Saturday, 24 December 2016

Life | Merry Christmas


 Here we are; it's Christmas Eve already! I don't know about you, but one of my favourite parts about Christmas and the part that is most exciting, is the build up to the day. The films and music are played, presents are bought and wrapped, and a lot of food is consumed! This is the first year where I've worked a full week in the lead up to Christmas, and whilst it would have been nice to be at home making mince pies and watching Christmas films, I liked the fact that I would be focused on something and then suddenly remember 'Christmas is on Sunday!'. 
 I have spent today making cheese straws and doggy treats with Tom, and we've sat down to watch the last Christmas films on our list (we managed to time it perfectly!). They say that Christmas becomes less exciting as you get older but I have to disagree; different parts about it get more exciting as you get older! I love that through my persistence, Tom has become more festive, and I'm super excited for a family day tomorrow. 
 I won't keep you from your mince pies (and Tom and I need to exchange our Christmas tree presents!) but I wanted to check in and wish you all a wonderful Christmas, may you have a lovely day and over indulge in all the food that you can.

Jess x
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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Home


 Home is a funny word, just looking on google the definition 'a place where one resides permanently' comes up. Where you permanently live changes when you move to uni and you start to receive post to two places, and you suddenly reside in two different areas throughout the year. For me, Sheffield started to feel like 'home' as I came to the end of my first year, and more so as I returned after the summer and started my second year. 
 I never moved house as a child, and I always hated the idea of moving and someone else living in 'my room'. In fact, the first time that I moved anywhere was when I moved to Sheffield for uni.
 What sparked this somewhat deep thinking, is that this week I've spoken to a lot of people, who, when the conversation of 'when are you going home for Christmas' comes up and it gets round to me, I'm met with genuine surprise that Tom and I are spending Christmas alone together (with Tilly of course!) in Sheffield. I've spoken with Tom about this and he's experienced similar conversations and reactions.
 I think the fact that we're living in our 'student city' can be confusing, as I wouldn't and didn't stay here for Christmas whilst living in a student house, but I've found a home that I love equally as much as Suffolk so why would I not be staying here?
 I'm so excited to spend Christmas here and spend the actual day with Tom (this will be our sixth Christmas together as a couple!) and begin new traditions our own way. Of course we'll be visiting family over the festive period, but I look forward to chilling out for the weekend after finishing at work and spending this time with Tom and Tilly.
 Every time I hear somewhere from Suffolk mentioned on the tv, I have a little woop, and it can get confusing when I refer to 'home' as I meant two separate places that are together on the same level. I feel so grateful and lucky that I can call two places home.

Jess x 
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Travel | Christmas at Chatsworth 2016 The Nutcracker

 If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, you know that Tom and I have the tradition of going to Chatsworth at Christmas every year, and this year was no different! Each year they have a different theme, and this years theme is The Nutcracker. For those of you who want a nosey into what Christmas at Chatsworth is like, look no further! If you follow me on instagram some of these photos will be familiar to you - I couldn't wait to share them! It was a perfect wintery day; chilly but sunny and dry, which allowed for a lovely walk around the gardens both before and after visiting the house. 
































 If you can't make it to Chatsworth, I hope you enjoyed this online tour! I also hope that it's inspired you to visit at Christmas one year to see all the fabulous decorations yourself. I would definitely recommend booking tickets beforehand as you know what time you'll be going in the house, and you receive free parking for booking online. It's a wonderful day out and I definitely want to take my parents next year!

Do you traditionally visit anywhere before Christmas?

Jess x 

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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Food | Christmas Shortbread


 At this time of year, there's nothing better than baking whilst it's cold and rainy outside, and you have a Christmas playlist playing. Shortbread is something that everyone seems to buy at Christmas, but why not have a go at making your own?
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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Life | Top Ten Christmas Films







It's the first of December so of course the first of my Christmas-related blog posts for this year! I thought I'd start with a fun one (not that they're not all fun lol) that will hopefully get you into the spirit if you're not already so. Also how cute is my festive header for the month? For my first Christmas post I thought I would round up my top ten Christmas films:

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Food | Vegetable and Ham Tart with a Cheese Sauce

  Whenever I take a slice of this tart (I don't really think it's a tart but don't know what else to call it?) into work for lunch everyone always says how tasty and fancy it looks, but actually it's one of the simplest meals to make and I thought I'd share the recipe with you today!

You will need:
Puff pastry sheet 
Vegetables of choice
Slices of ham
300ml milk
Cheese
Plain flour
Salt and pepper

 First of all you need to cook up any vegetables you want to add. On my half I used a mixed bag of veg that we had, and Tom went for spinach only. Once cooked place your veg on the side in a bowl.
 At this point I put the oven on to heat up but when you do this depends on how long your oven takes to heat up. The temperature needs to be 200C/392F/Gas Mark 6.
 To make the cheese sauce measure out your milk, grate your cheese and add a tablespoon of plain flour into a saucepan. On a medium heat whisk this mixture until it is a sauce consistency. I don't have any specific amount for the cheese so it's up to you how much you want to use! As the flour helps to thicken the sauce you may find you need to add more in as you whisk, or if it gets too thick, add in some more milk.
 Lay out your sheet of pastry on a baking sheet, spread out your veg, tear up slices of ham, and pour over your cheese sauce. 
 Place in the oven for 20-22 minutes.

 Once your timer has gone off, take out the tart! We normally have just this as our meal and I normally take a slice into work for lunch the next day. I think this is a great meal because you can tailor which meat/veg you want and also which sauce! 


 As always if you recreate your own version of this please let me know. I'd love to see which toppings you decide to use!

Jess x
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Monday, 14 November 2016

Life | Reading is reading




Let me set the scene...I'm sitting at work on my lunch break reading a copy of Cosmopolitan, only to be met with disbelief from a colleague that not only was I reading this magazine, but that I had actually paid money for it and brought it into work to read. Quite honestly I was a bit shocked that someone was openly criticising what I was reading with a tone of 'I thought you were better than this'. This got me thinking, what message would this send if I was someone who didn't read a lot and this led to me never picking up a magazine or book again?
 You shouldn't feel embarrassed for what you choose to read, and you shouldn't be put down by someone else because of it. I can't imagine the upper class white males who created the canon would include my blog in with Shakespeare, but you're reading this and *hopefully* getting enjoyment out of it aren't you?
 At the end of the day, it all comes back to the 'value of literature' and what is seen as high and low brow. Just because I have a literature degree does not mean I cannot enjoy reading about the latest trends or about celebrities. I have grown up reading magazines; from the Beano to Girl Talk, to Smash Hits and Shout, my magazine taste has changed over time along with my sense of self. I like the action of going into a newsagents, scanning what magazines there are and picking one up. I like that what magazine I read is dependent on my mood and I like that you can read as much or as little as you like. As with books there's so much choice out there dependent on your likes and this isn't something that should change.
 Any form of reading should not be challenged or frowned upon, but rather celebrated because literature - any form of it - is a fundamental part of every day life and without it the world would be a very different place.

Jess x

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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Crafts | DIY Tassell Party Bunting



Hello! As you'll know if you read my Turning 22 blogpost, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Now that I'm a working gal (boohoo) my celebrations with my friends took place the weekend before my birthday, where we got together to watch Harry Potter, have party food and of course some cake! When I was planning this party I wanted to put up some decorations, but after seeing that tassell bunting was around the £10 mark I thought I'm not paying that much for a bit of tissue paper, I can make this myself! This was so easy to do and and 1/5 of the price of buying it ready made!

You will need:
Tissue paper of your choice (The beauty of this DIY is that you can tailor it to the occasion!)
Scissors
PVA Glue (or if you have one, a glue gun)
String 
Blu tac (if like me you do not have hooks to tie the bunting round)

Taking a sheet of tissue paper, fold it in half, and then half again. 

With the folded edge at the top, cut strips up until about two inches from the top. 
Unfold once and cut the sheet along the folded strip. 
Unfold again and repeat - you will be left with four sections.



Taking one section at a time, lay out the tassells onto a surface and carefully roll up the middle - at this stage it's a good idea to make sure that none of the tassells have been rolled up too!


Twist the middle tightly, and create the loop that will enable you to hang the tassells. I found that with some sections when I twisted this section into the loop it was secure, but with others that I thought could unravel, I popped a bit of glue at the bottom of the loop.



 Repeat this process with your other sections, and you can make as many as you like for your bunting!
 To hang, I measured out how long the string needed to be in relation to where it was going, and tied the end of the string to the first and last tassell. I simply threaded the string through each loop and after using blu tac to attach the bunting to our bookcase, I just moved each tassell along to where I wanted it to be! 
 This DIY wasn't one of those where you have an idea in your mind and then it all goes to pot, in actual fact it turned out better than I thought it would! If you recreate this I'd love to know. This is great for party's, but would also be great for things like Christmas, New Years or even as a decoration at a wedding!

Jess x

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