Christmas Decor Wishlist

Can you ever have too many Christmas decorations?

The answer is probably yes, but seeing as we’re still creating and growing our home, and this only being our second Christmas in the house (having moved in last August)…it’d be rude not to look ๐Ÿ˜‰ So I’ve noted down 8 of the decor pieces that have caught my eye this year! One or two mayyyyy have been purchased recently – but Bish, can I have them all please, they’re good investments, promise ๐Ÿ˜‡

LED wooden star – Matalan

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Nutcracker – Debenhams

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Twig Centrepiece – Dunelm

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Festive Star – The Range

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Pre-Lit Twig Tree – Wayfair

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Candy Cane Garden Stakes – Wayfair

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Personalised Christmas Cushion – Etsy

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Present Decorations – George @ Asda

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All of them, totally justified and would make lovely additions to what we already have…CAN I HAVE THEM ALL PLEASE? YES? OKAY? THANKYOUUUUUUUU!

If you’ve missed any of Blogmas 2019, you can catch up HERE.

Lynette x (3)

Country Living Christmas Fair & 20% Off Tickets!

Disclaimer: This is a gifted experience and contains affiliate links

Hello all, welcome back to Blogmas 2019! As I mentioned in my first Blogmas post, ‘December Bucket List’, I’ve been invited to attend the Country Living Christmas Fair at Harrogate Convention Centre tomorrow!ย 

I’ve never been before so don’t know what to expect…but it sounds amazing and Iโ€™m really excited!ย 

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The website is really easy to navigate, particularly when looking at the exhibitor info (which is the first place I went). There are so many different companies who are going to be there: we’re talking crafts, jewellery, photography and art, garden, skincare, gifts…but I think we all know the filter I clicked on first…FOOD AND DRINK! I just had to know who was going to be there and what I was going to be eating on the day ๐Ÿ˜‚ Now, there IS the opportunity to have a roast dinner (of either one or two courses) in the Royal Hall, which looks and sounds AMAZING! I’ve only ever visited the Royal Hall in a work capacity, when I’ve been performing or when it’s been a Showcase and I’m there in teacher/choreographer mode…so if I get chance, I’d love to lunch in there!

Lunch slots are already booking up quite quickly, but I decided not to book in advance – mainly because I’m booked into a workshop, and my best girlie’s going to come and meet me for a bit in her lunch hour. I hate having to clock watch and not enjoy experiences fully and properly, so I’ll play it by ear on the day.

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I’m particularly looking forward to all the home decor/interior stands that are going to be there! Seeing as I’m actually an adult now (I’ve been denying it for so long, but feel I can’t anymore!), anything home related excites me – but even more so since we moved into our first house last Autumn. Progress with decorating and finishing it off has been slow – which was to be expected with the wedding, but the brakes were put on again when Ed landed the We Will Rock You Tour – we’re a family, we want to do it as a team, so it just felt wrong to do anything whilst he was away. Even though we’re not continuing properly with ‘house things’ until he returns, I can’t help looking. And wishing. And wanting. So it’s not my fault if I ‘accidentally’ make any purchases at these stands… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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There’s also a lot of workshops going on, and I’m booked into the ‘How Green Is Your Christmas’ workshop at 11:45am, which, as the title suggests, will provide information on how to have a greener, more sustainable Christmas. This includes reducing waste, recycling and minimising your carbon footprint. This is the first year that I’ll be hosting Christmas (eek!) as we got married this May! I didn’t fancy taking on the challenge of cooking my first ever Christmas lunch for 11 people (plus they wouldn’t fit round our small dining table), so Ed’ll be my Guinea Pig as far as Christmas Dinner is concerned…but the rest of the fam has been invited over for the afternoon. So I don’t think this event and this workshop could have come at a better time!

As well as the exhibitors and workshops, there’s also Country Living’s Live Kitchen and Viking Cruise’s champagne bar to visit (I shall be LEAPING over the crowds to get my fizz) and the opportunity for VIP experiences and afternoon tea are available too. The beauty of this event (apart from it being Christmassy and guaranteed to get us all in the festive spirit!) is that it can be tailored entirely to suit yourself. Spend as much or as little of your day there as you want, with the most or the least amount of fuss (whichever your preference).

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This is my absolute FAVOURITE time of the year, but I rarely get the opportunity to attend these kinds of festive events because they tend to clash with my work schedule. This year however, I made an agreement with myself that I would attend at least one fair and one market – and was so excited when the invite came through! I can’t wait to feel UTTERLY festive!

Who else wants in?!
Book here for 20% off tickets!
Go on, you know you want to ๐Ÿ˜‰ Merry Christmas!

Lynette x (3)

December Bucket List

December is here which means the return of BLOGMAS! Maybe I should’ve started yesterday on the 1st, but I spent half the day at work, and the other half of the day DECORATING! Because the house HAS to get gotto’d (I’ve used it as a verb before, and I’m using it again coz I like it!) as soon as December hits!

As I did last year, I’ll be posting every other day up until Christmas. I know some bloggers manage one a day, but that’s just too much of a commitment for me! On the days I don’t publish something I’ll be sharing one of last year’s posts in case you missed them.

So, to kick Blogmas 2019 off, instead of doing an introduction like last year, I though it’d be fun to write a December bucket list. The list is as much for me as it is for you I guess, I want to FILL my December with plans and merriment, particularly as Ed is away. Here we go…

๐Ÿ’กย Decorate ๐Ÿ’ก

Self explanatory, and I nailed it already. TICK โœ”๏ธ

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๐ŸŽถ Play Christmas playlists on repeat ๐ŸŽถ

Apart from when I’m at work (and sometimes AT work in the last few lessons of the year), it’s the only music I’ll play! I love it and gets me RIGHT in the Christmas spirit.ย 

๐Ÿ’ƒย Christmas Crackers ๐Ÿ’ƒ

No, not the home of plastic rings and miniature nail clippers, the Studio’s annual Christmas show. Which is always absolutely lovely, and although I can’t make all of the performances this year because of other work commitments, I’ll definitely be there on the Saturday night to support the Studio fam, and more importantly, my gorgeous Junior and Senior Contemporary/Lyrical classes who’ve worked so hard on their routines.

๐Ÿ’ย Visit the Country Living Christmas Fair ๐Ÿ’ย 

I’ve never been before, so I’m very excited to be going in a couple of days time! It’s being held at the Harrogate Convention Centre from Thursday 5th – Sunday 8th, and if you haven’t got your tickets yet but want a JUICY 20% OFF (I KNOW!), book your tickets through this link.

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๐Ÿฎย Panto ๐Ÿฎ

It isn’t Christmas without a panto! The last few years I’ve ventured to various parts of the north to see Ed in panto, but seeing as he’s not in this one this year, I’m heading to Wakefield’s ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ at the end of the week, to support a gorgeous girlie friend of mine and some of my Academy kids who are taking part! I’m hoping to find time to visit Harrogate panto as well!

โ„๏ธ Watch the Nutcracker โ„๏ธ

I adore this ballet, more than I can express in words. Always have, always will. I’ve never managed to see it live, it’s never been at a theatre near home at Christmas (apart from when I was living in London, but there’s no way I could’ve afforded a ticket to the Opera House)! It’s festive and totally magical, and one of my favourite traditions.

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๐ŸŒจ๏ธย Knaresborough Christmas Market ๐ŸŒจ๏ธ

I never get to go to Christmas markets, they’re always on weekends, and I work weekends! ๐Ÿ˜ข And by the time I break up for Christmas, they’ve all finished! This year however, I’m putting my foot down. I’m going to have to go in my work clothes straight from my Wakey Sunday session…but I WILL BE THERE, even if it’s for the last 30 minutes (which it probably will be)! ๐Ÿ˜‚

๐ŸŽ„ Christmas Eve Walk ๐ŸŽ„

Again, one of my favourite traditions.

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๐Ÿฅ‚ Christmas Drinks with Friends ๐Ÿฅ‚

Duh. Drinks with friends are good any time, but even MORE so at Christmas.

๐ŸŽฅ ALL the Chirstmas films with Baileys ๐ŸŽฅ

I even wrote a list so I didn’t miss any! So that’s at least one, if not two or three, for every day up until Christmas. That’s a lot of Baileys…

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๐Ÿฆƒ Cook my first Christmas Dinner ๐Ÿฆƒ

Yep. This is the year. First year married, first year to cook Christmas dinner! Wish me luck…

โœจ See the lights โœจ

Who else’s parents used to make detours in the car to see the lights? Whether that was lights in town or some horribly tacky OTT houses on the way back from your Grandparent’s house, it was part of Christmas, and a guaranteed way of making you feel festive.

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๐Ÿ›๏ธ Shopping Day ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

I love Christmas shopping. I don’t have the money to do it, but I still love it! A nice wintery outfit, a crisp cold day, the hustle and bustle of town, the smell of chestnuts in the air, Christmas music floating out of shops or down the street from a choir or singer…I just love it.

๐ŸŽ Spend an evening wrapping presents ๐ŸŽ

Baileys is crucial, and it has to be accompanied by either a Christmas film or Christmas music…I think I always change it up, dependent on how I’m feeling.ย 

โ˜•ย COPIOUS amounts of yummy hot chocolates โ˜•

I tried some new recipes out last year, have a look… ๐Ÿ˜

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๐Ÿฅง Country Pub Lunch ๐Ÿฅง

I haven’t had a country pub lunch for longer than I can remember, and Christmas seems a good time to end that dry spell! Log fires, beams, Christmas decorations, good food, good drink…I’m an eager beaver so I’ve already got it booked in…I haven’t seen Pearson properly since the wedding (in his words, “we’re literally the worst best friends ever” ๐Ÿ˜‚), so it’ll be a gorgeous afternoon.

๐ŸŽ…ย Host Christmas Day ๐ŸŽ…

It’s not the first year in the house, but it’s the first year married, and this was the right time to change Christmas for the family. So Ed and I get to enjoy Christmas morning and Christmas dinner as just the two of us (YAY, I’ve been looking forward to this for so long), and the fam will come over later in the afternoon. I’ve already started planning my buffet… Naturally. #OrganisationQueen.

I’m sure there’ll be more activities that I think of over the next week or so, but I’m SO looking forward to all of these already! ๐Ÿ˜

Thankyou for reading, see you for Blogmas day 2!

Lynette x (3)

My Top 10 TV Programmes of 2018

It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow, so this is my final Blogmas post for 2018! We love a bit of telly over Christmas, so I thought I’d leave you with my fave programmes of the last 12 months. This has been a great year for telly, and there’s been some REALLY outstanding new programmes and story lines, and we’ve gotten into quite a few of them!

1. Unforgotten

I started watching series 1 on catch up when I heard series 3 was starting. And then went back to re-watch it with Ed in tow, KNOWING he’d love it as much as I did. Then we caught up with series 2. Which was BETTER (and how often does that happen?)! Then series 3 happened and trumped both of those! I mean…the story lines are JUST brilliant and it’s so gripping – we binge watched it within an inch of it’s life. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to watch it.

2. Broadchurch

Broadchurch is brilliant. After the first 2 series, I really had no idea how they were going to top it with series 3…but they did. Yet again, awful subject matter, but handled in a tasteful way and turned into insanely gripping telly!ย 

3. The Handmaid’s Tale

If you haven’t seen The Handmaid’s Tale, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! The concept of a totalitarian state in this day and age, with some of the things that happen – it’s actually quite scary. An incredibly compelling watch. Under his eye.

4. Grimm

I got into this at the beginning of the year because it had been in my suggestions on Netflix for agessss. I felt it was a little bit of a slow start, but I’m SO glad I stuck with it, because they REALLY just dove into it, and the story line just gets more and more insane! Ed and I started re-watching it at the beginning of November, and aren’t really watching anything else at the minute – we’ve been UTTERLY binge watching it!

5. Bodyguard

Produced by the BBC a few months back, WOW. Rob Stark with a scottish accent, is a British Army war veteran suffering with PTSD, working as a Bodyguard for the Home Secretary. The story is compelling, juicy, and on more than one occasion, Ed had to pause the episode we were watching so we could discuss it/what we thought was going on/going to happen. After a little research, it turns out over 10 million of us tuned in to watch the finale live, and WHAT a finale! An absolute must see!

6. Doctor Who

Thoughts on the new Doc then?! We love her – as well as bringing her own spark, there’s some Tenant elements in there, which is perfect for us! David Tenant is our all time fave Doctor, and isn’t that part of the point of the Doctor anyway? To take on traits of the previous ones? It’s the same character after all! I gave up on Capaldi half way through his time for this reason (or lack of!)… I haven’t been as gripped by the last couple of episodes, but (putting those aside) the story lines have been really quite clever! I think the Rosa Parks episode was a stroke of genius – not only was it written and shot beautifully, but think of all the kids watching and learning. It’s an entertaining series, tech and aliens and planets and spiders (HOW HORRIBLE WAS THAT ONE?!) – but addressing poignant moments from our history, that’s still relevant today…good shout BBC.

7. Midsomer Murders

Ooooo this is an oldie, I couldn’t tell you when it’s on, I’ve just got it set up on series link! (If you couldn’t tell already), I love a good juicy murder mystery. So putting my feet up after work on a Sunday afternoon with a cuppa and inspector Barnaby has just been bliss.

8. How I Met Your Mother

Okay, so I’d watched this at least 3 times on Netflix, and I got Ed into it last year…and we started it again a few months back! It’s just that light hearted telly that you need some nights, that go-to show when you need a laugh. We love it! It’s funnier when you can start comparing characters to yourselves or people you know too…ย ๐Ÿ™Š

9. Game of Thrones

As with above, we’ve watched it from the beginning a few times, and obviously there was the INSANITY of series 7 last year…but with series 8 in sight, we thought we’d start again! Though we got distracted by Grimm so we haven’t watched it in the last couple of months!

10. I’m a Celebrity…

This is when you KNOW it’s getting close to Christmas! I’ve never failed to watch a series, I just bloomin love it!

There we are! My top shows from 2018 – there was a bit of a running theme of murder, death and thrill, wasn’t thereย ๐Ÿ˜‚ย But I just LOVE some juicy telly! Have you got any recommendations? Have I missed anything? Drop it in the comments below!

๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

And that, my friends, is where I leave you for now! Christmas is almost here which means Blogmas has come to an end! Thankyou to all of you who’ve visited my blog and shown support, it really does mean a lot! Sending holiday wishes to you all ๐Ÿ˜˜

๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Lynette x (3)

My Favourite Christmas Bevvies

Okay, who doesn’t love a ‘cheeky bevvy’ at Christmas ๐Ÿ˜‰ย Well, it doesn’t have to be exclusively at Christmas does it, but with more parties and gatherings, it’s a decent excuse! I’m going to share with you my favourite festive drinks – not all alcoholic, but some will make the list!

Baileys

Is it even Christmas without Baileys?!

Chai Latte from Nero

It doesn’t HAVE to be from Nero, but after shopping around, their’s is the one I prefer. Hot and creamy and filled with winter spices – Nutmeg, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger… It’s soooo yummy!

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Tia Maria and Coke

It’s not exclusively Christmassy, but that tends to be the time of year when I have the drink, so now associate it with cosy Christmas nights in. It’s delicious.

M&S Christmas Bottles

Now, I don’t do much shopping in M&S, so I don’t know if these are new this year or if they’re around every winter…but the other month whilst browsing, we saw these! Cute little bottles, whose contents look divine, and all specifically Christmas inspired flavours. We’ve tried the Cherry Brandy, Christmas Cake Liquior, Golden Creme Brulee, and Chocolate Liquior. Whether they’re drunk straight, on the rocks, or mixed into a hot chocolate, they’re really more-ish!ย 

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A Festive Costa Hot Chocolate

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but I’ve heard that coffee is better elsewhere. When it comes to festive flavourings however, Costa has my vote, and has done for YEARS. I tried my first Black Forest Hot Chocolate in London when I was training, and I’m SO GLAD that they continue to bring the flavour back each year! Try their other flavours as well, but this is my favourite!

Espresso Martini

This was Ed’s contribution to the list. When asked why, he said ‘Coz that’s the only time of year all the required ingredients are in the house’… ๐Ÿ™ˆย After a little laugh to himself, he decided it was because it’s an association drink (like Tia Maria for me!). I’ve never actually had one, so I’m looking forward to adding it to my Christmas traditions list this year!

Mulled Wine

Whether you’re a big mulled wine fan and can drink multiple glasses of the stuff, or whether 1 cup is enough to satisfy you for the whole of the season – it’s a bit of a necessity. From personal experience, it’s best enjoyed at a market or other Christmas event, steaming hot as you’re wrapped up against the chillย โ„๏ธย Though I’ll never say no to a glass ๐Ÿ˜‰

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What are your fave festive drinks, did they make the list? Feel free to share them below if you think we’re missing out!

Lynette x (3)

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Best Family Games at Christmas

Games have always been a big part of our family, so naturally, they’re a big part of Christmas too. The games changed as Todd and I got older, but now we have a few good go-tos that come out every year! Christmas is different this year for us because #adulting, so a lot’s changed, but these games are traditions now – hopefully we’ll keep a few of them going!

Monopoly

This was our little sibling tradition. We’d have a late lunch whilst watching The Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, then out the Monopoly board would come, along with the Pringles, Baileys and Christmas music channels. Todd always wins, because I let him have Park Lane and Mayfair ๐Ÿ™„ย But we always have a laugh, and it was such a lovely tradition for so many years…this’ll be the first year without it!ย 

Buzz

On most evenings around Christmas, we get out Buzz! We’ve loved Buzz for YEARS, and it wasn’t set as ‘Christmas only’ game, but that’s the only time of year when we’re all together in the same place these days! It’s a quiz show (either Music or General Knowledge, there’s a few discs you can get) with various rounds, of varying length, all controlled with a buzz pad each. You can take it as seriously (or not!) as you want, and I really would recommend it! This’ll give you an idea…
(You can probably skip through the first 45 seconds though)

Scattergories

Get into teams, pick a list of questions, role the lettered dice, start the timer, and fill in the list with words that start with that letter – again, you can take it as seriously (or not!) as you want – though sometimes, taking it less seriously, being more creative (and enjoying a drink or two at the same time) makes it even more fun! I LOVE this game and can’t wait for our fam to introduce it to Ed and Verity this year!

Headbanz

If you don’t know what Headbanz is, WHERE have you been living?! It can be frustrating if you can’t get your card, but if you’ve had a couple of drinks, it doesn’t matter as much ๐Ÿ˜‰ There’s plenty of embarrassing stories attached to this game, but I’ll save them for another time…

Kazoos

Definitely best under the influence of alcohol (that seems to have turned into a bit of a theme doesn’t it? Oopsย ๐Ÿ˜œ)ย It’s not a particularly challenging game, it’s got simple rules – get into teams, pick a card, pick one of the songs on it (of varying degrees of difficulty), and start kazooing! If they guess the song, you get the points! As I say, not particularly special, (I don’t think you need a video for this one!) but at 10:30pm on Christmas Day, after a few drinks, with certain family members (DAD) who are rubbish at kazooing, it’s hilarious ๐Ÿ˜‚ย It’s the perfect light hearted game if you need some daft-ness in your day!

Our Christmas will be different this year to any other, we’ll have 6 of us for our games evening on Christmas Day rather than just 4 – if you have any fun game recommendations, let me know in the comments below! Notย Cards Against Humanity though! Ed and I played it a couple of times recently with friends to see if we could introduce it to my parents at Christmas… NOPE. A big fat NO. Definitely not ๐Ÿ˜‚ย 

Lynette x (3)

The Winter Tag

Something a little different for Blogmas – because the lovely Amy at Fleur Du Belle tagged me in this Winter Post! You can see her’s here.

There’s 10 questions, so I give my 10 answers, then tag 8 bloggers to take part too – easy ๐Ÿ˜Šย So here we go! ๐ŸŽ„

Questions and Answers

  1. What is your favourite holiday tradition?

This is a tricky one, as a lot of traditions are changing… If you haven’t followed my blog until recently, you may not know that Ed and I have just moved into our first house – and for the first time, neither of us are moving back in/living for a few days, at our parent’s houses over Christmas, and will, for the first time, wake up in the same place on Christmas morning. We’re in the process of creating new traditions! There are so many traditions I love, for so many reasons – but I’ll have to say decorating the house. It marks the start of Christmas, it’s exciting and magical – I loved doing it every year with my family, and this year in our new home was no exception!

  1. What is your favourite winter scent?

There are quite a few smells I love and associate with Christmas, so I’m going to cheat and say 2…Apple & Cinnamon, and Mulled Wine.ย ย 

  1. What is your favourite winter go-to fashioned trend?

It sounds boring – but a cuddly jumper, jeans, and either Timberland boots or black knee high boots (depending on the occasion). I just don’t think the pinafore/jumper dress thing suits me! ๐Ÿ™ˆ

  1. What is your all-time favourite holiday movie?

Oooooo there’s SO many Christmas films I watch each year! I think it has to be Muppet Christmas Carol though – because I love it, AND (as I discussed in my Fave Festive Films post), it’s one of those films that reminds me of family.

  1. Whatโ€™s your favourite all-time holiday tune?

Like the films, there are so many I could say! There’s lots of faves in My Top 15 Christmas Songs, so I’ll have to direct you there – I’m not sure I could pick just one!

  1. Do you prefer to travel or stay at home during the holidays?

Definitely stay at home. And unless circumstances changed dramatically, I would never/could never go away.

  1. Whatโ€™s your favourite winter activity?

It’s funny how many of these questions link to recent Blogmas posts ๐Ÿ™Šย You can check out My Favourite Things About Winter here!ย 

  1. Do you love or hate the snow?

Just over a year ago, I’d have said LOVE and nothing else…but now I have a car. If it snows and I don’t have to drive anywhere, I love it! But if I DO have to drive…NO THANKS.

  1. What is one item on your wish list this year?

I don’t have a list, and haven’t had anything specific I want for a few years now. I’m incredibly lucky in my life right now, and I’m just grateful for that, if I’m perfectly honest! However cheesy that may sound…

  1. What is your favourite holiday treat?

PARTY FOOD. And I say that because it’s such a broad term…I WANT ALL THE FOOD. If you know me, you know I’m a massive mince pie fan, but the term #TreatYourself can be used so loosely when there’s pigs in blankets, prawn toast, sausage rolls and mini kievs involved. So yes. FOOD is my treat ๐Ÿ˜†

Now then, my tags ARE:

Sophie at Sophie’s Choice
Tasha at Tasha’s Lifestyle
Elisha at Elisha Blogs
Erica at Grand Fash Life
Kate at Kate’s Beauty Home
Geraldine at
Geraldine Talks
Louise at Sociable Events Aberdeen
Rina at Rina Kay

Merry Christmas you gorgeous lot, see you for my next Blogmas post on 19th December!

Lynette x (3)

Spice Up Your Hot Chocolate!

One of my favourite things about this time of year is the longer evenings, the colder days, and the excuse to snuggle on the sofa with some good telly and a hot chocolate – OR jazz up your working hours with a delicious, festive hot drink!ย 

I’ve made hot chocolate so many different ways over the years – with water, almond milk, even with real chocolate. The best taste (in my opinion) is definitely using melted down chocolate with skimmed milk, but we don’t always have time (or patience!) to spend long on a hot drink – so for most of these recipes (unless otherwise stated), I heated milk in the microwave for a minute or so, before mixing in Cadbury’s drinking chocolate. When it comes to milk quantities (whether microwaving or pan-ing), I use the mug I’m using as a measure (it saves on washing up)! Just be aware that you don’t fill it too much if you’ll be adding another liquid later.

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen and using Ed as a Guinea Pig…I hope you enjoy too if you give one (or more!) of them a try!

Baileys Hot Chocolate

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I just HAD to start with this one! If you’ve got a milk frother, heat and then froth up your milk (don’t worry if you don’t it won’t affect the taste!), add a drop of Baileys, and give it a good stir. I’m not going to tell you how much Baileys to use – let’s face it, who would reallyyyyy measure it out? You’d just pour a good gloop in, like I did ๐Ÿ˜œ

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

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In a pan, heat milk until hot (but not boiling), then add in the drinking chocolate, a crushed candy cane, and whisk. Pour into your mug and garnish with cream and another candy cane. Simple!

Sweet Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

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Heat milk in microwave (start with 1 minute and see how you go). Once heated, add drinking chocolate, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. (Depending on taste, you may want to add a little sugar too, though the melting marshmallows may add enough sweetness). Give it a good whisk and finish with cream, marshmallows and cinnamon stick.

Cherry Hot Chocolate

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If you haven’t already, try the melted chocolate technique… Heat your milk in a pan and add 3 squares of your favourite chocolate. Once melted, pour into your mug and top up with Brandy. I used M&S’s Cherry Brandy, but it works equally as well with other liqueurs, like Amaretto! Garnish however you want (I always add a cocktail cherry on top too, though the melting cream doesn’t allow it to sit there very long)!

Honeycomb Hot Chocolate

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Instead of drinking chocolate or regular chocolate, you’re going to melt a honeycomb bar in your heated milk! (I suggest heating your milk in a pan for this one). I then garnished mine with honeycomb crumb biscuit and cream!

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

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Possibly one of the most indulgent on the list. Prepare your milk in either a pan or the microwave, but if you’re microwaving, use a Pyrex jug because the next step is heavy whisking! Add a heaped tbsp of peanut butter (I’ll let you be the judge of how heaped a heaped tbsp is!), drinking chocolate and a teaspoon of sugar and get whisking! If you have some time to melt some extra peanut butter for the topping, go ahead, it’s heavenly!ย  Mine was also finished off with cream and chocolate sauceย ๐Ÿ˜

Is your mouth watering now? Get in the kitchen and knock up your own, and let me know how you get on!

Lynette x (3)

My Favourite Things About Winter

Winter HAS to be my favourite season of the year! Christmas is the obvious feature, but it’s also turned into a special time of the year for Ed and I too…it’s when we started dating, became an official couple, went on our first holiday AND got engaged! So the time of year is just full of love and special memories! I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite things about winter, with particular reference to December.

๐ŸŒ™ย Dark Evenings

An unpopular opinion perhaps, but I like the shorter days and longer evenings! It feels more magical, more special – especially for December.

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โ„๏ธย Crisp Walks

Who doesn’t love a crisp winter walk in the country? All bundled up, wearing a million layers…maybe best to avoid the rainy days, they aren’t so fun, but the bright, cold days are just gorgeous.

โœจย Fairylights

Pretty and sparkly and magical…what’s not to love?! I’ve put fairy lights wherever I can in the house…but some of the best have to be the ones outside… In the dark, on a walk or driving in the car, it’s just gorgeous. Who else’s parents used to take detours to show them pretty lights or extravagantly lit houses?!

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๐ŸŽ„ย A Christmas lights switch on, a Christmas market or Pantomime

Similar to the last point, but there is just SUCH a good feeling in the air! Everyone’s in a fantastic mood, carols are being sung or Wham’s being played over the speakers, you can smell roasting chestnuts, mulled wine or a hog roast, everyone’s bundled up in hats and scarves and bumping into people they haven’t seen in months. Kids have got their glow sticks flashing, are pumped full of sugar ready for a few hours of ‘It’s behind you!’ and parents and grandparents are half loving it, half wondering why they aren’t at home with their feet up. Everyone, of all different ages, are coming together because of one common interest, and it’s such a special experience!ย 

๐Ÿ›๏ธย The hustle and bustle of town

Particularly in the couple of weeks running up to Christmas…Christmas decorations are everywhere, fairylights adorn shop doors and windows, people are going about their Christmas shopping, hands laden with bags or festive cuppas in hand…and despite the cold, there’s a feeling of warmth and excitement and it’s utterly magical.

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โ˜•ย Hot drinks on tap

I don’t know about you, but I drink probably about 4 times as many hot drinks at this time of year compared to any other time…MAINLY as a source of heat for my hands! My hands and feet are ALWAYS cold in winter, so whether it’s a cup of tea or festive hot chocolate, it’s a wonderful excuse to have a constant stream of steam!

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๐Ÿ‚ย The scenery

I mean, it’s just gorgeous. I don’t think I really need to expand much further.

What are your favourite things about Winter?

Lynette x (3)

Favourite Festive Films

I’m sure this subject can be widely argued, we all have our favourites, for different reasons…perhaps the film itself isn’t ground breaking cinema, but it reminds you of a certain time/place/person: and that emotional link is why you watch it every year. Or maybe it’s just coz it’s brilliant! But here are mine:

1. The Santa Clause

I had to put this first, because it’s always been a part of my Christmas. I remember watching it as kid, thinking how magical it was, wondering if it could actually be true. I think the main reason I go back and watch it each year is because it sparks that magical feeling of Christmas that I had as a kid – that feeling when you’re full of wonder and excitement. And it’s not Christmas without Tim Allen! Obviously, I’ve watched the sequels many times too, but the original is the best!

2. Polar Express

This is just such a special film. Watching it cuddled up with a hot chocolate, it reminds us of how special it was believing in Father Christmas. It’s full of magic and is a FIRM favourite of mine – it makes me feel all warm and happy and fuzzy ๐Ÿ˜Šย And naturally, I sing along too!

3. Elf

Awwww it’s just brilliant isn’t it?! Will Ferrell erupts onto the screen in green, disguised as all our inner child’s at Christmas! However many times you’ve seen it before, you still cackle at the same bits, it’ll never fail to cheer you up or get in the Christmas spirit…because as we all know ‘The best to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear’ ๐Ÿ˜Š

4. Love Actually

Who. Doesn’t. Love. Love Actually?! If you don’t imagine Hugh Grant’s dad dancing every time you hear ‘Jump’ by the Pointer Sisters throughout the year, then you haven’t seen this film enough! We still haven’t forgiven Alan Rickman for buying that necklace, we still love Andrew Lincoln for those cue cards, and we remain slightly embarrassed that an excited Laura Linney reminds us all of our teenage selves. Despite the moments of heartbreak, it’s filled with love, and it reminds us that ‘Love Actually is, all around’ โค๏ธ

5. The Holiday

This is the first film I’ll watch in the run up to Christmas. I try to wait until 1st December, but it’s been known to make it onto my telly during the last few days of November… It’s perfect viewing for a night in alone, nestled under a blanket with some hot chocolate or a baileys, and some delicious food or snacks. It’s heartwarming in the right places, heartbreaking in the right places, and the odd flicker of comedy is just lovely. Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law are just gorgeous in this.

6. Nativity

Ohhhhh Nativity! I’m afraid if you don’t like Nativity, we can no longer be friends… ๐Ÿ™Šย It’s just pure brilliance! It’s cute, funny, heart warming – it’ll have you laughing one minute and crying the next. I can’t believe I’m admitting it, but I get choked up! Every. Year. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™ˆย Obviously there’s the sequels as well, which are good, but NOTHING can top the original! (Ed and I realised this year that we’re very similar to Mr Maddens and Mr Poppy…any guesses who’s who?!)

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7. This Christmas

A romantic Christmas film centering around the Whitfield family, who’s eldest has come home for the first time in years. It’s a veryyyy well known cast, and I love films like this – putting actors I love, together in one place. And the SASS level is just something else for a Christmas film ๐Ÿ˜‚

8. Christmas with the Kranks

I feel like this one is a bit of a marmite film, but I love it! Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis decide to skip Christmas in order to save money to go on a cruise, but then find out their daughter’s coming home and will be expecting a family Christmas. With these two leading the film, it’s a manic, comedy filled treat, perfect for afternoon viewing with a good cuppa!

9. White Christmas

A classic. And a must see each Christmas, particularly as a Musical Theatre graduate and Vera Ellen fan. It’s old and wholesome and lovely (and funny!), and really quite special. And so stagey!

10. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Last, but by no means least – and actually potentially my all time fave – Muppet Christmas Carol! I’ve watched it since I was a kid, and when Todd and I grew up, we made it a tradition to watch it on Christmas Eve afternoon. I love the story, I love Gonzo and Rizzo as narrators, I love the songs… It’s brilliant, a tradition, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

And there we have it! There are tons more that I love, and I’m sure there’ll be some of your favourites that didn’t make the list – but as I said earlier, some of mine are (because I enjoy them, yes), but also because I associate them with magical Christmases. It’s quite amazing how powerful television can be for our memories and associated feelings…

Lynette x (3)