Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Christmas through my eyes

Scraps of wrapping paper littered around the house. A fridge that is considerably emptier and actually has space(!). Less and less cheese left on that cheese board. All signs that the holidays are coming to a close. It's been so lovely having some time off from work (do I have to go back?!) Here's what I've been up to over the last few days...

Drinking lots of gingerbread green tea (first mentioned here) in this amazing mug that I received for Christmas


Christmas Day and Boxing Day are traditionally spent with my family which always means food galore


With some seriously epic desserts...


Dad always sets up his very own Christmas "bar" so we're always sorted on the alcohol front!


This year I've mostly been on whisky and ginger ale!


Come evening, we usually dig into an assortment of party food. And don't forget that cheese board...


As well as a prawn ring (a must at Christmas!) we also gave these prawn spoons a try...


On Christmas Eve my sisters and I baked and iced our own gingerbread biscuits


I discovered that Monin gingerbread syrup takes hot drinks to the next level


On Christmas Day we finished eating about 3 ish and then faced this mountain of presents to open...


Christmas just isn't Christmas without satsumas!



The day after Boxing Day, cosy knitwear was a must when heading out to the sales



... however I was really unimpressed with the sales this year. Anyone else feel the same? Instead I was positivity wild and bought veg for a parsnip and carrot soup I wanted to make...

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I won't be posting until the New Year now so until then.... Happy New Year!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Blogger Secret Santa

I've been blogging for a good few years now. I haven't done a giveaway so far.. (they make me uneasy... I see them as a desperate bid to gain followers and I like having blog readers who I haven't had to bribe and who won't bugger off once the competition end date swings around!) but I'm all for blogger swaps and have taken part in blogger Secret Santas over the last couple of years. I love blogger swaps because it introduces me to fantastic new reads, lovely new people, and it's a opportunity where anyone can get involved and benefit from the experience.

I received a lovely parcel just before Christmas from Jess who blogs over at Little Jess Cat.


My gifts were so thoughtful - I felt like Jess had really taken the time to go through my blog / Twitter to see what I'm into. If you're a regular visitor to Curiouser and Curiouser you'll be well aware of my love of candles. Jess sent me a Yankee Candle that my little sis had bought recently and was raving about - and I can now understand why! Salted Caramel smells so lovely and as an added bonus, it's not particularly seasonal so it's something I can use all year round! Jess also took into account my recent post where I enthused about gingerbread and sent me across this lovely lip care set which includes lip balms in the following flavours; gingerbread, caramel, marshmallow and hot chocolate (another one of my favourites!). I also received a box of Miniature Heroes which I may or may not have eaten already.... oops!

I bought gifts for Ami Elizabeth and judging by her Instagram, she seemed really chuffed with her gifts which included; Yankee Candles, scarf, hot chocolate, Christmas mug, mascara and chocolates.


I love being part of blogger swaps and look forward to being involved in more in the future. I'd just like the chance to say thanks once again to Jess for the wonderfully thoughtful gifts!

Have you ever been involved in a blogger swap of some kind?

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Who else is in utter disbelief that it's Christmas?! Despite weeks of listening to Smooth Christmas and enjoying Costa's festive drinks, it never really sunk in. It only felt real when we were all seated for Christmas lunch today, crackers pulled, wearing our paper hats and sharing the jokes / charades / trivia questions from our crackers. Fast forward to now where we've only just finished unwrapping our presents(!) and are gearing ourselves up for cheese and biscuits. Lights are dimmed ready for a festive film and maybe a cheeky TV Christmas special or two...


Wherever in the world you are... however you are celebrating Christmas... hope you are having a blast! :) I'm in need of another whiskey and ginger ale. And party food / cheese and biscuits are calling my name so I've got to dash...

Until next time... Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

After weeks of Christmas festivities and more alcohol than I'd care to admit, I was in dire need of sleep. But on reflection, I reminded myself that it's only Christmas once a year, so instead I set my alarm early (well... early by my standards!) and sought out the London Christmas markets - a must see if you visit London over Christmas.


First stop: Winter Wonderland. Despite going back every single year, Winter Wonderland never loses it's charm. There's everything you could ever need - food, craft stalls, ice-skating and rides. When you become hungry, there's so many different types of food on offer, it's quite daunting! In my personal opinion you just can't beat a bit of pork - whether it's hog roast or currywurst. This time we opted for a cup o' pulled pork with a side of sweet potato fries which were very satisfactory given the cold snap in Hyde Park that day.


I love looking at the confectionery stalls. Especially iced biscuits with cheeky messages:


And if you like sweets, then you'll love this game where you can win massive bars of chocolate:


Winter Wonderland is the perfect place for Christmas drinks with friends. My favourite places are the alpine / wooden chalet type huts in the village and the carousel bar which actually moves!


By about 1pm Winter Wonderland was absolutely heaving with people, so we decided to venture elsewhere. Just a short tube ride away, we moved to the South Bank to check out the Christmas markets. It was the perfect time for a hot drink. We found two ladies with a hot chocolate stall who sold a variety of different flavours including; chilli, raspberry, cinnamon rose, orange... We had mint hot chocolate and gingerbread hot chocolate which warmed our hands up nicely.


By this point it was growing dark and getting chilly - which sadly meant that our hot drinks didn't stay hot long... :( Martin invited me back to his where we had plenty more hot drinks and caught up on episodes of The Walking Dead. SO GOOD!

Have you visited any of the London Christmas markets?

Thursday, 18 December 2014

SO... MUCH... GINGERBREAD

I don't know about you, but for me, nothing feels more Christmassy (spelling?) than gingerbread. Whether it's subtlety adding a little something extra to your morning latte, or in glorious crunchy, crumbly biscuit form, that warming, spiced bit of heaven is just what you need when the weather takes a turn for the worst. And did I mention ginger's health benefits? Perfect for combating sickness - both travel and morning sickness - stomach aches, fatigue and colds. But also really good for blood circulation. There really is no better time of the year to indulge in a bit of ginger.

I absolutely love gingerbread. This has become increasingly obvious to everyone around me. Especially this week where I went on what can only be described a gingerbread frenzy. And here's what a gingerbread frenzy looks like:


Twinings gingerbread green tea - I was a bit nervous about this one as I really dislike their lemon and ginger green tea (the ginger in that one is wayyy too spicy to enjoy). But Twinings have got the gingerbread blend absolutely perfect here.

Monin gingerbread syrup - Yep, exactly the sort of thing you'll see in your local coffee shop. But my beef is that said local coffee shops only ever do gingerbread lattes - not hot chocolate - and I'm not a coffee drinker. Not just suited to hot drinks, syrups are also great in cocktails, baking, and as a topping on ice cream. 

Ready Brek gingerbread porridge - This was the first time I'd tried Ready Brek. I'm not a fan of the super sweet varieties of porridge, so was happy that Ready Brek wasn't really sweet. It's a decent porridge, but my only complaint is that I really wouldn't know it was gingerbread porridge unless you told me. It didn't really smell or taste gingery so I felt cheated.

Wax Lyrical Gingerbread candle - I have always loved the idea of a gingerbread candle. I didn't even think they existed. Then I managed to track one down the other day. It's always a bit of a gamble buying candles off the Internet because you never know how good they'll smell. Luckily this one actually DOES smell like gingerbread and it's a nice wintery scent rather than a sickly sweet one.

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If you fancy giving any of these a try, here's where you can track them down:


Do you like gingerbread?


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Things I love most about winter

Chunky knitwear with arms long enough to shield fingers from the cold


Christmas cups at Costa and Starbucks


Christmas movies with copious amounts of hot chocolate topped with cream


Wearing my Timberlands in the snow


Layering with over-sized knitwear 


Knitted throws on beds and chairs. And long socks


Minimalist Christmas decorations


Dimmed lights and more candles than you can shake a stick at


Watching our cats play in the snow


Wearing knitted jumper dresses with bare legs


What are your favourite things about this season?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Red velvet cupcake wine and a very warming winter stew

Bonjour! The last few days have passed in a blur of cake, boissons chaudes, crazy French driving and arctic conditions. We didn't expect it to be that cold in Paris - resulting in me wearing pretty much all the clothes I'd packed every single day in order to stay warm. After spending a few days in the city, we caught the last train back to London and used the day after to recuperate. Having the house to ourselves, we went into town to stock up, and made the most of the kitchen. To drink we had this bottle of Red Velvet Cupcake wine which we've found in Marks & Spencer before. Previously we bought it for the novelty factor, but ended up actually really enjoying it's smooth consistancy and chocolatey notes.




We also picked up some cod to make our homemade Spanish inspired fish stew. 
With lots of herbs, tomatoes and paprika, it's the perfect pick-me-up for a chilly day.


Crusty olive bread was ideal for dipping into that wonderfully smokey rich sauce.


To finish, we had a full sized version of these chocolate melt in the middle puddings


Having been in Versailles the day before, we watched Marie Antoinette, trying to recogise all the different rooms of the chateau, scarcely believing that we were on French soil less than 24 hours ago! Paris pictures to follow! x

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Paris outfit inspiration

With the countdown to Paris now on, I am in planning mode. There's so much to see and do in such a short space of time, it's daunting trying to figure out how to fit it all in. I'm also trying to figure out the perfect capsule wardrobe for a few days in the city. For me Paris outfit perfection would include: a statement coat, ankle boots, over-sized chunky knit scarves, statement jewellery to jazz up jumpers, knee high socks worn with skirts, and stripes galore:

All images from Pinterest / We Heart It / LookBook

I tried not to be too cliché with the whole stripy-tee-whilst-in-Paris thing... but I've clearly failed there! ;)