Friday, 20 December 2013

It's Christmas Time...

Oh my goodness, is it that time of year already? Only 5 days until Christmas! Well at least I have finally finished all of my Christmas shopping, phew! How are you doing with yours?

We are getting pretty into the festive spirit here. Last weekend my parents hired out their village hall to have a lovely Christmassy day with (nearly) all of the family, 21 in total. My mum designed and built the wonderful gingerbread house above, although we were told we were not allowed to eat it, as it was to be displayed again at a later date! Unfortunately the house had other plans, and because of the humidity in the hall where we were also cooking dinner, it had a rather slow and painful death.
For my birthday on Friday Chris bought me some Nerf Guns. God knows why! Fortunately he also organised a surprise trip to Champneys Spa, so he was just about forgiven. Anyway, my Dad had the idea to put these to good use at the party by making a shooting range game.  He painted some cut up wrapping paper rolls white, and we got everyone to draw their own little snowman character on them. Then we arranged them in a triangular formation, like skittles, and took it in turn to see how many snowmen we could nock down with 6 bullets.

Everyone had a go, including the grandparents, and everybody hit at least 2 down, which was pretty impressive! But I'm not going to lie, the snowmen didn't turn out quite as attractive as I had hoped...
I particularly like the picture below, as my Dad looks incredibly silly, and so does Chris even though he is a bit blurry. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?!
Here is a picture of me with my Aunts dog Tilly. I'm not overly keen on dogs, but if I was ever going to have a dog I think I would choose one like Tilly, she is the sweetest, and she wears silly hats with me! But she does not like crackers very much!
So I think I am going to be pretty busy in the run up until Christmas, as I am sure you all are, so I don't expect I will have time to post again until afterwards.

I hope you all have a fabulously festive time and get exactly what you are hoping for from Santa! Don't forget to make the most of the mince pies and mulled wine!

Laura xXx

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Monday, 16 December 2013

A Healthy Breakfast

healthy breakfast recipe
I've discovered a delicious and nutritious new breakfast, so I thought I would share with you all. Basically it is raspberries and vanilla yoghurt with honey, along with a special mixture I concocted myself!

Instead of having cereal, which is full of bad sugars, I decided to make a naturally sweet treat.  In a blender I mixed a handful of dried medjool dates (pips removed), cashew nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dried goji berries, honey and a little bit of peanut butter. I pulsed until it was all well blended. Then I placed the mixture in a tin and flattened out, then left in the fridge to cool. healthy breakfast
Thats it really! Its all ready for you to scrape some out and pop alongside your yoghurt and fruit. It will probably last in the  fridge for a couple of weeks.

The great thing about it is that it will turn out differently every time, and you can use whatever you have in your cupboard to make it. Rececntly I made another one using dried figs and lemon zest, but you could also use raisins, dried apricots or prunes, or anything else you fancy!

Laura xXx

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

My Birthday/Christmas Wish-list

christmas wish list
Guess what? It's my birthday tomorrow! So I have probably left it a bit late to do this really, but what with Christmas coming up too, I thought I should put together a bit of a wish list.

Perhaps a rather strange thing to have on a wish list, but we still don't have any proper door mats in our house, and I have been keeping my eyes peeled for something a bit different. I think that this one from Ohh Deer is just lovely!

I have always wanted a terrarium and this geometric one looks perfect! Although I have to say I do also like the ones with little people or animals in them too.

The phone case for my poor iPhone is looking a bit worse for wear. I love the colour and the chevron pattern on this one from etsy!

Good quality nail varnish is always going to be a big hit with me. Especially something a little bit different like this speckled one from ASOS.

We've got a bit of a shortage of glasses at our house, especially when we forget to do the washing up! I'd love some pretty patterned glasses like this gorgeous one from Cath Kidston.

As you may be aware, I am quite a big fan of Game of Thrones, so I would be happy with GOT merchandise. But I do particularly love these retro travel posters featuring the important places in the book/show.

Ever since I first set eyes on this print by Marc Johns, I knew it was destined for my kitchen. One day it will be mine!

Apparently tomorrow is not only my birthday, but also Christmas jumper day! A good excuse to get that festive jumper out I would say!

Laura xXx

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Weekend Celebrations

christmas party
On saturday I had my besties from Uni over for my first dinner party in the new house! It was a sort of reunion/Christmas party, and since I haven't planned any other sort of Birthday party this year, I also made sure to remind them that it is my 27th (eep) Birthday on Friday!

I forced them to wear Christmas hats and to pose for these rather wonderful photos! They also actually ASKED for the photos to be put on the blog, which is rather unusual. Actually, thinking about it, maybe I got that wrong. They probably told me NOT TO, but I had had a couple of glasses of wine and you know what happens! Anyway its too late now, haha!
These are our incredible 'Blue Steel' poses. How many times have you thrown a blue steel for a photo opportunity? Go on, be honest!
In conclusion, meeting up with old friends is super fun. And I am so glad they were willing to take these silly photos with me. I'm sure not many bloggers friends are as foolish awesome to do such a thing! Thanks for a wonderful day guys!

Laura xXx
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Monday, 9 December 2013

The Creatives Christmas Party

Last Saturday I travelled up to London with Rachel, Harriet and Luke for the long awaited Creatives Christmas Party! 

Emma and Stacie had been incredibly busy organising this special day for us all, and their efforts really showed!

As we walked in the door we were greeted by a plethora of delightful and delicious edible treats. My personal favourite was the apple cake, but it was also lovely to start the Christmas season off right with a good old mince pie!

There was also the opportunity to decorate our own gingerbread man, so Emma and I decided we would decorate ours to match our own outfits. What do you think?
We were lucky enough to be given a goodie bag each, I was amazed by the wonderful sponsors generosity! Scroll to the bottom of the post to see what I got.
There was also a fantastic prize draw which caused much excitement! Again the sponsors had been incredibly generous, just take a look at the spread below.
I was very lucky to have picked the ticket which won me some amazing Smug goodies!
I won 3 prints, including this gorgeous piece by Harriet! My walls are pretty bare at the moment, so I am looking forward to framing these and deciding where to put them!

I also won 2 Wrap magazines a guinea pig hanky and a Smug bag. I think I did pretty well!
As promised earlier, here is a sneak peek into the delights that were hiding in my goody bag;
First of all I was stunned to pull out a Dr Haushka Powder set and Bodymilk! I have always loved their products and the companies natural and ethical ethos, so I was super chuffed!

In the picture above you can also see a (rather delicious looking) card by hiya pal on the left, and Christmas gift tags by Hollie McManus  to the right.
This little pocket mirror by Sweetoxen is the cutest! You can buy your very own from here, it would make a great stocking filler. I also love this pretty feather card by Emma Margaret's Doodle Designs.
Above you can just about spot a chirpy christmas robin card by Nikki Miles. Also pictured is a festive christmas light pendant from bottled treasures. Teapigs also gave us some delicious looking teas to try!
This pretty 'dream big' keyring came courtesy of Auntie Mims in a association with Stacie Swift Illustration.
The contribution from Ladybird Likes didn't disappoint either, with a cute heart brooch and 4 motivational postcards! 

This rather sweet mammoth card was given by Ohh Deer, illustrated by James Barker.

We were so lucky to have had some amazing sponsors for this party, if you haven't already you should check out all of their shops, I'm sure it will help with your Christmas Shopping!

Huge thanks to Stacie and Emma for organising the day. It was great to have a chance to catch up with some people I had met before, as well as meeting a whole new bunch of lovely creative people!

Laura xXx
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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Cinnamon and Nutmeg Toasted Butternut Squash Seeds

toasted butternut squash seeds
I am not a fan of waste.  I like to make sure I use as much as possible when cooking, and I get very sad when I find that something has gone past its best before I had a chance to use it.

It wasn't until fairly recently that I discoverd that you could cook up and eat the seeds of a butternut squash. The other day I was cooking a butternut squash and caramelised onion soup, and I decided I would give it a go.

First I washed the seeds thoroughly to get rid of the slimy bits. Then I coated them in olive oil.  Next I sprinkled them (quite heavily) with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and a little bit of caster sugar. Then I popped them in the oven for about 10 minutes until they seemed crispy. They were actually quite yummy and full of that autumn flavour!

cinnamon and nutmeg coated seeds
I sprinkled some of them on top of my soup, but they are delicious as a snack on their own

Below is a picture of my soup, it is definitely not Maser Chef worthy to look at, but it tasted fantastic! If you are interested, here is how I made it;

1 Butternut squash, cubed
1 large red onion, sliced
1 litre of Vegetable stock
Knob of butter
1 tsp of Sugar
Olive Oil
Sour Cream

Chop up the butternut squash into cubes, coat with olive oil and pop in the oven until they are nicely browned.  Meanwhile, fry the onions in the butter over a low heat and keep stirring and add the sugar.  I cooked mine for a really long time so that they were nice and caramelised.

When that is all cooked combine in a saucepan with the stock, and whizz until smooth with a  hand blender. Pop in your frozen peas and cook for a few more minutes.  Serve with a dollop of soured cream and some frazzled streaky bacon.
Butternut squash and caramelised onion soup

Laura xXx
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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

November Review

In Life

This has been the first month spent in our new house and it has been lovely! Mostly we have just been settling in, and spending most of our time in the house. We have particularly been enjoying playing Resident Evil 6 on Chris's XBox 360, something I thought I would never say!

What We Watched

When Harry Met Sally- Believe it or not I had never seen this classic before. Definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it before!
Doghouse - This was awful. I should have realised when I saw it had Danny Dyer in it really. I would describe it as a terrible Shaun of The Dead for 'lads' who may or may not have watched The Evil Dead. Netflix needs to get some more decent films, we seem to be scraping the barrell somewhat!
Enders Game- This film was entertaining enough, I found it to be rather an anti-climax though. Did anyone else who has seen it feel the same way?
Captain Phillips- Tom Hanks is a bit of a legend really isn't he? Are there any films he isn't good in? I was on the edge of my seat for this whole film!
The Hunger Games - We re-watched this before we went to see the new one. As good as I remembered it!
Catching Fire - I have been so looking forward to this coming out! I have to say, I wasn't overly impressed with the first half of the film. I think that perhaps because so much happens in the book it was never going to quite be able to re-create it, and they had to take a few short cuts to get there. But the second half totally made up for it! It was exactly as I imagined it, I was particularly impressed with the casting for Finnick, I thought he was spot on!

In terms of TV I have been really enjoying Masterchef The Professionals, and I have also allowed myself to get into I'm A celebrity this year, I think it is worth watching for Ant and Dec alone!

We've also been watching Southpark and have been loving the Black Friday/Game of Thrones themed ones on at the moment. Looking forward to the last instalment!

What I Read

Mocking Jay (The Hunger Games) - Obviously I loved this! I think it is such a well written and clever trilogy. I was really sad when I finished it!
Twilight - New Moon- I haven't been quite so enthralled by Twilight so far. It strikes me that the characters are all really rather annoying. But I do want to know what happens next, so I am persevering and reading Eclipse at the moment.

In Blog Land

This month I have had two blogger/creatives meet ups. First of all I went to a Winchester meet up with Harriet and met the lovely bloggers from Rusty Rambles, Housewife Confidential This Is Your Kingdom and Chocolate Cookies and Candies. We had a fab time ate yummy food, drank yummy drinks and had a good old natter!

Saturday was the long awaited Creatives Christmas party! There will be a large post about this coming up soon, we had a wonderful day!

My Favourite Posts

Laura xXx
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