My Week #69 – Paying respects

*Mediterranean Chicken Orzo *Pickles

*Greek beefy pasta thing *Crematorium

Not too much to report on this week.

Went to the crematorium to pay respects to Topher’s step-dad who died 2 years ago. He was only 49 and it does make you realise how short life is. It makes me realise that I need to try and pull myself out of this funk that I’m in. I feel like I’m wasting time and I don’t want to feel that way anymore. Fingers crossed I can actually do it and not just say I’m going to.

On the bright side I have been having great luck with finding new meals to cook.

I made Pinch of Nom’s Mediterranean Chicken Orzo which was amazing. I had never used orzo before but it was very nice. And I also tried a non Slimming World recipe that I found on Pinterest by The Happy Foodie. It was a Vegetable Casserole with Dumplings and it was so delicious! It would be quite low syn as well if you didn’t have the dumplings….but I like the dumplings!

I also attempted to make shortbread…and I’m not kidding when I say attempt. It tasted good but it was literally crumbles. A pile of crumble. Very tasty but still it would have been more at home on top of a pile of rhubarb. Fingers crossed my next baking venture goes better.

Weekend plans

Off down to the West Midlands for a friend’s kid’s christening. Which means staying in a Travelodge. I enjoy staying in hotels so am looking forward to it. Oh and also interacting with other humans. Otherwise, my weekend will just be filled with driving. The coming weeks are going to be a lot more interesting I promise as the Christmas season is about to begin and I have a load of parties/meals to go to. That’s the thing about being freelance. You end up with so many more groups then you would in an office. I’m looking forward to them. Particularly the meals!

How was your week?

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Christmas Decorations Guide -Top Picks

So I know it’s only November but I have to drop the C word as today I’m talking about Christmas decorations. 

I personally don’t put up my Christmas decorations until 1st December but there’s no harm in getting some nice bits before then. Please be noted that items with a * are affiliate links.

  1. Llama cushion, £58 – Anthropologie*

I see this saying everywhere this year but there’s just something about this cushion that I like. I think it’s the unusual shade of green it is. It doesn’t look like a Christmas decoration – it looks like something you could have all year round. And I like that.

  1. Bauble, £5 – Debenhams

This bauble is so simple and pretty. I love the detail on it.

  1. Jumper, £15.99 – New Look

I think im going to have to do a whole separate post on Christmas jumpers. I snuck one into this post with the lame excuse of “decorating yourself” but in actual fact I see a crap load of awesome xmas jumpers this year. So yep, will have to do another post.

  1. LED marquee light, £12.50 – Paperchase*

Have absolutely no room for a Christmas tree? This marquee light is perfect for a laid back tree which doesn’t need any decoration. I may have to get one for ours as long time readers know we can’t have a traditional tree as the cats tried to eat it!

  1. Wreath, £22 – Lizard Creative @ Etsy*

I’ve always dreamed that one day I’d live somewhere nice enough where I wasn’t afraid of putting a wreath on the front door. But until then, I’ll probably just get one to hang inside where I know it won’t get nicked! This one is gorgeous. It seems to be the only one this shop does but they are open to custom orders!

  1. Light Up Snowflake, £16 – Next*

Can you tell I’ve got a thing for lights at the moment? Isn’t this snowflake pretty? Another simple way of bringing Christmas into your home.

  1. Mug, £18 – Not On The High Street*

I think decor should include things like mugs as they’re something you use every day and why shouldn’t they be Christmassy? This one is absolutely gorgeous!

  1. Pom Pom Garland, £12.57 – £39.29 depending on length – Mailbox Happiness @ Etsy*

When it comes to decor, the walls should definitely get in on the action too. I’ve been saying I’ll make a garland for years but have never gotten round to it. I should probably just buy one like this and save myself the time.

  1. 5ft Christmas Tree, £55 – Paperchase*

I couldn’t do one of these and not include a Christmas tree – how amazing is this rainbow one?

  1. Bed Set, £20 – George

And finally, Christmas should be everywhere in your home (at least I think so!) so that shouldn’t stop at your bed. I have Christmas pjs so don’t see why I shouldn’t have festive bedding too.

Also, an honourable mention has to go to Primark for their Christmas range this year.

It’s awesome and of course, super affordable. How awesome are these Disney baubles? There are so many more in the range too.

Christmas decorations - disney baubles

And I’m tempted to get this light too. Only £8!

Christmas decorations - Primark light

How do you decorate your home for Christmas?

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The Ultimate Winter Survival Guide

Photo Credit

As much as you may want to deny it, winter is here. For many people, this means a long, depressing wait until spring finally starts to show its face once again. But there are plenty of ways that you can make the colder months that little bit more bearable, and these are the things we are going to be talking about in this article. So, here they are, the best ways to keep yourself sane during winter!

 

Turn Your Home into a Den

Dean Martin had it right – even if the weather outside is frightful, the fire is so delightful! So, you should make sure that your home is as cosy as possible. Now is the time to get your boiler serviced and maybe even install a smart thermostat if you don’t have one already. Stock up on pillow and blankets, and check out these home interior design trends for winter. Your home should be a haven where you can relax and hibernate until the warm weather returns!

 

Stay Active

Even though your home may be an inviting den, that doesn’t mean that you should stop exercising for the season. In fact, this is one of the only things that is going to keep you sane! And if the weather conditions are terrible outside, you can still do plenty from the comfort of your own home. This is the perfect time to set up your own home gym, so you can exercise without having to leave your comfortable den.

 

Avoid Dry Eyes and Skin

There is no doubt about it; winter hates your face! Your skin and eyes are two of the things that will suffer the most, so these are what you need to take really good care of. Cover them up as much as possible with a hat, scarf and sunglasses. Use a good moisturiser and a humidifier if you think the house feels a little dry. This should also help out with those annoying static electric shocks!

 

Keep Yourself Healthy

Continuing with the healthy theme, you need to take extra steps during the winter months to ensure that you keep your well being in tip-top condition. Make sure that you get plenty of sleep and take on a lot of fluids. Wash your hands on a regular basis, and make sure you don’t go out of the house with wet hair.

 

Plan a Getaway

Photo Credit

Of course, the most obvious way to survive the colder months is by getting away from them entirely! There are plenty of great winter destinations that you could visit to soak up a bit of sunshine. Even if you can’t get away this season, it can keep you sane just to plan your next holiday for the spring or summer ahead.

So, hopefully after reading through these five pieces of advice, you feel a little more prepared to take on the winter and everything it has to throw at you.

Never fear, spring will be here before you know it!       

*This is a collaborative post

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Sky High Tea with Roberts #embracethenew

I love a good Afternoon Tea but I’ve never been on a Sky High Tea before

So when I got an invitation to join Robert’s Bakery and try out some of their new products at a Sky High Tea, I couldn’t say no. Did someone say baked goods? The bakery aisle has always been my favourite. Roberts is a northern bakery that has been around since 1887 and is currently embracing the new with some awesome new products.

What is a Sky High Tea you ask? It’s afternoon tea…on a table that’s suspended 100ft in the air. Not one for the faint hearted!

sky high tea - ticket

A few weeks ago on a particularly wet day, myself and some fellow lovely ladies from We Blog North headed over to the Etihad Stadium to meet with the brand.

sky high tea - eithiad

I wasn’t sure what to expect but the Robert’s team were absolutely lovely and explained away all our fears. I’m actually afraid of heights myself but luckily not enough to stop myself doing things like this! We were perfectly safe as each chair came with seat belts and no handbags were allowed to come with us. We were also protected from the rain with a cover so that was very reassuring.

sky high tea - rain

sky high tea - we blog north

If you have a spare half hour you should definitely check out the other’s blogs: Jacinta, Kirsten, Laura, Holly, Kat and Asma. So once we were all individually strapped into our seats (which can spin 360 degrees btw!), we were off!

sky high tea - table

The table rose a hell of a lot faster than I was expected and before I knew it, we were 100ft up. It actually didn’t feel that high at all…until you looked down of course!

sky high tea - diane and asma

sky high tea - view

sky high tea - stadium

sky high tea - long way down

Once we were all used to the height, it was time to get down to business. Afternoon tea time. Here was the menu:

sky high tea - afternoon tea

Bottom tier:

Stilton, Walnuts and oh-so-sweet Pear, on Seriously Seeded Bloomer

Creamy Wild Mushroom Crispy Bacon on Mightily Malted Bloomer

Chorizo, Fabulous Feta and Rocket on Wondrous White Bloomer

Peri-Peri Chicken on Fiery Corn Ready-to Rolls

sky high tea - sandwiches

I could only eat the chicken and the mushroom sandwiches as I don’t eat pork but I can confirm that they were both delicious. My favourite was definitely the chicken as I loved the combo of the peri peri with the fire corn roll.

sky high tea - chicken

The middle tier:

Fresh Courgette, Mushroom and Turmeric Mini Loaf

Marbled Red Pesto and Pink Peppercorn Mini Loaf with Creamy Goats Cheese centre

and a special surprise of Bijou White Bread roll with a centre of Camembert and Rose Jelly.

sky high tea - bread

The latter was my favourite as I’m a massive fan of camembert. The goats cheese roll was my least favourite as although I love goats cheese, I’ve discovered that I’m not a fan of pink peppercorn. It was just a tad overpowering for me. The courgette was also very tasty but the camembert was a clear winner.

Top tier:

Sticky Toffee Scones with Soft Fudge and Dates

Lemon and Orange Scones made with zest and squeezed juices then mixed with candied citrus

Both served with clotted cream

sky high tea - scone

I loved the citrus scone but I could have eaten the sticky toffee one all day and every day. Still dreaming about it now! I’ve never had a flavoured scone before (unless you count cheese) so this was a lovely change from regular scones.

Finally, we were all given a taste of Robert’s gin and tonic fun buns.

sky high tea - buns

I was a bit apprehensive as I’m really not a fan of gin (probably comes from my rebellious teenage self taking a swig of a bottle from my parents liquor cabinet and instantly regretting it…) but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by these. They have the sweetness that you’d want from something that’s called a fun bun but then they have that kick of gin at the end. The kick isn’t too overpowering for someone like myself that doesn’t like it. But it’s enough of a kick that gin fans will love it. Apparently things that are supposedly gin flavoured are usually way too subtle so this definitely hits the mark for all you gin lovers out there.

sky high tea - g&t bun

sky high tea - staff

After a lovely afternoon tea, we headed back down to earth where we were sent on our way with some goody bags. I was really happy to find that one of the items was the gin buns. Also, Topher got to try the firey corn rolls which were definitely up his street!

sky high tea - goody bag

Thanks Robert’s for a great experience that certainly livened up what would have probably been a dull Thursday lunchtime!

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My Week #68 – Memories and Workshops

*Looking at old photos *Instagram workshop

*Panini *Luna and her fangs

It’s been a bit of a better week. Last week was a funny one.

I started off by heading over to Nottinghamshire to see my family. It was a nice change of scenery and great seeing them. We spent the day looking at old photos and then went out for an Indian meal in the evening. It’s nice to see that the restaurant that we’ve frequented for the last couple of decades is still there and under the same management. Seems to be a rarity these days.

I spent Monday being a guinea pig. 

Katya is going to be hosting an Instagram workshop soon with photographer Paul Wolfgang Webster so they brought in a few of us to act as guinea pigs. I had a great day and learnt loads. Take a look at one of the photos I took on the day. Flat lay skills have definitely improved thanks to them.

my week #68 - 1

The rest of the week has just been a mix of work and trying to get stuff under control as usual.

Does anyone else just feel swamped by endless adult crap? It feels like every time I get a leg up on something, there’s another pile of stuff to do somewhere else. And don’t get me started on cleaning. Obviously it’s just never ending. How do people have time to do everything? I never feel like I can relax. It just feels demoralising sometimes. Fingers crossed I can get to that ever elusive peaceful place. Does it even exist?

By the way, how is it November? 

Christmas is just around the corner now and I really don’t know where the year has gone. I guess I should start getting my Christmas shopping done? Yes, I probably should. I’ll just do what I usually do – make a big list and get it all on Black Friday. I’ll also get some gift guides up soon!

How was your week?

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