Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Festive Sugar Cookie Recipe

With the festive season comes some pretty cracking Christmas food; turkey, mince pies with bandy sauce and, of course, festive cookies.

I've been feeling a little depressed lately, so I decide to try and cheer myself up a bit by baking, and so I thought I'd share recipe with you guys. I plugged in my Les Miserables soundtrack and off I went.

I began with my ingredients: 100g of butter, 100g caster sugar, 1 egg, 275g plain flour and 1tsp vanilla extract, and by preheating my oven to 190 degrees C.

Next, I put the sugar and butter into a big bowl and mixed them together until they were fully combined.

I then added in the egg and the vanilla extract bit by bit, again making sure it was fully mixed together.

Sifting in the flour came next, again bit by bit, I used a spatula to combine the mixture until it became too thick to use the mix and so I got my hands messy and made the mixture into the dough ball.

I coated my work surface with flour and rolled the dough out until it was 1cm thick and used my aptly Christmas-y cookie cutters to create little snowmen, angels and gingerbread men, before placing them onto a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper and popping them in the oven for around ten minutes.

After they had finished baking, I set them onto a tray to cool. You guys could probably do a better job than me at getting an even bake because mine sucks.

Finally is the most fun part: decorating! Obviously, you can decorate yours a lot better than I've decorated mine, but with limited supplies and time mine's what I like to call 'Ode To Toddler'. 

That was such a fun little activity to do and it takes less than an hour in total depending on how fussy you're being with your decorating.

N x

Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas Decorations

The first weekend in December always marks the putting up of all the Christmas decorations in my house and it has been for as long as I can remember. However it's not always the most pleasant experience.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the festive feel to the house when the tree is up and it's surrounded by presents, and the illuminated Frosty is standing guard beside the front door, but the actual erection of everything is something I'd really rather avoid. The annoying shouting at stubborn fairy lights and the 'No! There's already a bauble on that branch! Put it in that bald patch over there!' I could do without.

But when everything is lit up and the fallen pine needles have been tided away it's a sight to behold.

This is the second, less elegant of our two trees she's still an absolute beauty. We always laugh every year when we put the little cape around the bottom of the tree because it's what my brother used when he was playing a king in the nativity nearly 10 years ago.

Frosty here has been handed down from my great-grandmother to my mum and he is my favourite decoration that we put up every year. He's so old, but so darn cute!

This is our main tree that stands in our living room. This is the one where all our gifts for our friends and family will stay, and it looks fabulous with the gold colour scheme Mum has going on.

We also have two of these little holly string wreath things that line our mantles. I think it gives such a warm and snug feeling to the house, especially when couples with a lit fire and some dancing flames.

Now it has to be said that these aren't all of our decorations, as we have a few little odd bits scattered here and there throughout the house, but these guys are my absolute favourites.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Favourite Christmas Movies

For me, there's nothing better than sitting in on a cold winter's night, snuggled into a warm duvet or sitting in front of the fire with a hot chocolate with a Christmas movie on the telly.

There are so many festive movies out there for all of the family, and so I'm here to give you all a run down of my 6 favourite Christmas movies that I watch every year without fail.

6.  Home Alone

'Home Alone' is one of the best Christmas movies out there, in my opinion. It's such a feel-good, comedic film that always reminds you of the true meaning of Christmas (and how cute Macaulay Culkin was as a child)

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Nothing bridges the transition from Hallowe'en to Christmas the 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'. This is always one of the first movies I watch every Christmas season (and by Christmas season I mean early November) to get me into the festive spirit, and who doesn't love a little bit of Tim Burton?

4. The Grinch

I know 'The Grinch' is probably somewhere at the top of many people's festive favourites list, and for good reason. It's perfection.

3. The Polar Express

You know Christmas is just around the corner when 'The Polar Express' is shown. It actually terrifies me when I realise that this film is over 10 years old, because I still remember going to see it in the cinema, but it still seems so new when compared with the others on my list. I especially love the little ticket punching bit; it's my favourite part of the whole movie!

2. Elf

You're insane if you don't watch 'Elf' at Christmas. There may be something medically wrong with you and I think you need to go and get it checked out. How can you not love 'Elf'?

1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

'Christmas Carol' will forever be my favourite holiday story, and the Muppets make everything so much better, so naturally this is my favourite movie. I always seem to save the best until last, and I try so hard every year to leave watching this movie until Christmas Eve because, for me, it finally means that Christmas is here. I'm even getting butterflies from thinking about watching it!

There we have it, my favourite Christmas movies! Feel free to comment below on how you guys feel about any of these movies, and also tell me any that are your favourites that I haven't included on this list!

N x

Saturday, 5 December 2015

What's In My Bag : Winter Edition

I've never done a 'What's In My Bag' before but I've always loved reading about them and watching them on YouTube so I thought I'd give it a go!

Starting in the top left corner I have my keys. Always a necessity, especially for school and when I'm working late and I have to creep into the house after my family has fallen asleep.

Next to my keys are some pretty little pens because I'm that person who, when asked, never has a pen (unless I stole the IKEA or Argos pen "accidentally") and I can guarantee that I will lose all of them within a week. If you haven't already guessed I'm a very clumsy person. My dad always tells me that I'd lose my head if it wan't screwed on and he's totally right.

My purse just lives in my bag. I never take it out unless I have to bring it into school, and I'm always petrified of losing it because it basically contains my life. Yeah there's the bank cards and the driving license, but my heart would break if I lost my Nandos and Starbucks cards. That would be the end of me. For those of you wondering, I bought this purse in Primark a few months ago for £6.

Below my keys is my Blistex lipbalm which is an absolute godsend in this frigid winter air. It's the Blistex Intensive Moisture and although it makes your lips tingle for a minute or two, it really does work miracles. It's described on the blurb (is the back of a packet called a blurb? I don't know) as "Shea Butter and Allantoin for a long-lasting moisture and protection, plus a refreshing tingle (??)" Despite that slightly weird description, it works wonders. And of course I got me gum.

Although I wear contact lenses I like to have my glasses close at hand so I'm never blind if one of my contacts lenses goes funny or falls out. Seeing is kind of important for me.

Over at the far right I have my book. Obviously it's not always 'Extraordinary Means' but that's my current bag book at the minute and so I'll keep ya'll updated on what I think of it. I read 'Severed Heads, Broken Hearts' by Robyn Schneider before and loved it, so I have high hopes.

Below my glasses are my makeup staples that I always seem to need when I'm out and about; my lipstick, my eyeliner and my concealer. Both lipstick and eyeliner are by Rimmel with my concealer being the cheap and cheerful Collection, all of which I absolutely love to bits and some how manage to rub of throughout the day.

To the right of my makeup I have my signature scent, the fabulous vanilla body spray by Body Shop. I've previously mentioned this scent in a older post about my Autumn Essentials which I'll leave a link to here so you can go and check it out if you're curious. Needless to say, it's my fave.

Below my makeup are my earphones. No explanation needed.

And finally to the left of my earphones is my planner which is forever moving between my school bag and handbag purely because I need it almost everywhere I go. It has my majorly essential times and dates such as my shifts for work, my driving lesson schedule and my blog post ideas. I think it's super cute and I love it to bits and for anyone wondering, I bought it in Paperchase for around £10. (I'm not 100% sure on the price, but it was definately worth every penny!)

So there we have it! I really enjoyed creating this post and giving you a tour around my bag. As I said before, I love reading these sorts of posts and if you have done anything similar, please leave a comment below so I can check it out and give you a follow!

N x

Friday, 4 December 2015

My Letter To Santa (Christmas Wish List)

Dear Santa,

Thank you very much for everything you got me last year...

That's always how my Christmas letters started off every year. I was a cheesy kid.

This year I would like...

... and then I got straight to the point because I always reckoned that Santa had tonnes of letters to get through in a month so I tried to make it short and sweet and straight to the point.

  • A Polaroid Camera
I have fallen in love with polariod cameras. Absolutely head-over-heels in love. A few of my friends have them and they always bring them out on special occasions, ready to snap a memory or two to hold forever. That's such a beautiful concept for me to get my head around and I'd love to be able to have that ability for myself. The camera I'm hoping to get is the Fuji Instax Mini 90.

  • Socks

  • Books
I always give my parents Santa a list of books every year that will probably end up doing me until mid March, because I think the gift of a world is the most precious thing you can give someone. Making it onto my list this year is The Lunar Chronicles, The Mara Dyer Trilogy and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone : Illustrated Edition. About 7 books all in all. I can't wait!

N x

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Gratitude Tag

I was tagged by the simply wonderful Vivian over at Day-Dreamer, Night-Thinker so you guys should definitely go and check her out because her blog always makes me smile.

This tag fell perfectly into my blogmas endeavor as I feel like gratitude is one of the most important feeling at this time of year.

What is yout favourite quote or verse that reminds you to be greatful?
Funnily enough my favourite verse about being thankful is the same as Vivian's! It's 1 Thessalonians 5:8 and it reads "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ". It's a beautifully poetic quote that reminds me that everything I have to be grateful for is because of His love for me.

Who are you grateful for?
Obviously I'm thankful for my family, all 16349832 of them, and my friends (I have a considerably lower number of those).

What life events are you grateful for?
I'm grateful for each passing day in my life with my family and friends, but the event I am most grateful for was on August 2nd 2013 when I opened my heart to God and my whole life changed.

What am I grateful for but often don't think about?
It has to be having food on my table and clothes on my back and a roof over my head. The simple things.

What are you going to do to show people you gratitude towards them?
I'm not a great lover of physical contact, but the people who I love the most always know that when I am truly happy and content to be in their presence I kiss their foreheads. I always get strange looks for this, but I couldn't care less because it means they know I love them.

I guess at this stage I am supposed to tag someone, but if you feel like you want to do it, I tag you because it's late and I'm lazy.


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Christmas Traditions

Everyone has their own little quirks and traditions at Christmas time, and each one is special in their own unique way. I love it! So I've decided to share some of my Christmas traditions with you guys and let you have a peak into my Christmas Day!

In my house the traditions begin on Christmas Eve when my parents, brother and I go to my grandparent's church for a Christingle service where we give thanks for all our health and happiness to be able to share another Christmas together. This is a really important part of our Christmas.

On Christmas day, after opening our presents from my parents, we go to my other Gran's church with the substantially larger side of the family. Again, being a Christian, this is truly important for me. Next, all 20+ of us head up to my aunt and uncle's house for a few hours before going home to get the dinner started.

My grandparents will usually arrive at about 4 with my aunt and uncle from my Mum's side with my littlest cousins (6 & 4) and we'll have dinner together.

 My next tradition is usually one of the strangest traditions I have, and my friends always laugh at me because of it; I only open my presents from under the tree after dinner. It's totally bizarre and people always ask me how I'm able to wait that long, but for me it's completely normal. I've always been brought up to never be greedy, and spreading my gifts throughout the day always allowed me to appreciate everything that little bit more.

I'd love to hear what some of your Christmas traditions are, so leave a comment below if you fancy! See ya'll tomorrow.

N x


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Christmas Gift Ideas - Blogmas Day 1

Let me just start this off with an explanation to my absence over what has been essentially a month. School's been shit, work experience has been draining and I haven't been feeling great. That, coupled with a serious slump in wanting to write. Simple.

But I've decided to get this month off to a running start and undertake Blogmas! Exciting I know, but I think this something that I need to do more than I want to because writing has yet to dampen my mood and I'm hoping this is going to be something that helps keep my head about the water (or snow, or piles of homework / exam revision / stress in general). 

So I'm currently sitting on my bed with my 8tracks plugged into my headphones with a hot chocolate and no job to go to tonight and I'm feeling pumped.

This is going to be an easy one to start off with - Christmas Gift Ideas. So simple yet so freaking hard to think of when you have as many people to buy for as I do.

1. Lush

You can never go wrong with a little bit o' Lush. All that vegan-y goodness that smells divine and is pretty much a must when it comes to buying for someone who loves pampering themselves, or even just loves a good bath! And a bathbomb or two will definitely not break the bank at just under £4 a bomb, and with the variety that Lush offers, there's almost certainly something for everyone!

2. Jewellery

I absolutely adore buying people jewellery for Christmas, and will spend hours scouring Etsy to find something that's just right. This year I decided to buy a few of my friends presents from some of the shops in this vast online market place. I especially love the individuality from each of the stores that people have put time into create something so perfectly unique! There's always something fro a good price if you know where to look.

3. Socks

Socks are, in my not so humble opinion, the most underrated present that you can receive on Christmas, and last year for me came and went without a single funky sock in my stocking. I was gutted. To quote one Albus Dumbledore, "One can never have enough socks.". So grab a snazzy pair or two from any high street store and boom, instant prezzie. I'm loving these socks from New Look, and they're on offer too!

Pink Stripe Banana Pineapple Print Socks | New Look

4. A Book

Whenever I'm asked by my parents what I want for Christmas, I love to give them a list of book titles that I've been craving but have been too poor to afford over the previous year. I know that not everyone likes books, but really, they just haven't found the right one yet. I'm a firm believer that everyone is a reader, some just haven't discovered the joy yet. So buy a book from Amazon that you think will tickle your friend or family member's fancy and give them a whole other world this year.

5. An Item That Relates To A Hobby 

My dad recently told me that he wanted to get back into art this year so 3 guesses what I'm getting him this year. Sometimes it can just be as simple as listening to see what they need!


Monday, 9 November 2015


Everything's been very blurry recently. 
Names and faces and people and places have swirled together into a mass of fast paced wildness that is messing with my head. 
I don't know where this has come from, and I don't know when it will leave, but the one thing I do know is that I'm starting to doubt myself again and that's the last thing I want to do.
I want to be calm and collected and coherent, and right now I'm not.
I don't want to slip into any weird funk or confused daze, I'm not even 100% sure why I'm writing this down.
I hope this helps. 
I hope it goes away.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

An Open Letter To Him

When I saw you today something changed.

You sat across the room from me, completely oblivious and absorbed in your own little world. You smiled to yourself and laughed quietly. You were afraid that someone saw you when you looked both ways and turned crimson, shying away from your own happiness. But I saw.

You didn't see me as I looked to you, as I smiled along with you. You didn't notice as the sun glanced through the window and landed on you, making you shine. You didn't notice you were not alone. But I did.

You don't realise that when I smile at you, I want you to do more than smile back on instinct. You don't understand that I like you more and more each time I see you. You don't even know my name. But I know.

You don't see me as anything more than a girl in the year below. You don't believe that you could create such an lingering sensation without even a touch. You don't know me.

But I'd like you to. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Room Revamp

Recently I decided that, now I've grown into a 17 year old working woman, I was going to treat the hell out of myself. As you saw previously, I took a day to town to do just that. But there was still one thing missing, still one thing that bothered me each time I woke up in the morning and when I went to bed at night; my bedroom.

The icky lime and hot pink walls covered in finger marks and blue-tack stains from old posters about my favourite books or TV shows, the worn carpet splotched with unknown stains here and there, the run down old chest of drawers and the overflowing bookcases. Something had to be done. 

So during this week that I was off school for half-term I decided to take it upon myself to do a little bit of DIY. So I threw on some old trackies and a comically over-sized shirt and got to work on painting the ceiling and painting the walls which took forever and idk how I'm still alive.

After some tears, a lot of sweat and a little bit of blood I finally finished painting. The colour I decided on was the beautiful Chic Shadow from Dulux which is primarily grey but has subtle purple undertones. Perfect, I know. And it's leaps and bounds better than those putrid colours 12 year old me decided on.

Next came the trip to IKEA. Who doesn't love IKEA? All that possibility squashed into that little flat pack of happiness. And how can you not love the market place? So many itty bitty little bits and bobs to fill your already brimming trolley ending with a Swedish meatball or two. 

The only furniture I really needed to change in my bedroom was my chest of drawers because I may or may not have had an accident involving some fire. So, keeping with my current colour scheme of white, I bought the Malm chest of drawers with 4 drawers. I also bought some extra shelves for my two Billy bookcases because I'm a bibliophile.

I will fill that shelf

It was very hard for me to contain myself when I got to the market place, and this was where I spent the majority of my time. Because I removed my fairy lights from my wall I needed a new light, and because I have a late night reading problem, I needed one beside my bed, so I went for the this Tertial floor lamp. Also, as I removed an old picture from my wall, I got this awesome and quite contradictory picture.

To decorate my new chest of drawers  I got some little LED tealights, (batteries not included, I learnt that the hard way) because of the fire thing and three mismatched candle holders; this little lantern in silver, this marble beauty in black and a flower wire design. I also bought this candle holder/plant pot to keep my makeup brushes in.

Finally, as a bit of an impulse buy, I decided on these three little cacti which I have fondly named after my three favourite prickly fictional characters. So I'd like you to meet (from left to right) Coin, Valentine and Draco! gahh I'm so weird

Sorry that there was a bit of a gap between this and my previous post but interior design is very time consuming it may seem. I hope you guys enjoyed it and, as always, tick a box and leave a comment!

N x

Sunday, 25 October 2015

'Hollow City' - Review

(a spoiler free review)

NAME : Hollow City

AUTHOR : Ransom Riggs

SERIES : Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children (#2)

RATING : 3/5

REVIEW :  Being a fan of the the first book and having read it when it first came out on recommendation by a friend, I was looking forward to the release of the second. However months went by and I read many more books in that space of time that I began to forget the excitement I had when reading Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. I let the release of Hollow City pass me by and it went to the back of my mind.

That is until the announcement for the release of the third and final book in the trilogy, Library of Souls. I remembered reading Miss Peregrine's Home... and was thoroughly disappointed in myself that I didn't read Hollow City sooner.

The book is set in 1940's England, and picks up directly after the events of the first book. The children are on a boat in the middle of the ocean with their Headmistress, and protector, Miss Peregrine, still in the state she was at the end of Miss Peregrine's Home... 

The story progresses as the peculiar children, each one blessed with a peculiar gift ranging from creating fire with their hands to having control over the bees that live in their stomach to being completely invisible, attempt to evade capture from the enemy wights, who are out to catch and kill all peculiars and their protectors, and visit more time loops in an attempt to save their beloved headmistress. 

Just as you believe the story is about to conclude, a twist arises that is almost unbearable and you must pick up the next book ASAP to see what happens, as I did.

The use of creepy, antique photos throughout the series really does heighten the reading experience, for me at least, as you are able to in vision with absolute clarity the scenes and characters, creating a uniquely original form of art that combines perfectly with the story.

I would give this book a 3/5 rating, as although the story did carry on in a smooth manner, the photos I believe may have been a slight limitation as to where the story could have gone, but I definitely recommend this book besides.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Shuffle That Music

This is a fun little tag that I found a few weeks ago and have been excited to do. Basically, I put my music on shuffle and post what comes up! 

Before I start, however, I have to warn you about my music taste. I'm not apologising for what I enjoy because it's not bad music, it just might not be up to everyone's styles or standards. The music I generally enjoy is almost exclusively associated in some way to a TV show or a film. I know, weird right? But hey, that's just me, weird.

[click on the name of the song to have a listen]

1 : 'Girls And Boys In Love' - The Rumble Strips

My first song is a British classic, used in the background of The Inbetweeners and is in the film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. I really love the beginning of this song and it never fails to make me smile.

Again, this song is used in The Inbetweeners, but it was just one of those songs that everyone (in the UK at least) always seems to know the words to.

The Inbetweeners again... I know, I'm a bit obsessed but since I love The Wombats I can't not love this song. It's really upbeat and expresses how happy you can be even in the worst of times.

I began listening to Fall Out Boy for a few reasons. My friends loved their music, and I heard their song 'Immortals' in Big Hero 6  and fell in love, so of course I had to find more of their music. Also, one of my friend had one of the lines as their Tumblr header and I'd always though it was just plain cool.

5 : 'The Strokes' - Reptilia

To be honest, I have no idea where I found this song, it might have been on an 8tracks playlist, but I fell in love instantly.  I really enjoy the guitar riffs and the indie rock feel to it.

Again, no association to a show or movie and I definitely found this one on 8tracks, but it has so be a pretty damn fabulous song to break my TV/film mould, as this one is.

I love love love this song! This was the first Fall Out Boy my friends played for me and I fell in love instantly because of the inclusion the theme tune from The Munsters. I recognised it instantly because I loves that show so much when I was growing up and always watched it after Top Cat on a summer morning. Love it.

I started listening to The Kooks because of (you guessed it) The Inbetweeners, but this is one of the songs from their newer albums and I couldn't not download it because it's so their style and so mine. I 100% recommend giving this one a listen.

9 : 'Zombie' - Jamie T

This is an 8tracks find but I'm pretty sure I've heard it before somewhere... a bit weird but the chorus sums up my entire life right now.

10 : 'Boomerang' - Relient K

Last, but certainly not least, is this little beauty from Relient K. I found out about this song from Youtuber Dodie Clark (or doddleoddle) when she did a video not so long ago about her favourite songs. Also, He really likes them so it's a win win.

I hope you enjoyed that little post, because I really enjoyed making it, and I hope that you found some new music to listen to! As always, feel free to leave a comment and tick a box to give me some feedback!

N x

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Treating Myself

Today was my first Saturday off both work and volunteering since my birthday (in July) so, naturally, I was going to make the most of it. And by make the most of it, I meant going into Belfast and treating myself... because I'm worth it. Sorry, I couldn't help it. So I hopped on the train by myself because all my friends work weekends and off I went.

There's something so rejuvenating about taking a long train ride by yourself. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I think it has something to do with having the ability to plug in your music without being rude and turning it up full volume, looking out at the world speeding past and just having time to think. It's beautiful.

The journey ended too soon for my liking even though it was like 45 mins and I was thrown back into the drastically swift world of the city. My first stop, after Paperchase that is, was Lush. I haven't been to Lush in over a year, regretfully, so I decided that I had to buy at least one thing before I was allowed to leave. I was wandering around aimlessly when one of the employees thrust a rather large beaker under my nose and told me to smell. It was Christmas in a jug. Perfection. He asked me what I was looking for, and under my request he showed me the moisturisers. I was treated like a queen. When I eventually left 20 minutes later I exited with plenty of free samples and the nicest smelling moisturiser ever. 

I then made a beeline for one of my favourite places: Waterstones. For those of you who read my blog and don't know what Waterstones is, firstly, shame on you, and secondly, it's basically the British version of Barnes and Nobel. Sadly on this visit I didn't buy any novels, but I did however buy a beautiful notebook that I cannot wait to fill with whatever takes my fancy.

Since I ended up staying in Waterstones for much longer than I anticipated (as per usual), I decided to head upstairs to their little in store cafe where I had the most beautiful strawberry cream filled muffin with a cup of coffee. As I always have a book in my bag, I just whipped out Hollow City by Ransom Riggs and sat in quiet contentment for an hour and watched the world go by. 

I then decided that I should actually buy something to show for my trip, so I headed on into my favourite shops, namely H&M, Topshop and New Look. I bought a cheeky little mustard coloured sweater, because autumn, and a new pair of ripped black jeans.

My final (and favourite) place in Belfast is this iconic little second-hand bookshop called Keats & Chapman down one of the city's backstreets. It's one of those shops that has no order and has books piled right to the ceiling in stacks that are sure to topple if you move the wrong book. After a good half an hour of searching, I found and bought myself another copy of The Great Gatsby that I could annotate and make notes all over without feeling guilty about it. It was the perfect ending to a great day.

That's all for now guys! I hope you enjoyed reading this little post and I'd really appreciate a comment or a tick in one of the three boxes below to give me some feedback!

N x