A Cocktail for New Year’s Eve

It’s the final day of, without a doubt, the best year of my life so far. It’s been the year of three capital cities (Paris, Rome and New York), a summer holiday and a five star stay in my most local capital city. I turned twenty-one and had a room full of strangers sing a birthday tune to me, got myself a degree before graduating with some of the best friends and landed the first mini job whereby I get paid to write. I begun writing the book I really believe will be the first I finish writing and I beat a windy day by finishing a ten mile run (before appearing on television, looking a little ill) that really nearly beat me. I saw a handful of theatre shows, made my very own gin and saw one of my favourite bands, Kodaline, live. 2017, you’ve been the kind of special that can’t be replaced. So let’s wave you off in style!

New Years Eve 3


Ingredients (for one Cointreau fan) 

  • 35ml Cointreau
  • 100ml Prosecco
  • Cranberry juice (measurement at your discretion)

Method

  1. Pour in the Cointreau.
  2. Add the Prosecco.
  3. Fill the glass up, as you desire, with cranberry juice.

This, I believe, is the perfect New Year’s Eve companion. My mum and I have said a “chin-chin!” and admired a glass already. I won’t lie, I’m rather impressed with my concoction and plan on enjoying another in an hour or so alongside the gammon roast that is already underway!

This New Year’s is the first I’m getting to spend properly with my boyfriend as we are both not working it. *Fist pumps repeatedly because I’m still super excited about this.* I will be making him a glass of this cocktail before we head off to our friend’s for a three course dinner party (just like in The Vicar of Dibley, I’m struggling to fit in all of the roast dinners!). We then will be joining our college friends to see in the New Year with fizz and games. Happy New Year everyone!

~ Kat ~

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A Yule Log from Baked In | Blogmas #23

Dear December Twenty-Third,

To me baking is an essential part of Christmas, December. Nothing says Christmas like home baked treats, waiting eagerly in a tin in the kitchen. Mince pies, Christmas cookies and the classic Yule log are my favourite Christmas treats. A year or so ago my boyfriend subscribed my mum to Bakedin, the baking club that sends out monthly baking kits and mixes. After a while my mum continued the subscription herself and she has baked goodies such as chocolate honeycomb cake (my FAVOURITE!), toffee apple muffins and even hot cross buns thanks to the best baking subscription package ever! Bakedin keep up with the seasons brilliantly and they are celebrating your month, December, with the kit and recipe for a caramel Yule log! My mum bought a second kit as it was on offer so what did my boyfriend and I do last night? BAAAKE!

IMG_5949.JPGBakedin is so simple to use and yet doesn’t take any magic away from baking. It works like this. You are given different packs of ingredients, labelled with numbers that will crop up in the recipe that you’re also provided with. The box contains some baking paper and a piece of card that helps you measure butter accurately. The Yule log recipe was super simple to follow and added a sprinkle of festivity (and icing sugar everywhere- oops!) to our Friday evening.

I do have a confession though, December. Through no fault of Bakedin’s, we messed up repeatedly upon making this. Thank goodness we have another box for my mum to succeed with! Until last night I considered myself a caramel making Queen. We began to make our first (of what turned out to be three attempts) attempt at the caramel that is to be drizzled over the cream in the middle of the log. It was a disaster. Second attempt: It was a disaster. By this point, we’re running out of home ingredients to succeed with but we do it. We make caramel icing that tastes like caramel and what do I do? I pour it straight onto the cream, forgetting it needs to cool. It ruins the cream and soaks the sponge. *Face palm.* We redid the cream and had to keep our Yule log as a simple chocolate one; it was a nightmare. But, after a long day of work today, I have this log waiting for me when I get in tonight. And I can’t wait to eat a slice.

I recommend Bakedin completely; it’s perfect for the seasoned baker and the novice baker too! It might even tickle your taste buds as the perfect last minute Christmas present. If any of your loved ones are pro bakers or looking to get into it, you can gift them with a subscription HERE! Sign them up, print off the proof and tie it with a red bow! Bakedin is something that little different something that Christmastime requires! Have a magical day, December. If you’ve got the time, roll up your sleeves and get baking!

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. December, yesterday I wrote to Santa instead: A Letter to Santa.

Gift Guide: Three “Filler” Presents | Blogmas #19

Dear December Nineteenth,

It’s easy to get swept away at Christmastime; to not know when to stop buying Christmas presents. Do you find that, December? I never feel like I’ve bought enough when I really probably have. I think, though, there are plenty of tiny and inexpensive gifts that ease present-buyers’ minds and finish off a present perfectly. I’ve learnt this recently and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you today. Here are three little filler presents that help complete a gift to a loved one.

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The answer is most certainly always Prosecco!

Mini bottles of Prosecco add a little more Christmas sparkle to a gift; I’m gifting a lot of people with them this year. They’re less than £3 each from Tesco and bulk out that present you’re giving to the friend with the agreed budget. With this present, you’ve guaranteed your loved one an evening with a happily bubbly belly. And that, December, will make you a very good friend.

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An easy to look after plant!

Cacti are so easy to find at the moment. They are very on trend and incredibly easy to look after. I have recently bought a pack of three small cacti to accompany friends’ presents. I do recommend, however, not wrapping these little guys up… For obvious reasons!

And when Prosecco isn’t the answer? Chocolate is!

You’re the month of Advent calendars and chocolate coins, December. So why not gift your loved one with a little bit of chocolate? Chocolate coins are a classic and mini Lindt bears are too adorable. Top tip: Buy this part of a present as close to the giving as possible; to ensure you don’t keep eating and repurchasing. On second thoughts, December, the same logic probably applies to the Prosecco!

Although I adore Christmas, we can all agree it sometimes appears as though it’s all about the money. But that’s not what it’s supposed to be about, is it, December? So sit back and relax when it comes to present buying. When it feels like you haven’t got enough for someone, buy one of these lovely little gifts and the job’s a good’n. Have a lovely evening, December.

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. Yesterday I wrote to you to talk you through my sparkly Christmas outfit. I’ve linked it HERE if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I know you’re busy, December but I’d love to know what you think about my sparkly playsuit.

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher | Blogmas #15

Dear December Fifteenth,

You’re the month of giving. With every present under the tree and every party that you host, it’s crystal clear that you’re the generous month. My favourite gift to give is a book. Whether it be fiction or nonfiction, there’s nothing like giving someone new words to absorb. I myself received The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher for my birthday this year; I hung on until your month, December, to turn the first page. Today I wanted to write to you about this lovely children’s book (that is most certainly for adults too!) that would look lovely beneath the tree in ten days time or, equally, become the best companion for you for the rest of your magical month.

Blogmas Christmasaurus Edited #3.jpgThe Christmasaurus tells the story of the lovely but lonely William Trundle and Santa and his wannabe flying… dinosaur! Our sweet protagonist is having troubles at school; the new girl, Brenda Payne, has ruined his school life and he no longer has any friends. His once friends who didn’t even notice his wheelchair now mock his wheels alongside Brenda. This, of course, brings many trials and tribulations and leaves young William feeling very low. William Trundle’s dad, Mr Trundle, is Christmas’s biggest fan (it’s hard not to picture Tom Fletcher saying the very same things Mr Trundle says with glee). Our Christmas loving Mr Trundle notices a change in his son but instructs him to write his letter to Santa. This is probably the best thing he could have done for his Willypoos, even if it isn’t immediately obvious. And what does William ask for?

A dinosaur, of course!

Santa gets to work, not wanting to disappoint the obviously down in the rotten dumps child. Christmas Eve comes along as it does every year, but this year it comes with a festive adventure for William Trundle. He has felt so alone, feeling resentful of his wheelchair for the first time in his life. But this Christmas Eve, something was about to change. And maybe he’d no longer feel quite so alone.

I’ve also spent this month ADORING the soundtrack to The Christmasaurus; the most brilliant songs Tom Fletcher released to accompany William Trundle’s story. The Christmasaurus Live is coming to London next week and, although I’m secretly hoping I can find a way to go, I will be living with The Christmasaurus: The Musical Edition to get over it. December, I think you’ll adore the songs. They’re right up you’re street. Here are my five favourite songs from the album (it actually hurt to leave the rest of the soundtrack off of this list… Please don’t put me on The Naughty List, Tom!):

  1. I’ve Been a Good Girl
  2. It Must be Christmastime
  3. Don’t Know What It Is
  4. Christmas Makes Me Sick
  5. I Ho, Ho, Hope It’s Santa

The Christmasaurus has accompanied me throughout the first half of your month; I’ve loved coming home from work late at night to another chapter or so of this book. It’s the most twinkly-jingly-sparkly Christmas tale and it takes one sentence to forget it’s a children’s book before you’re immersed in a story all about letters to Santa, little rhyming elves, a jolly Santa Claus and one special dinosaur. I’m a little sad I’ve closed the book on William Trundle’s adventure but I’ve got a soundtrack to adore for the rest of your month. I totally recommend this festive read that has maintained and increased my festive feelings, even when, like all of us, I’ve felt a little tired throughout your draining but delightful month. You might even like to gift it to your sibling months, December.

Enjoy whatever party you’re attending tonight, December! I’ll write to you tomorrow.

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. I wrote to you about my Mrs Claus hat yesterday. I’ve linked the letter HERE if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Twelve Christmas Memories | Blogmas #12

Dear December Twelfth,

I have always adored your month. When you take centre stage a warmth can be felt at all times. Despite the cars that can’t see in the early hours of the morning. Despite the magic we breathe out as we wander outside for the first time each day. Despite the “brrr” that slips our lips as we get into work. Some of my fondest memories belong in the December scrapbook stored in my head. I flick and I flick and the memories don’t stop twinkling. On the twelfth day of December, I’ll remind you of a few.

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1. After dinner race

Every year my mum begins our Christmas dinner by presenting each of us with a giftbag containing a little chocolate, a scratch card and something else. Once, for example, we each had a giftcard to use and were instructed to buy a certain gift for everyone. This particular year, my mum also gave us the most ridiculous game to play once we’d eaten as much turkey and roasted veg as we could muster. We were each given a windup reindeer toy to race. It created a lot of giggling and competitiveness and I thank you, December, for helping us make this memory.

2. Christmas crystals in my ears

I was a couple of months away from turning eleven when my wish finally came true. It was Christmas Eve and I was sat in a chair, ready to get my ears pierced. I remember the day poignantly. The whole day was novel as I tried to get used to the pretty blue crystals in my ears. We visited the pantomime afterwards and I distinctly remember feeling oh-so-grown up. Later on that evening, upon cleaning my ears for the first time, I fainted. I soon woke up to paramedics in my living room, still feeling just as excited about my newly pierced ears but also feeling very odd. December, nostalgia is a feeling I am good at feeling. Every year I remember the day I got my ears pierced as soon as December rolls around. This December is no exception.

3. A Christmas holiday of video games

A few years ago my brother and I took our tradition of bringing out the PS2 in December to a new level. Do you remember, December? “Far too old” to be entertaining such a tradition, we fell into a routine of playing our favourite game every day in the week that cheered on Christmas Day. “Shall we?” one of us would say mid-morning. Only a second would pass before the other agreed ardently. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was our greatest companion that Christmas holiday; though, we bring out the game every single year.

4. An evening of baking

December, you won’t have to think too far back to remember this one. My mum and I had one evening to bake not just one, not just two but three festive goodies. Mince pies. A yule log. Christmas cookies for Santa. With your encouragement and Christmas singing on the radio, we got the job done. It’s one of my all-time favourite memories.

5. Gnocchi with vodka lemonade and lime

Aaron and I celebrate your presence with a Christmas meal out in the week running up to Christmas. We choose somewhere really special to eat out and sparkle ourselves up. The first chapter of this new tradition rings a sleigh bell so I’ll recount that particular evening. We headed out into one of your clear and cold nights that you cast upon the south coast of England. We found ourselves in a particular Italian where I fell in love with gnocchi for the first time. The evening ended with a trip to a bar that no longer sits closely to Aaron’s home; I drunk vodka, lemonade and lime and didn’t really want the night to draw to a close.

6. Christmas in Cardiff

Roast turkey, roast potatoes and honey-roasted veg. This memory can only mean one story; I’m sure you’ll remember. It was my final Christmas at university and friends gathered for Secret Santa, silly chatter and a delicious dinner. A glass of wine and a best friend started off the most festive evening. It finished with ridiculous dancing to ridiculous songs. I would relive that evening this very Christmas if I could.

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7. Christmas come early

Back when I was in junior school, my brother and I would get our Christmas presents for our family from a little Christmas evening our school held. One year, my brother and I decided we should show each other what we were giving each other when December 25th would wake up already. This memory has to make the cut because we felt so awful for doing it and definitely ruined some Christmas magic. Since then we’ve never dreamed of doing such a thing.

8. A New Year’s pub trip

Nearly two years ago now I headed to the pub my boyfriend worked at to celebrate New Year’s. As he worked, I drank champagne with a few of my friends and it was one of those fizzy New Year’s that stands out from many others. It was a night of silly laughter and a “cheers all around.”

9. The final trip to the Hobbit

I always remember going to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies when it’s nearly December’s main event. For three years in a row, my brother and I felt Christmas around us almost because of the Hobbit. The three-part story gave way to three films released in December for three years in a row. Every year my brother and excitedly went to see the films and, to this day, the films are somewhat a symbol of Christmas to me.

10. Decorating our tree

A couple of years ago I’d finished at university for Christmas and returned home for my brother and I to put up the tree. It was a stand out Christmas tree decorating session because we I spent the evening dancing and singing as we decorated away; taking the stupidest selfies you’ve ever seen.

11. Winter Wonderland in Cardiff

Last year, Aaron and I went on our final Cardiff Winter Wonderland trip. After two years of visiting the mini Christmas wonderland of twinkling lights, cutesy stalls and rides, I felt a little nostalgic knowing it was our last trip; at least for a long time. So, instead of simply walking around, we went on a super fast and silly ride. Aaron and I quite literally screamed as the ride went round and round; my usually indestructible eyeliner streamed down my face. We finished our festive evening with a crepe and a German beer in the little German pop up pub.

12. The local Christmas market

For the last three years I have been working in a shop in my local high street and, on the first Friday of your month, they host an evening in the name of your favourite event, Christmas. My little shop sits opposite the Christmas tree locals gather around; I work happily into the night as merry people dip in and out of the shop, nursing mulled wine and getting ready for the big switch on. I adore the evening and I bet you love watching it too, December. This year was a good one.

December, we all know you’re generous. Giving. And that’s how you like to be. May I selfishly ask that you keep giving me such sweet memories? December twelfth is the day where Christmastime really starts to feel like Christmastime and many panic about getting ready for parties and buying presents and the big day itself. I’m feeling pretty content this December twelfth but it is only nine in the morning. I’ll bid you farewell now but I can’t wait to see what the rest of your day brings. What the rest of your month brings, actually.

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. HERE is yesterday’s letter!

DIY Christmas Memory Line | Blogmas #11

Dear December Eleventh,

In a day’s time most of us will be celebrating your main event in the form of Christmas trees, festive front of house displays and a wreath on the door. Our tree, traditionally, goes up on the twelfth- or as close as to the twelfth as possible. As I’m sure you’ve already seen, December, ours is already up. My brother won’t be home until around about the twenty-first of your month so we wanted to decorate it before he left. Upon popping the tree up, however, we realised we had forgotten to retrieve its decorations from the loft. Oops. So with the tree looking a bit bare, I’ve made a little DIY decoration to drape across it for the time being. This decoration, however, can be popped wherever you fancy. Let me explain how to make it!

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What you’ll need 

  • Fairy lights (the copper, white light fairly lights above were £2.50 from Primark)
  • Festive pegs (my pegs were £4 from Paperchase)
  • A selection of photos taken at Christmastimes previously
  • A few light Christmas decorations
  • Optional: A marker pen

IMG_5758How to get creative when you‘re not the most artsy person

  1. Find Christmassy photos that you’ve never framed or used in any way before- maybe even print photos you’ve never even printed previously!
  2. Purchase appropriate batteries for your lights to avoid disappointment when you get your DIY Christmas memory line up.
  3. The optional tool comes in now. Add an extra layer of special to your handmade decoration by writing little details about the photos on the back. Maybe you could write the date the photo was taken, where the photo was taken and if they’re really old school, who is in the photo! I chose not to do this as these are really old-school photos that we may not have duplicates of!
  4. Pop your lights wherever you’d like them to go. A mantelpiece would work really nicely but, as I’ve explained, I’ve popped mine on my tree!
  5. Once the ink on the  back of the photos has dried, with the help of your Christmassy clips, clip your photos and Christmas decorations onto the fairy lights.
  6. Switch on your lights and admire your one of a kind decoration!

IMG_5737IMG_5720IMG_5747December, how do you choose to decorate your home over the festive period? I would guess a lot of snow and red, gold and green would be involved. If you have the time, I’d love to hear. You know where I am. Have a lovely day, December.

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. In case you’re still looking for presents for your loved ones, December, I’ll remind you of yesterday’s letter: The Gin Lover’s Wish List.

The Gin Lover’s Wish List | Blogmas #10

Dear December Tenth,

I am partial to a gin and tonic. Doubles, of course. I don’t think it’s your drink of choice, December. You’re more of a hot chocolate, Baileys or mulled wine kind of month. I, however, am a strong believer in gin being an all-year round beverage; it’s not just for the summer! Your colleagues, June, July and August, I think would agree. I think gin makes for a jolly Christmas spirit. So today I thought I’d provide you with an extensive gift guide for your loved ones who are gin lovers like me; in case you feel a bit stuck when buying for your summer companions, June, July and August.

gin one.jpgWhy not gift your gin-lover loved one with a bottle of their favourite spirit? Below I’ve provided you with a helping hand. I think my five favourite gins would make for excellent gifts because most aren’t your everyday pub kind of gins. Expand your gin-loving friend’s gin knowledge by buying them a gin they probably haven’t ever tried before!

My five favourite gins

  1. Whitley Neill
  2. City of London Dry Gin
  3. Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger Gin
  4. Tarquin’s Gin
  5. Elephant Gin

Extra gifts for your gin fanatic

  • Make the gift a little more bulky by picking out some yummy-looking tonics or even find a set of minis to go alongside their bottle of gin. There is currently a delicious limited edition Fever Tree clementine and cinnamon tonic available which would add an extra sprinkle of festive to your gift.
  • Maybe the bottle of gin could even accompany an invitation to a gin distillery with you, December, for sometime in the New Year! I completely recommend the City of London Distillery (read my review HERE!), have heard awesome things about the Bombay Sapphire Distillery and, upon hearing good things about the Edinburgh Gin Distillery, I’ve booked in an experience next year for my boyfriend and me!
  • My boyfriend used to be subscribed to the Craft Gin Club; the monthly subscription box that includes all things gin. The subscription introduces buyers to small-batch gins. Aaron absolutely loved it; he just couldn’t keep up with the amount of gin he was receiving! I think this subscription box would make for an excellent gift alongside a bottle of gin!

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The print: Lisa Angel (£10) | The frame: Desenio (£8.95)

This print and frame combo are a perfect present for the partner whose poison is gin. I think, December, it would look awesome in a home office or in the bedroom; it might look even better after a double gin and tonic! Lisa Angel is my go-to company for sweet gifts. There’s something a little different and perfectly personal about their stuff. I’ve purchased from Desenio a couple of times now and have never been disappointed- their frames are true-to-picture and have always done the job brilliantly! They also have fabulous prints that I’ve purchased for a couple of people. I think these two items look really lovely together and a partner would love to receive this under the tree.

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The Bartender’s Guide to Gin

Very (currently £10)

I purchased this for my boyfriend a year or so ago and he loves his little blue book. It teaches all about our favourite spirit and gives readers exciting gin-based cocktails to try out. I’m really wanting to try out the cocktail recipe called “Star Wars!” I did buy this in Asda for about £4 so definitely look about before you order it online, December! I know you have lots of people to buy for. I think this book would work well as a stocking filler.

Fever Tree – The Art of Mixing

Amazon (currently £7.50)

This is my absolute favourite gin-based book so far. I bought this for Aaron’s birthday this year (he now has his own gin book library!) and it’s just AWESOME. If you were to purchase this for your summer friends, they would learn all about everyone’s favourite tonic, Fever Tree and how to use it this Christmas to make show-stopping cocktails. I’m particularly interested in the “Apple Garden” cocktail.

Gin: The Manual

Amazon (currently £10.47)

Aaron received this Gin Bible off of a friend for his 21st birthday. Gin: The Manual is “about how to drink gin” and teaches readers about its history, gin distillation and SO MANY gins. It, as expected, also shares a few gin-based recipes! December, I think June, July and August would love this book!

 

December, I hope I’ve helped you out if you’ve been struggling for gift ideas for June, July and August. I always have a few ideas when it comes to gin. Though, I must admit, they’re not always good ones! I can barely believe we’re half way through the tenth day of your month, but there we have it. I hope you have a relaxing Sunday and wind down with a hot chocolate this evening- with Baileys, of course! Speak soon, December.

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. Yesterday I wrote to you about my favourite Disney Christmas decorations!

Brighton at Christmas | Blogmas #7

Dear December Seventh,

I’ve always loved Brighton. I’ve admired its pier quite literally rain or shine and I’ve opted for fish and chips by the sea, again, rain or shine. There’s something about the city-like seaside town that sings to me. I’m both a lover of the city and the beach which makes Brighton the most dreamy location. But, December, there really is something about Brighton at Christmas.

Blogmas Seven OneEvery November or December, Aaron and I hop on a train with a pack of Uno and make our way down to Brighton town; where quirky little shops sit in between cafes and bars and ice cream parlours. Where The Lanes are jam-packed with shoppers and city dwellers. Where the pier’s arcade’s lights twinkle even while people battle with the seaside wind and icy rain. Yesterday Aaron and I visited Brighton to Christmas shop and purchase our yearly matching jumpers… Yeah, you heard right.

Blogmas Seven Threeee.jpgOur trips to Brighton follow the same routine every year; we visit the same shops, bars and places to eat. Let me tell you about how yesterday went down:

11:00: We arrived in Brighton and made our way to the cutesy shops with one important intention: Go to Aaron’s favourite shop, This is Not a Butchers. We mull around this area (after like THIRTY WHOLE MINUTES IN THIS IS NOT A BUTCHERS), dipping in and out of the gorgeous homeware and gift shops on the way.

13:00: We always pick up a small lunch, yesterday opting for a pasty (I ate a Christmas special- turkey, stuffing and cranberry!) before we headed to the Sussex Arms to have a pint after checking out The Lanes. We sipped on a delicious San Miguel while playing many a games of Uno.

14:00: From here, it was time to head down to the pier, doing any shopping we wished to do on the way. We always head into The Red Ghekko, admiring the lovely trinkets and ornaments. December, I think Aaron would decorate his whole home with the little dogs and frogs if he could.

 

Blogmas Seven Two.jpg15:00: After admiring the pier and taking obligatory photos, we headed to our favourite bar, The Fortune of War. It’s the loveliest on-the-beach bar that also has a pizza oven and a stack of games to borrow. We, however, grabbed a drink and played, of course, more games of Uno.

16:00: At this point we headed back to the big shops, pointing out the sparkly Christmas decorations and laughing at how windy it was. To Primark we headed, aiming to buy our matching Christmas jumpers. Yesterday, however, Primark was almost out of Christmas jumpers, much to our disappointment. After picking up jumpers from New Look, we continued our shopping alongside other Christmas shoppers.

17:30: We went to the authentic Mexican restaurant, Dos Sombreros to take advantage of the 2-4-1 cocktail deal. We sipped on our gin-based liquid and, yes, you guessed it: played more Uno.

18:30: It was time to head to Donatello, the Italian we return to every year. We loved our well-priced meal and red wine just as much as usual, giggling our way through the meal at our joint purchase of the day… Giant Uno!

20:30: And then it was time to head home, feeling a little glum that our day in Brighton was drawing to a close- but knowing we’d return very soon. And also knowing our train journey would consist of many more games of Uno.

Blogmas Seven Four.jpgDecember, Brighton celebrates your month in the most wonderful way- I really recommend you visit some time in the next twenty-something days… If you have the time, that is. I had the best day yesterday; a well-earned day of fun. I even treated myself to a sparkly outfit I will wear towards the end of your month. I hope you’re keeping well, December.

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. Yesterday I wrote to you to encourage waitresses to practice self-care this December- and I hoped it would help you out too: I’ve stored the letter for you HERE if you’d like to remind yourself, December.

Five Christmas Traditions | Blogmas #5

Dear December Fifth,

Christmas is a time for traditions. Some are famous for their mince-pie-making skills whereas some opt for gifting their children with Christmas Eve pyjamas every December twenty-fourth. December, everyone I know celebrates your month with a tradition or two. There’s something comforting about following festive routines while the Christmas tree sparkles and presents begin to populate beneath the branches. I’ve a few traditions I adore and I wanted to write to you today to explain.

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The Advent Calendar

This letter has to start with my mum’s magical advent calendar. She sewed our Santa’s Workshop advent calendar years and years ago. Despite being twenty-one years old and my brother, twenty-four, we would be heartbroken if our December wasn’t accompanied by our homemade advent calendar.

Christmas Puzzles

This isn’t strictly a “tradition” but I couldn’t not tell you about our Christmas puzzles, December. One Christmas Eve (the Christmas Eve I got my ears pierced, actually. But I’ll tell you about that in another letter), my mum gave us a wrapped up rectangular box as evening was about to put its “CLOSED” sign up. We were instructed to open the gift altogether. Beneath the wrapping paper was the first of our Christmas puzzles that we completed over the festive period. These puzzles are framed and dotted around the house throughout your month, December. Look out for them; I think you’ll love them as much as I do.

Star Wars Battlefront 2

Again, this isn’t the dictionary definition of a tradition, but my brother and I have certainly carried out this “tradition” more so than we haven’t. One Christmas Day gifted my brother and I with a Play Station 2; the game console I will always profess to be the best of them all. And I think it’s because of this tradition. Ever since we received this gift, our Christmastimes have felt complete with the help of Star Wars Battlefront 2. Often the week running up to Christmas involves a handful of daily games of our favourite PlayStation game. Our Christmas Eve morning also involves playing a couple games- having moved the Play Station up to my brother’s room to make sure our day would start with Yoda and Darth Maul.

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A German Beer

Since living in Cardiff for university, my boyfriend and I have been partial to German-inspired pop up pubs. Whether sitting in a Christmas Wonderland or as a part of a German Christmas market, Aaron and I will always find ourselves a German beer at some point throughout December. Cheers to that!

The Couple in Matching Jumpers

This year, December, you’ll see my boyfriend and I sporting our fourth set of matching Christmas jumpers. Sometimes, when necessary, these jumpers will be accompanied with a relevant accessory, but the main event is the cheesy jumper we purchase from Primark- from our yearly November/December trip to Brighton.

I suppose you’re quite fond of Christmas traditions too, December. Your dark nights are chilly and your mornings are frosty. You give us crackling fires and gloves to hug our hands. Do you have any traditions we don’t know about, December? I know you’re busy but I’d love to know.

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. Yesterday I wrote to you about the Terry’s Christmas itinerary.

The Terry’s Christmas Itinerary | Blogmas #4

Dear December Fourth,

I may be twenty-one years old but as soon as you cut the red ribbon to kickstart your lovely month, I still feel the kind of magic I felt when I was much younger. I feel a sprinkle of fondness that can’t be replaced when I think about previous Christmas Days. Our December twenty-fifth isn’t all that different to how it used to be but my family’s Christmas itinerary was once very set in stone. Today I am going to walk you through how our magical twenty-four hours would play out.

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05:00-06:00: My eyes would wake, Christmas opening them with its festive touch. I would quietly open my door, pausing for a moment to have a sneak peak at the presents poking out of my stocking. Not wanting to wait a second longer, I would grab the stocking and tip-toe along to my brother’s room. I’d slowly open his door, peak my head around and, depending on whether he was already awake or not, I’d wake him up. “It’s Christmas!” I’d whisper loudly.

06:00-06:30: After my brother had his stocking placed in front of him too, we’d look at each other knowingly. Within seconds, our presents were all around us. Unopened; teasing. We’d muse over similar-looking gifts and always find the chocolate coins. We’d chat excitedly and maybe play a game of Star Wars Battlefront 2. Before long my parents would let us know that they were awake too- fully aware that we were ready and waiting.

06:30: Into our parent’s room we would bundle; stockings and presents for each other and our parents in our hands. Soon we’d be nursing a cup of tea before we childishly tore open Christmassy wrapping paper that would reveal Matey Bubble Bath, games and snowmen chocolate lollies. My brother and I would give out our gifts and we’d open them at different times; like a Christmassy show and tell.

07:30-08:00: It was time for the big reveal. We’d creep downstairs, ahead of our parents. The glow of the Christmas tree being the only light saying hello from the living room. One step at a time, we’d make our way to the living room, ensuring that my brother and I saw Christmas Day’s version of the Christmas tree for the first time, together. There really is nothing like seeing the Christmas tree for the first time on December twenty-fifth. My parents would exchange gifts and pick out particular presents from Santa for my brother and me.

08:30: The Christmas Day Menu has always begun with a fry up. Bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms (back then they would stay clear of my plate!), scrambled egg, fried egg, toast and a slice of fried toast. Once washed down with an orange juice and a cup of tea, back to the Christmas tree we would go.

09:30: The day would always unfold quietly; with a happy yawn and childish hands. We’d shower with new smellies and maybe change into an outfit bought for the day, or into a gift we’d discovered under the tree. With no agenda, we’d begin new books, play with new games and spend a few hours eating chocolate and doing absolutely nothing- in the best kind of way.

13:00: By one o’clock Christmas dinner preparation would be very much underway. With Christmas music on or new CDs playing, my parents would peel, chop, boil and roast our Christmas dinner. Turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower cheese would be getting ready for the big reveal.

14:00-15:30: A prawn cocktail would begin the feast- back then I wouldn’t take part in this event. Soon, however, dinner would be served. My mum would present us all with giftbags (which will be explained in the twelfth letter) and then crackers would be pulled, hats popped on our heads and jokes told with glee. With a clink of our glasses, filled with fizzy pop or later on, Buck’s Fizz, dinner would begin. Our feast would be eaten slowly; laughter louder than the Christmas CD on in the background. How will we ever eat all of this?! 

16:30: But dinner would be eaten and, for now, dessert would consist of a few more presents. The afternoon would make way for evening and Christmas pudding with custard or cream for my family. For me, though, I’d enjoy a bowl of custard and cream. Bizarre but yummy, I can assure you.

18:00: Christmas evening would be celebrated with some festive TV or a game from under the tree. Soon my parents would be snoozing and maybe my brother and I would play on the PlayStation or watch a new movie. We’d snack unapologetically: Pringles, chocolate and biscuits would be munched as we wound down with Christmas Day.

We’ve always supported an uneventful Christmas Day- a lovely, uneventful day at that. Off to bed we would go, my brother and I a little glum that the jolly day was over for another year. But Boxing Day would be upon us in a few hours and we’d get to play with our new toys─and read our new annuals─again!

What’s your twenty-fifth day like, December? I like to think you get to wind down for the day too. For now, though, it’s only the third day of your month. It’s time to pop on some Christmas music and get myself ready for your day.

Lots of love, Kat ❤

P.S. Yesterday I wrote to you to talk about my favourite trousers that happen to be in your favourite colour.