Thursday, 29 December 2016

Wise Words | The Book of Everyone

Last year, I reviewed The Christmas Book of Everyone and this year when they contacted me to review their new book, Wise Words, I thought it sounded like a great idea. The new 'Wise Words' books are aimed at children aged 8-12, with fun pictures and quotes which you can customise. I made mine based on giving it to Alice, my friend's daughter, when she's a little bit older.

Like the normal Book of Everyone, this book is easy to customise. The quotes are already pre-filled on every page but you can personalise it more to the child you're giving it to, plus your own life experiences. It's like a fun advice book for children to flick through, especially when they're having a hard time at school or with friends.

The only thing I wish was different about this book is that you could change the illustrations or designs on the pages, so they would match the quotes or things the child likes. These would make a great gift.

You can make your own here.
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*This post contains press samples

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Disneyland Paris: The Season of the Force & Star Wars Rogue One Ticket Giveaway! CLOSED

There's a new season beginning at Disneyland Paris early next year. The Season of the Force runs from the 14th January until the 26th March and all Star Wars fans will get the chance to experience Star Wars events, see their favourite characters and watch parades of their favourite films. 

To celebrate the launch of the Season of the Force, Attraction Tix are offering one of you the chance to win two tickets to watch Star Wars Rogue One at the ODEON cinema.

A few terms and conditions for you to have a read through:
  • Winners will be chosen at random. Attraction Tix will be sending the prize. The giveaway ends at midnight on the 20th December 2016 and the winner will be contacted on the 21st December 2016.
  • The cinema tickets expire on the 31st December 2016.
  • The tickets can be used to see a standard, 2D film at any UK and ROI ODEON cinema, excluding Leicester Square, The Lounge at Whiteleys and the BFI IMAX.
  • The tickets can be used to see any film, but Rogue One is clearly the one to watch!
Good luck!
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Any food that is Christmas shaped is a winner for me and also I love shortbread, especially at Christmas time. I thought I'd combine these things and make some chocolate chip shortbread in cute Christmas shapes. Also notice my blogger friendly cookie cutters, those copper vibes! These did spread a bit in the oven, so take note of that if you make them. I found this recipe here.

You will need:
115g/4oz Unsalted Butter, Softened
50g/2oz Caster Sugar
175g/6oz Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Chocolate Chips

1. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy. Add the flour, salt, vanilla and chocolate chips and stir into the creamed butter and sugar until the mixture forms a firm dough.
2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Roll out to a thickness of 1cm - the mixture will be quite short. You can use a 6cm round cutter, which you should be able to stamp 15 rounds out with, or you could use shaped cutters like I have!
3. Arrange on a baking tray, spaced slightly apart. Prick the tops with a fork and chill for 30 minutes. Whilst they are in the fridge, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180c.
4. Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Do you like shortbread? Do you associate it with Christmas?
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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

My Favourite Christmas Films

It is no secret at all that I LOVE Christmas, probably an unhealthy amount, but it is the most magical time of the year. One of my favourite things about Christmas is all the magical films that there are to watch. I've picked out my favourites - which was really hard as I think I love all of the Christmas films. I've narrowed it down to twelve films as that was the lowest I could go haha!

Love Actually
This is actually my favourite film of all time, it's so heartwarming and the Christmas elements make it even better. I literally love every single aspect of this film, it's funny, you feel all the emotions including the Christmas excitement when it counts down in between certain scenes! I also love how everyone ties in together in this film. It's definitely a must watch for the Christmas season.

It's a Wonderful Life
Now this in an incredible film and I would recommend watching it to anyone. It's shows you what life is really all about and how different it would be if you weren't around, it's a lovely Christmas tale. Also if you're not into watching black and white films, this has been remastered in colour.

Jingle All The Way
This is a hilarious film but it also reminds me so much of Christmas when I was a child. I always have to watch this at Christmas and even though I know what happens, I still get stressed throughout the film haha. This is so lighthearted and a great film to pop on whilst wrapping presents or writing your Christmas cards.

Meet Me in St Louis
This is another older film and I'm not sure if it's techinically a Christmas film, but it is amazing. It's a musical starring Judy Garland and if you haven't seen it, you definitely need to watch it at some point!

Elf doesn't really even need an explanation, everyone loves Elf. Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel make this film worth watching, it's funny and Buddy the Elf gets me so excited for Christmas. I also love how a lot of the film is set in New York City.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas
This is the film I watch first out of all the Christmas films, I adore Baby Grinch and actually set him as my phone wallpaper every Christmas. This is a classic Christmas film and I can relate to the Grinch so much in some ways - apart from the fact he hates Christmas!

Home Alone
In all honesty I only watched Home Alone for the first time 3 years ago, I had never seen it before. But now I have I love it! This is techinically cheating, but by Home Alone I do mean the 1st and 2nd films, they are amazing and I can't get through December without watching them.

The Santa Clause
This is another favourite that's techinically cheating, because my favourites are both the 1st and 2nd films in the trilogy. I have to watch these films in December and most of the time, I'll watch the 2nd one on Christmas Day. They are amazing films and they fill me with Christmas joy, they are definitely must watch films.

Santa Claus The Movie
This film was recommended to me by my friend Dani and she definitely knows her films, so I watched this for the first time this year and it's so magical. I normally steer away from older films, but I make an exception for Christmas films otherwise I'd be missing out on incredible ones like this one!

The Muppet Christmas Carol
I watched this film for the first time at school and think I asked for the DVD straightaway for Christmas. I love the Christmas Carol and the Muppets and this is definitely my favourite version of the Christmas Carol. Every year on Christmas Eve I get the 'After all there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas' song in my head.

Miracle on 34th Street
I've personally never seen the original of this film, but I love the remake with Mara Wilson. This film reminds me of Christmas as a child and it always makes me believe in the Christmas magic, so I usually start off December by watching this.

Arthur Christmas
I watched this for the first time in January when I was in that post-Christmas mood and it instantly lifted my spirits again. But also got me excited for Christmas way too early! It is such a lovely film and is perfect for any age, it really gives you a feel of the Christmas magic so this is perfect to watch if you don't feel very festive!
What are your top 3 Christmas films?
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Monday, 5 December 2016

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing

Gingerbread is such a Christmassy scent and flavour, so I couldn't resist making these cupcakes. Also for once I can eat them because they don't contain cinnamon! The salted caramel buttercream adds the perfect flavour on top of the gingerbread spiced cupcake, I'll definitely be making more of these to give out as gifts before Christmas Day. The gingerbread man sprinkles are the cutest too! I found the recipe for these here.

You will need:
140g Unsalted Butter
200g Golden Caster Sugar
60g Black Treacle
60g Golden Syrup
2 Free-Range Eggs, Plus 2 Free-Range Egg Yolks
300g Plain Flour
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
240ml Milk, Warmed

125g Caster Sugar
80ml Double Cream
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
160g Salted Butter, Softened
200g Icing Sugar

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 & line two 12-hole muffin trays with 15 paper cases.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy. Beat in the treacle, syrup, eggs and egg yolks until well combined.
3. Sift together the flour, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then beat in half of the warm milk. Add the remaining flour mixture and the remaining milk, and beat until well combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and lightly firm to the touch. Remove the cakes from the tin and cool on the cooling rack.
5. For the buttercream, heat the caster sugar and four tablespoons of water in a saucepan over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and cook the caramel for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and stir in the cream (be careful it may spit)! Stir in the salt and vanilla and set aside to cool completely.
6. Cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes at least, then beat in the caramel. When combined pipe or spread the icing over the cupcakes and sprinkle with a little extra sea salt.
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Thursday, 1 December 2016

My Favourite Christmas Songs

If you know me personally, you'd know it's very hard for me to choose only 20 of my favourite Christmas songs to put into this blogpost. These are my absolute favourites and the ones I can't get through December without listening to. My actual playlist for Christmas on Apple Music contains 59 songs and is 3 hours and 10 minutes long haha!

1. Sleigh Ride - She & Him
2. Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys
3. Silver Bells - Jim Reeves
4. A Winter's Tale - David Essex
5. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
6. Last Christmas - Wham
7. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
8. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - Wizzard
9. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
10. Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens
11. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
12. Xmas In Bed - Eliza Doolittle
13. My Only Wish (This Year) - Britney Spears
14. Shake Up Christmas - Train
15. A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
16. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love
17. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
18. This Christmas - Christina Aguilera
19. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
20. Wombling Merry Christmas - The Wombles

What are your favourite Christmas songs?
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