me Happy This Week

One of my favourite things from this week has to be that Costa have released their Christmas range of food and drinks for this year. They officially launched on Friday but on Thursday night Paul and I went along to a little preview night and got to taste a little of everything, that is the reason for all the tiny cups in the picture above. After having a try of everything we did want to have a full size, Paul had an orange hot chocolate (very tasty!), and I went for a gingerbread latte -look at his little face! I'm sure I will have many more as we come up to Christmas. 

1. Can we all just take a moment to think of, and appreciate the new John Lewis Christmas advert! I really look forward to them when it comes to this time of year and once again they have not disappointed. I love Monty!

2. Paul has had a this cosy purple hoodie for a while now and this week I think it became mine -hehe. I have had it on nearly every night this week so now belongs to me. He doesn't mind though :)

3. Bonfires night. It has now been and gone, even though I'm sure there are still some fireworks being let off here and there. I do love fireworks.

4. Chilli dogs! Not something I normally ever eat but when it comes to Bonfires night I really want them, so that is what we had. Not the best for you I'm sure, but once a year can't hurt can it?

5. Pancakes for breakfast on a Sunday morning -with cookie spreads, my new favourite.

6. Nearly the entire new Costa Christmas range, I can't choose just one thing.

7. The very early dark nights, I know it will start to get even earlier but I do enjoy them.

Happy Sunday :)


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Bonfires Night Treats: Sweet

I always associate toffee apples with this time of year, but...if I'm honest, I don't really like them. My first experience with one when I was little wasn't great, pretty sure I nearly broke my teeth! While I now have all of my much stronger adult teeth, and could probably manage a toffee apple, I don't want to risk it. Instead I prefer chocolate covered apples, who am I kidding, I prefer chocolate covered anything! I also think these are much quicker and easier to make, let alone safer! I don't love using molten sugar or trying to clean it out of the pan afterwards, and as far as I am concerned these are much prettier!

For your chocolate apples you will need:

Chocolate of your choice
Wooden lolly sticks
Any toppings you want to add

I used Gala apples because that is what I had in, and for 6 six small-ish ones I used 200g of milk chocolate to coat, and 80g of white chocolate as decoration. There was left over chocolate that I made into buttons -waste not want not. For toppings I went for freeze dried raspberries, white chocolate stars, popping candy -the obvious choice for Bonfires night and some edible glitter. The popping candy and glitter is my nod to the fireworks.

* Wash your apples and remove the stalks. After drying them make a small hole with a knife where the stalk was and push a lolly stick in about half way through.

* Set your chocolate(s) to melt in a bain marie (a bowl set over hot water), make sure that the water doesn't boil and that the pan isn't so full that it's touching the bowl, this can heat the chocolate too quickly and ruin it.

*Once melted dip your apples, or as I did, spoon melted chocolate over your apples -I didn't have a deep enough bowl to dip. When coated hold above the bowl of chocolate for a minute just to let any excess run off. Set aside on grease proof paper to let the chocolate firm up. Then you can go in with your other chocolate if you want to add any decoration.

*While the chocolate is still a little sticky you can sprinkle over any toppings you want. The popping candy is by far my favourite!

*When you have finished dipping and decorating all you have to do is leave them aside on the grease proof paper to set, it doesn't take to long but it will depend on how warm your kitchen is. That's it!

Another treat we like for Bonfires night is some kind of spicy cake with lots of ginger and cinnamon. The one we make changes all the time, this year we're using a recipe from Asda's November magazine, you can find the recipe online here.

I changed it a little though, this is what I did:

Added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Added 1 teaspoon extra of ginger
Didn't add and sultanas or any chopped stem ginger but if I had any pecans I would have added them.
I would also say for me in our oven, it only needed 1 hour, so keep an eye on it.

Perfect Bonfires treats. Be safe if your going out to a display and enjoy yourself :)

Monday, 3 November 2014

Bonfires Night Treats: Savoury

Each year on November 5th here in the UK it's Bonfires night, or Guy Fawkes night. This is to commemorate that on the 5th of November, 1605 the House of Lords was not blow up by the explosives hidden under it by the members of the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes, a member, was arrested while guarding the explosives... hence the name.

That is pretty much all I know about the story. I look forward to the night mainly because I love fire works! Each year we will go to a fireworks display and I always look forward to the food. Even though I make it all year round, chilli is always one of the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the 5th of November. Well, that and burgers and hot dogs. So I wanted to share my favourite treats for the occasion in a two part post, starting with the savoury which will be chilli and corn bread. Chilli is great especially if you are having a fireworks night party of your own, it can be made in a huge pan and people can help them self. The cornbread recipe is stolen from Mr Jamie Oliver and you can find it here. It is very tasty! The chilli is ours and is really easy.

Around 2 pounds of turkey mince (use beef or pork if you like)
2 large onions
2 peppers (I use red and green)
2 tins of plum or chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
3 teaspoons of paprika
3 teaspoons of hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon crushed chillies
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander 
2 heaped tablespoons of tomato puree
3 oxo cubes
500ml beef stock
1 tin of kidney beans -drained 
salt and pepper to taste

*Cut up your onions any way you like, I change all the time, and start to fry them off in a little oil. When they are brown add your mince and fry until cooked through. 

* Crumble in your oxo cubes and mix in well until the mince is coated and then add your crushed garlic, tomato puree and all your spices. Cook them out for a couple of minutes but keep don't want them to burn.

*Then add in your drained kidney beans, peppers and tinned tomatoes. Give it a stir, pour in your stock and then add salt and pepper to taste. 

*Turn the heat low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes...that's it! 

Simple, it also tastes so much better after a night in the fridge. The corn bread is a great side to have with it, but it is just as good with baked potatoes or nacho chips. You can also alter the spices to your taste, if I was making it for myself it would be much hotter!

If your in the UK, do you like Bonfires night? Or do you know if it is celebrated anywhere else?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Made Me Happy This Week

{Look at those paws!}

Can you believe it? This week we actually made it into November! I know everyone says it but how it that possible, how can we already be at this point in the year? That is both terrifying and exciting in equal measure...I mean, it is now kind of, technically Christmas time, right? Also, it was Halloween! We didn't get to do much for Halloween this year, we were quite busy but did manage to have some film time at night. Complete with glowing pumpkins and Reese's fun size sweets.

1. Carving pumpkins. I always forget how much fun it is until Halloween.

2. Home made curry on a Sunday night, so much better than a take-away.

3. Being able to cuddle up on our new sofa...its so comfortable!

4. Feeling quite proud of myself for the DIY I have done this week to get the living room ready for decorating.

5. Testing out new recipes for little Christmas cookie sandwiches. They were ok but need some changes.

6. Taylor Swifts new album, I think it has been on repeat since I got it.

7. My new whisk. I have never been so excited about such a simple piece of kitchen equipment but I have wanted one like it for so long!

8. New mixing bowls -lets get baking!

Have a good week :)
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