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Friday, 24 November 2017

Made Me Happy This Week


It's snowing!! As I type, snowflakes are blowing past my living room window and even though I'm freezing, I couldn't be happier to see it! I've had some of my favourite films on today, Elf, Love Actually, and right now, You've Got Mail. I've discovered something new that I really enjoy doing. When I'm working, or just doing bits around the house, I like to have films playing in the back ground. Nothing new, films I've seen over and over again, so that I don't actually have to pay attention to or feel as if I'm missing anything. There's something really quite comforting about it. Also, a big fat sorry to all of you who still aren't ready, but...the tree is going up tonight!! I can't wait for the house to start feeling super festive.

1. Cinnamon candles that are now burning all over the house, the smell is amazing. And so warming when it's freezing cold outside.

2. Starting to pick up supplies for Paul's birthday party next Sunday. Plates, napkins, crackers and a few different cheeses are already stocked in the kitchen.

3. A two hour long phone call catch up with C.

4. Silverbirch Garden Center, basically my new favourite place to visit. I don't think we'll be back this year, but I'm already looking forward to next.

5. Piles of notes that make me feel that life is in order once again.

6. Cuddling up with Sookie in our giant fluffy throw, that she now firmly believes is hers.

7. The ending of You've Got Mail.

8. Having to come up with inventive idea's for hiding present's. It's not that Paul would go hunting for them, it's just that I don't want him to stumble across them and ruin the surprise.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Christmas at Silverbirch


Have you ever turned up somewhere and immediately wished you hadn't decided to leave you camera at home? That was my first thought on Monday afternoon, when Paul and I visited a garden center we'd been excited to see.


We'd heard a lot about it online, and the one fact that sold me, was that it has one of the biggest selections of Christmas decorations in Scotland! I mean, how could we not? Silverbirch garden center is on the other side of Glasgow to us, quite a drive, but with a free day it wasn't as if we were worried about time. As we got closer, I did start to wonder if it was worth the hour in the car, or if it was going to be like most other garden centers we visit at this time of year. Well! I can't put into words how amazing this place is! I was speechless, actually lost for words at how beautiful the rooms looked, it was a real life Christmas wonderland. Everything was displayed in a way that made it feel more like the most beautiful Santa's grotto, that you'd ever seen, than a garden center. And at times I forgot we were in a store. There was every kind of decoration you could think of, from detailed glass baubles, to fluffy little woodland creatures. We picked up a fluffy white owl, that Paul has affectionately named Dave. He was sitting all by himself, next to a pile of frosted gold apples, with such a sad face that we couldn't leave him. Oh, and he has glittery gold antlers too! He will definitely be taking pride of place on the Christmas tree this year.

This post wasn't planned for today, but I just had to share some of the photos I snapped with Paul's phone (for all the days to not take a camera with me!) If you aren't yet feeling the Christmas spirit, you hopefully will be after looking at theses. Or if you are just looking for some gorgeous Christmas decoration inspo then I hope you enjoy. I think that Silverbirch is definitely going to be added to our Christmas traditions from now on.



Monday, 20 November 2017

S'mores Hot Chocolate with Homemade Graham Crackers


The levels of hot chocolate consumed in this house increase dramatically in November and December, and each year we seem to have a go-to flavour. Last year it was spiced orange (and I'm still planning on having that too), but this years tops any that have come before! It's not actually the drink itself, that remains quite simple, it's the additions to it that make it oh so tasty, and really turn it into more of a dessert and make it that bit more special.

Paul and I love s'mores, the combination of the ingredients, and the fact that I only really eat marshmallow when it's toasted and or melted makes them one of our favourite treats. During the summer they finish nearly every BBQ, and I sometimes make them in the house with the blowtorch, but this year I wanted to try and make my own crackers. People say to use digestives here in the UK, in place of graham crackers -but I have a feeling it's just not the same. So I started playing around with recipes and I while I haven't tasted actual graham crackers, I can confirm the homemade ones are a huge improvement on the humble digestives. I also made mine a little thick to be called a cracker, but they make very tasty biscuits on their own too. I wanted to turn one of our favourite treats into a a drink, and I have to say this s'mores hot chocolate is a perfect treat on a cold night. You can either eat the crackers and drink your drink. Or, use the crackers to scoop up the whipped cream and gooey toasted marshmallows...which is my preferred way of enjoying this combo. Either way, they taste great together!


Your favourite chocolate -4-6 squares
Enough milk to fill your mug of choice
Whipped cream
Mini marshmallows
Homemade Graham Crackers (recipe below)

- Fill a mug of your choice with milk, and then empty the milk into a pan on a medium heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

- When melted, pour back into your mug, top with mini marshmallows and if you have one, toast the top with a blowtorch. Top with whipped cream and extra chocolate if you like.


To make your graham crackers...

195g plain flour
195g wholemeal flour
230g butter -room temperature
165g soft light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of runny honey
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

- Sieve the flours and bicarbonate soda into a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, add the butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and honey and mix everything until completely combined and smooth.

- Gradually add in the dry ingredients and start to bring everything together until you have a smooth dough. If it seems to dry to form a dough, you can add a splash of milk to help it along.

- Place your dough between two sheets of greaseproof/baking paper, start to roll it out until you have a sheet about 1/8 of an inch thick. (Or of course leave them that bit thicker if you would prefer a softer biscuit type thing, instead of a cracker)

- Cut your dough into 1.5 inch squares, and make little holes with a toothpick. While your dough is still on the greaseproof paper, slide it onto a baking tray and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

- Pre-heat your oven to 170°C , take the sheet of dough out of the freezer, separate the crackers and place them on a lined baking tray.

- Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Let cool completely.



Friday, 17 November 2017

Made Me Happy This Week


Well, it's happened. The season where I am most definitely more hot chocolate than human is here, and so far it's been very tasty! Also, I've found that having marshmallows with your hot chocolate is so much more enjoyable when you toast them a little. Apart from making hot chocolates, this week has been a very productive one. Bit's and pieces we wanted to get for the house have been bought, still a few to get but we're getting there. With the addition of curtains to the living room, along with new cushions, it's all starting to feel very cosy and even more homely than before.

1. All of our new cushions, a bargain from TKMAxx -I bloody love that store!

2. Finishing the painting in the extension and putting the room back in order. I'm so happy it's done, it was starting to really bother me.

3. I finally own a Christmas jumper! I know, it's about time, but now I'm worried it'll start an obsession. And I have to say, I went for quite an understated one to start with.

4. Hearing that it could snow soon. I'm not sure if I believe them, but it's exciting to think that it could.

5. Filling one of our Christmas jars with Reeses Christmas bells. Yes, it's completely unnecessary, but if you can't be ridiculous at Christmas, then when can you?

6. Having McDonald's for dinner on one of those nights when it's cold, late, and you just want to get home. We don't do it very often, so it tastes even better when we do.

7. Burning the last of my salted caramel candle, it's my absolute favourite scent for this time of year.

8. Pink and orange coloured sky as the sun begins to rise.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for Him


And just like that we have reached the last of the gift guides, gifts for him, full of fun gadgets and beautiful gifts. Looking back at last years, I can see that by this time we were much more organised than this year, and as I've said, this is the month that will be rectified! But if you're still looking to buy any presents, I hope that these guides have giving you some help or inspiration.

1. Star Wars Drone Collectors Edition - £149.95

2. Skull Tumbler - £27

3. Sheep Dip Whisky and Glasses Set - £40

4. Liz Earle Men's Set - £35

5. Barbour Waxed Holdall - £150

6. HP Portable Printer - £109.95

7. Tile Anything Finder - £29.99

8. Dior Sauvage - £69.50

9. BB-9E Sphero - £150

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for Her


I love putting together these posts. There are so many amazing gifts on the market that I could add so many more to them than I do, but I try to keep it to my favourites of the bunch. One of which being that beautiful red coat. It would be a very extravagant gift, but it's a stunning red colour in a classic timeless style. However, I think any of these gifts would be very much appreciated by anyone who received them. Those slippers are another favourite of mine, they are so soft and cosy, I would be so happy finding them under the tree.

1. Red Winter Coat - £365

2. Diptyque Perfume Set - £78

3. Purple Tweed Crossbody Bag - £129

4. Elemis Skincare Set - £115

5. Charlotte Tilbury Set - £55

6. Navy Suede Moccasins - £25

7. GHD Travel Hairdryer - £59

8. Boulangerie Candle Set - £36

9. This Works "Time for Sleep" Set - £49

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers for Him

And just like that it's the second gift guide, stocking fillers for him. I think any of these would make amazing little gifts for any stocking. Paul has one of the Metal Models, he has the Millennium Falcon and while I think it was the trickiest things he's ever had to build, he loved it they look very impressive when they're finished. And for anyone you know who loves a soak in the bath, the Thistle and Black Pepper bath soak is amazing! They whole range smells incredible, so if bath salts aren't your thing then you could try the aftershave or body wash.

1. Star Wars BB-8 Metal Model - £12

2. USB Mix Tape - £14.99

3. Pour Over Coffee Pot - £14.99

4. Molton Brown Face Wash - £18

5. Haynes Millennium Falcon Manual - £11.99

6. Woven Check Pyjama Trousers - £18

7. Thistle and Black Pepper Bath Soak - £13.96

8. Navy Bobble Hat - £14

9. Gentlemen's Hardware Survival Kit - £18

Monday, 13 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers for Her

You have no idea how excited I am to post the first one of this years gift guides. They've joined the ranks of Christmas traditions now, and for me, it just wouldn't feel like the festive season had begun without them. So, as usual, first up is stocking fillers for her. A few of these ideas are on my own wishlist this Christmas -the make-up bag especially, anything navy and velvet, and I'm in love. The monogrammed glass makes a great gift too, Paul and I have one each and they are great for whatever you're drinking. Also the perfect glass for having milk with cookies.

1. Balsam and Cedar Candle - £16

2. Bath and Body Oil Trio - £20

3. Silver Feather Necklace - £18

4. Navy Velvet Make-Up Bag - £15

5. Metallic Knit Slipper Socks - £20

6. Ring Holder - £6

7. Candice Brown: Delicious Bakes -£10

8. Gilded Monogram Glass - £14

9. Liquid Lipstick Trio - £20

Friday, 10 November 2017

Made Me Happy This Week


I love how everything smells at the moment. When you leave the house, especially at night, you can smell the cold frosty air. It's honestly one of my favourite things about this time of year. I always start to feel so festive, and unbelievably excited for Christmas when I smell it. Speaking of, how much shopping have you done? We haven't done nearly enough, but as I said in my last post, it will all be sorted this month. Also, this week I ordered matching Christmas pyjamas for Paul and me. They even have a matching set for dogs, but I think they'd be too big for Sookie.

1. Finding living room curtains! Finally, I feel as if we've been looking forever -well, we kind of have been. But they should be here in a few days.

2. A FaceTime hotel room tour this morning from my friend who's in Prague for the weekend. It looked lovely, and he has a bath so he's very happy right now.

3. Peanut butter cup, flavoured coffee. It is as good as it sounds, but sadly not something we'll be able to get all the time as we found it in that little foodie section in TKMaxx.

4. The garden covered in a blanket of frost, first thing in the morning.

5. The Gingerbread candle from Next. It smells exactly like homemade gingerbread, and I will definitely have to pick up another soon.

6. Having lamps and candles on first thing in the morning when it's still a little dark outside. It makes the mornings feel so cosy.

7. Being in Pj's by 6pm and feeling no shame because it's dark outside.

8. Bonfires night, standing in the cold with hot coffee's.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

November Goals


This maybe should have gone up at the very beginning of the month, however, now we're a week in, I feel I have a much better idea of what I want to achieve this month. November and December feel like the busiest months of the year -and well, they are! But they are also the months I enjoy the most! There is so much more to see and do, if you want to get out and about, but then they are also the best months to spend some time relaxing at home. Everything feels so much more cosy and it's good to also enjoy some downtime, so you don't over do it.

So with that being said, I'm going to try and make November the month that's full of things I have to do, tasks that need tackled, and to-do lists that need ticked off. Hopefully, by doing this, December will still be a busy month, but instead of the have to do's, it'll be full off all the fun things we want to do. Or at least that's the idea, wish me luck!

So, here's my sort of to-do list for this month...

Christmas Blog Posts: Paul's off of a huge chunk of December this year, and the last week in November. He took the holidays so we could make the most of the Christmas season, do some shopping, go see some shows, visit the markets and just be the most festive we can be. I'm hoping this includes a lot of cheese and crackers too. So, I want to get as organised as I can, so that come December, I have most of the Christmas post scheduled to go up. I start off thinking this way every year, but then Christmas sneaks up on you and before you've realised, the times gone! But not this year, this year I'm going to manage it.

Christmas Presents: I am SO behind this year with Christmas shopping. I know some people who don't start their shopping until December, but for me -someone who starts in April, it feels wrong. By the end of this month I want to have detailed lists, of what we are getting for everyone. And to have substantially added to the tiny collection of presents that are already hidden away.

Living Room Curtains: We finally have living room curtains!! Well, kind of. We decorated this room over three years ago now, and we just never got round to getting any. For a while we didn't notice, we didn't miss them, but now we do, it feels bare and unfinished. This the month! We have found them, but we need a longer length so that we are able to have them taken up. We've waited so long that I want to make sure this happens before November is out.

Paul's Birthday Organisation: Paul is so excited for his birthday, as am I. We like to try and make the most of them each year, it doesn't have to be something huge or extravagant, but it's nice to make them special and really get as much for the time as you can. We have two days planned this year. One is a little party in the house, family and friends will be up, there will be food and drink, it should be a really nice afternoon. The second day Paul wants to spend just the two of us, he wants us to go out somewhere for the day, which will be lovely, as it always is. This month though, I want to get completely organised for it! I want to know all the food I need to buy or make, to make sure his gifts are all bought, wrapped and hidden, and that I'm organised with his cake and decorations. OH! And I need to get a card.

Painting: Paul's dad recently fitted lovely new french doors for us, and got rid of the horrible old brown wooden thing that was there before. It's so much warmer, its so much brighter -we love them. But, he did this just before Halloween and because we were having people up on different nights, I put the room back together and completely forgot that the wall still needs repainting. It's not a big job, but I'd like to get it out the way.

Christmas Jumpers: I think I've said this for two years now, and failed both times. I am the biggest fan of Christmas you will ever come across, but I'm yet to own a Christmas jumper. Each year I say I'm going to get one, but then never do. This is the year I am finally going to get one that I love. I've already seen quite a few so I need to narrow it down first.

Exercise!: I have totally, and completely fallen off the wagon when it comes to exercise this year. I was doing so well, I was making sure to work out regularly for the first few months, but then it kind of trailed off and I've done basically zero for months now. I want to get back into it in November, I want to get over the initial "uuurrrggggghhh" of having to do it, so by December it's just part of my week. It'll also stop me feeling guilty for eating all the cheese and chocolate.

Instagram: Just like with the exercise, I've not been very active on Instagram for a few months now either. I want to get back into it, I want to be a lot more active and have a lot more content going up. I didn't mean to kind of give up on it. The first few months of the year it started to delete my images, crash constantly so I couldn't upload, and freeze when I was trying to edit an image. I love Instagram, but it pissed me off so much that I ended up forgetting about it. and I've missed it, so be ready for a lot more from me on there.

A Little Decorating: This one I don't know of I'll manage (although I'll stay hopeful), but I'd like to give our hall a freshen up. We've quite happily done a little at a time while we've lived here, and the hall isn't an area we've got to yet. But it looks a little scruffy, and like it's in need of a little care and attention. What I'm hoping to do this month is tidy up the skirting boards, give it a lick of paint, and add little of decoration. A mirror, a shelf, a couple of hooks for jackets, that sort of thing.

So there you have it. My November is looking to be a busy one, but I'm excited about it, and if it means I'll have more free time in December then it's worth it.


Friday, 3 November 2017

Made Me Happy This Week


The Halloween decorations have been packed away, so whether you're ready to hear it or not, after this's officially Christmas!! Unless of course you're in the US, in which case you still have Thanks Giving to go, but here (and in my mind), it's Christmas. Today I picked up a second advent calendar for Paul. I've already bought him a Reeses one, but then I found a cereal calendar in Tesco, so I had to get it. If Paul could eat nothing but cereal for every meal, he would. Also, how crazy is the advent calendar market this year, I swear if you can think of it, there's a calendar for it. Are you going to any Bonfires event's this weekend? I think we are going to one quite local to us, so I'm looking forward to that.

1. Costa's Christmas range is out and I couldn't be happier about it. Even though they've taken away the orange hot chocolate, which was my favourite.

2. Our little Halloween evening, full of cake, treats, mac n cheese and wonderful people.

3. The clocks going back, you have to love that extra hour in bed.

4. Our collection of pumpkins -and Paul's pineapple. They looked amazing all lit up, I was so pleased with how they all turned out.

5. How the temperature has dropped this week, it's cold. I mean, you need a coat kind of cold. I love how much more cozy everything feels.

6. Christmas jumpers everywhere! I'd really like to get one this year, Paul has three now so I need to catch up.

7. Ordering Christmas tea from Bluebird Co. Snowball is my absolute favourite!

8. Homemade soup with lot's of crusty bread and butter. It's the best meal on cold nights.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Sweet and Salty Bonfires Traybake


It's the 1st of November! Can you believe it?

This part of the year really does jump from one thing to another, so from Halloween last night, to Bonfires this weekend. I have so many fond memories of Bonfires night from over the years. From the amazing fireworks displays, to the food and smells of the night. My favourite ones, are when it's very cold and crisp, when there is frost on the ground and you have warm drinks to keep you toasty. Any excuse to leave the house in multiple layers of knitwear, and I'm a happy girl.

We have so many things we love to make for Bonfires night. A few of our favourites that I've mention before are our chilli and cornbread (that I might make this weekend), ginger cake, and potato skins. This year I wanted to make something sweet, but something that can be eaten by hand and after playing around with a few ideas, I settled on this and it's so ridiculously good that I promise you won't regret giving it a try! It has the pecans that are cooked in the shortbread, and the toasted marshmallows that give you the smoky taste. It has popping candy because, well, fireworks. And it's sweet and salty, so even though there is a lot of sugar going on, it's not too much.


180g plain flour
125g butter -room temperature
55g caster sugar
50g chopped pecans
397g tin of condensed milk
60g caster sugar
120g butter
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
marshmallows (depending on size, I used normal size marshmallows, 250g bag)
popping candy
rock salt


- Pre-heat your oven to 170°C. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar. I find with things like shortbread it's fine to do it with a wooden spoon -no need for mixers.

- Once they've been creamed together, add in the flour and work it together with your hand until you have a dough forming. Add in the chopped pecans and keep going until everything comes together.

- Press your shortbread dough into the bottom of an 8 inch square tin that's lined with greaseproof, pressing it out until it's even and there are no gaps around the edges. Then place in your pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

- Into a pan, add the condensed milk, caster sugar, butter, and golden syrup. On a low heat, keep stirring until everything is melted. Keep stirring until the mixture has thickened and is darker in colour. This does take quite some time, but don't be tempted to turn up the heat or your caramel could burn.

- Pour the hot caramel on top of the shortbread base, it's fine if the base is still hot. Let this cool for 1-2 hours in the fridge, or leave overnight.

- On top of the caramel, add your salt and popping candy. Cover the top in marshmallows and either pop under a hot grill for a minute or two -watching very closely! Or use a kitchen blow torch for a more precise finish. That's what I like to do, as it allows you to get the sides toasted as well, but please remember to remove it from the greaseproof paper before torching.

To make the traybake easier to slice, with some kitchen roll, rub a little oil on a sharp knife.

Enjoy the sweet sticky mallowy bake, outside possibly near a bonfire. Or of course, it tastes just as good at home with a cup of tea in your pj's.


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