Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Life | 6 Things for 2016

 Hello there! I hope that if you celebrate Christmas you've had a lovely one, and if you don't I hope you've equally had a lovely week! I cannot believe that it is nearing the end of December, which means the ending of another year. A lot of new and exciting things are coming up in 2016, and so I thought I would dedicate this post to my hopes for the year ahead.

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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Food | Festive Series: Last Minute Quick and Easy Treats

 Hello there! Those of you that are vigilant will notice that I've had bit of a change around of my blog design in time for Christmas! I'm really happy with how it looks, and I hope you are too. I cannot believe that we have now reached the final instalment of my festive series and that Christmas is only two days away! I hope you've enjoyed this series as much I have; I will definitely be doing another one next year. For the final post of this years series I will be showing you how to make these last minute treats! They're really quick to make so if you are in need of some  snacks for over Christmas but don't have much time, these will be perfect for you.





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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Life | Fortnightly Catch Up #14

 Hello there! How have you been? I can't believe that it's less than a week until Christmas, which means less than two weeks left until 2016- where has this year gone? This fortnight has consisted of a lot of Christmas-related activities, and has ended in a trip back to Suffolk. I'm looking forward to having a bit of a break from work (although I don't think it'll be a very big one!) and spending some time at home over the holiday period.
 This fortnight has involved eating a lot of food (I mean it's Christmas right?). This all kicked off with the University's English Society Christmas party at Bloo88. A night filled with some dancing, and eating a lot of pizza, it was a lovely way to properly celebrate handing all of my essays in, and hanging out with my friends outside of lectures and seminars.

  This carried over to the next day where we gathered at Megan and Nicola's for our annual Christmas curry and movie night! We've had this as a tradition since first year, and next year we'll just all have to gather at someone's house so we can carry this on!  It was an evening filled with laughter, a lot of curry and Jude Law (we watched The Holiday).

 We also had our house Christmas meal within this week! It was lovely to spend some time with everyone in the house at the same time, as this year we've all been so busy that it's a rare occurrence that we're all together at once. After our meal we exchanged our secret santa gifts and sat down to watch Santa Claus (not the Tim Allen one but the 1985 one, my favourite Christmas film!).

  Tom and I went to see a production of The Snowman at City Hall, and after a mix up of timing that made me think we'd missed it, we were lucky enough to have missed the non-Snowman half. They played the original snowman film, but had a live orchestra playing the music to it. We both really enjoyed the show, and if we go again next year I will be triple checking what time it actually starts!

  As one of our gifts to each other this year, Tom and I filled a stocking for one another. Rather than having to carry it all the way home and pack it onto the train, we decided to exchange them early! I really enjoyed finding bits throughout the last couple of months that could go into his stocking, and Tom really enjoyed it too so we will definitely be doing this again every year!

 As I said Tom and I have now travelled home for a couple of weeks, and so of course we were reunited with Tilly! We took our annual Christmas family photo, and I love being able to look back over the ones we've taken over the last few years. I'm looking forward to seeing the changes as the years carry on!
 Today we went for a pre-Christmas mea to The Artichoke pub. I had a nut roast with yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and a massive array of vegetables! The one thing about Sheffield is that I miss being able to just go out for a meal with my family and spend some time with them, so I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks at home! Although I will have to be doing some work in-between, I'm hoping that next year because I'll have graduated (ahh) I'll be able to properly chill out and relax over the festive period!



 What have you been up to recently? I hope you have a lovely fortnight with whatever you do, and the next fortnightly catch up will be with you in 2016!

Love Jess xxx
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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Crafts | Festive Series: Origami Stars

 Hello there! And welcome to another instalment of my festive series. Today's post is going to be a origami DIY as these have always gone down well previously, and they're quick and easy to make so you have time to recreate these in time for Christmas next week! I got this idea from a copy of the YourHome Magazine, and I found this was a great magazine for different Christmas DIY's!




For this DIY you will need 12x12 card or paper; I bought a special Christmas pack from amazon but you're free to use whatever paper design you want, and a pair of scissors. 

To start, fold your piece of card in half.

 From here, fold the top right hand corner over the bottom, open up, and fold the bottom right corner up to the top and open. You should now see a cross in this section of the card.


 Fold the top left corner over to meet the centre of the cross that you have made.

Fold the right side of this previous fold over to meet the left side of the card.

 From here fold the top right corner over so that it meets the triangle.

  Turn this over and fold in half. Cut along the line in the middle so that you are left with a folded triangle.

 On opening up this triangle you will find that you have a pentagon shape, and you can now start to create the actual star!
 Fold the paper in half along all of the diagonals.


 Open up your paper and flip it over so that the white side is facing upwards.
 You now need to fold every straight edge up so that the two corners meet the two side diagonals.
 Repeat this for every straight edge.

 Once you have folded all of the straight edges, you need to fold one on your left over and then lift up the bottom. I found it was easier to push against the triangle fold of the folded straight edge as you lifted the bottom up, and this will define the points.
 Repeat this for all straight edge folds.


 Now is the trickiest bit. Open up the folds so that you have the pentagon shape facing you.
 You need to pinch the triangles together, and push them in towards one another to flatten out into a star shape. I found it easiest to push a couple together to start with so you have a flat base, and then fold the other ones over. Don't worry if you can't do this right away, it took a few tries before I got the hang of it!

  Flip your star shape over.
 You now need to fold the right side of each point over to meet the middle. Repeat this for all of the points. The last one is the trickiest as you need to fold it over whilst pushing it under the point in front, but once you've managed to fold it under this will hold all of the folds in place.


  You now have your star! My little Christmas tree was lacking something on top, so I've placed one on there, but why not make some bunting and hang it along the stairs like I have as well? I simply made a few of the stars, hole punched one of the points (and sellotaped the back to some twine) and then hung it up!




 I think these are really cute, and once you've made one and got the hang of all the folds, they're actually really easy to make but look really effective! 
 As always if you recreate these or any other of my DIY's/recipes from my festive series please let me know! What are you up to this last week before Christmas?

Love Jess xxx

Festive Series:
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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Travel | Christmas at Chatsworth 2015 The Wind in the Willows

 Hello there! If you've been a reader of my blog for a while now, you may remember my post on Chatsworth at Christmas last year. Well Tom and I went again this year and I wanted to share photos of this years theme with you! I want this to become a tradition, so that every year Tom and I go for a visit and see the new theme. I spoke to someone who works there and she said that ever since it started in 2001, there's been a different theme each time. I'm glad to hear this as I was worried it would become like the pantomime where the same shows run on a cycle. 
 This years theme was The Wind in the Willows, and we found that a slightly worse day weather-wise meant that the house was nowhere near as busy as it was last year, so you could properly see the decorations! I'll try to remember this for another year so we can just buy a ticket for the house, and visit the grounds in warmer weather in the summer. The grounds were really autumnal, and I'm looking forward to seeing the difference in the summer when all the flowers are out!











  After a walk around the grounds, it was time to go into the house!

 To keep the children entertained, there's always something in each room that they have to find and count, and this year it was badgers.





















 I loved all of the little touches throughout, from the figures to the paintings they had done so it looked like Toad's family portraits were hanging around the place. Whoever is in the team that makes and creates the layout must have so much fun coming up with new themes and sourcing the decorations before putting it all out. I always think if I worked in a department store I would want to be in the team who puts the Christmas decorations out!
 If you have a chance to go to Chatsworth and see the decorations in person I definitely would, but for those of you who are unable to take a trip, I hope this has given you a little tour of the type of thing that they do for Christmas. Do you know of anywhere else that has decorations like this near where you live? Do let me know! I'd love to check them out one day.

Love Jess xxx
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