18 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

So the big day is nearly here! Hasn't it gone fast? 

This time next week I imagine the family will have full tummies and a content heart. Since hearing about the terrible tragedy in Connecticut, my heart has felt so heavy. Words cannot describe how awful of a time the parents and families are having, especially at this time of year. Something like this makes you appreciate the family you have and reminds you to be thankful for everyday and normality.


So what have you been up to? So far I haven't watched as many Christmas films as I had wanted to, but we've baked loads! Over the weekend we made Nigella's Yule Log, it tasted divine! It was so light, it didn't feel very 'naughty' at all (although it had lots of butter so I'm sure it was!).

         

We also made some Gingerbread. There was dough leftover so Ian & I decided to attempt making a gingerbread house. We cut the dough freehand and hoped for the best! 



It turned out really well. We were like two naughty children, with icing, marshmallows and glitter everywhere. It was so fun! We had so much of a laugh that we decided to make it a little tradition, although I think we will be rivals next year and will be having a small competition at who's looks the best.

I have been circling the programs I want to watch over Christmas in the Radio Times magazine. Do you do that in your home? It's such a tradition in ours, even if we end up not watching half of it! It's so nice just to sit and plan with a huge cup of tea.




It's my birthday on Sunday so i'm looking forward to a yummy cinnamon roll breakfast and then lunch out with my family. It's so close to christmas, sometimes i'm not sure that I like it THAT close but once it's here it's nice as everyone is jolly (although waiting for presents all year is a pain!).

If I don't manage to pop back on here before it arrives, have a wonderful Christmas!!

Gemma xXx

7 December 2012

Getting Festive!

From Left to right. Things I bought from Center Parcs. Candy Cane, Wrapping Presents for a friend, Pretty Lights, Crafting, Candles, Triple Chocolate Cookies, A Christmas Angel, Apples ready for baking, Christmas things from Sainsbury's, Making Rocky Road (so so naughty but so good!), Fairly lights on the mantel, A Snowflake, Keeping warm, My crochet votive, Our Christmas Tree.


I have been doing a lot of my favourite things recently. Christmas is well and truly here and i'm trying my hardest to make the most of it and soak every last bit up. Putting up the decorations and tree, baking, crafting, lighting candles, making things look pretty and getting cosy with my handmade blankets have been my favourite festivities so far!

We haven't watched any Christmas films yet. We had planned to but we started getting sucked into watching 'The Walking Dead' as we'd heard so many good things about it. A week later we have watched all of it up to date (Half way through season 3. We had some very late nights!). Probably the least Christmassy TV series ever but still fantastic!


So this weekend we are definitely going to be watching something festive...I'm hoping Elf as it's a favourite of mine. Other plans for the weekend include going to see the James Bond film finally (Thank you Lee!), baking and staying indoors keeping warm.

Happy Friday!

Gemma xXx

28 November 2012

A Colourful Mess...

A few weeks ago I felt a little overwhelmed. The work/craft area in my room was becoming a mess. I like to pour over photos on blogs and Pinterest of craft rooms. Everything is on display, books, fabric, wool and other bits and bobs. They seem like relaxing rooms full of colour and inspiration. 

My little area became a disorganised mess. I had all my fabrics hidden away, my books weren't fitting on my book shelf so they were pilled up in the corner.  Let's not even mention my wool stash from my new love of crochet....

Ikea seemed like the only answer. I am a sucker for Ikea. It's only a 20 minute drive from us and they have some fairly priced storage. Luckily they had a solid wood shelf structure for under £20 so I was a happy bunny. I would of liked to have painted it first but that will have to wait till next year.

We spent a whole evening sorting through everything and I am so happy with the finished look..


The fabrics are individually wrapped around cardboard. That took a while!I didn't realise how much I had.


My books now live on a shelf too. I think cooking and craft books should be displayed. They add pops of colour and interest to any book shelf!



The top shelf is dedicated to my little bits and pieces. A wicker basket of plain fabric off cuts and one for the more colourful fun fabric. My small button collection and some ribbons are displayed in pretty jam jars.



I thought i'd finish off with one of my favourite prints.Again it adds colour (the picture doesn't do it justice!) and an element of fun. 


My wool is now in a cute wicker basket. I had been looking for one like this for ages. My parents came across it in an antiques shop and it's been mine ever since. I was thinking about lining it with fabric. What do you think?


I know it's just a shelf with a few of my things on it and a basket but I find it all very inspirational. I'm hoping the shelves will be able to go in an actual craft room one day - I can dream!

Happy Wednesday.

Gemma xxx

19 November 2012

Elveden Forest



I am struggling to get back to normality today. We've just got back from a lovely little trip with the family to Center Parcs. We set off last Monday morning with bikes on the back of the car, a Christmas music playlist at the ready and lots of snacks.  Although it is still November, they had lots of Christmas decorations out so we decided it would be a very christmassy trip!


Ian & I stayed in the hotel whilst the rest of my family had a villa. This particular villa had a games room, a Wood Burner, an outdoor Jacuzzi (it was such a relaxing yet weird feeling sitting in the Jacuzzi at night whilst looking out into a forest), a Sauna and Steam room. We made sure we made the most of their facilities..heehee!

The Villa had a Chalk Board which was great fun
The view from the back door


The Games Room


In the morning Ian & I would be woken up by the sound of ducks Think Donald Duck! It was always fairly early but it is much nicer than being woken up by an alarm. We'd get up and walk over to the villa and would be welcomed by the smell of a fry up. Sooo good!

We kept ourselves busy in the day time with Walks, Badminton, Swimming, Bowling and Bike Riding. I ended up with blisters on my feet and a sore bottom from day one (probably not the best day to wear newish shoes!) but I powered through. 

In between all this physical exercise were hot chocolates, lazing in front of the fire, stopping off for a cold drink at the Sports Cafe, eating and shopping. I'd like to think i've lost some weight but I think the hot chocolates didn't do me any favours! 

They have some great shops there. Along with a Starbucks, a gorgeous clothes shop (which was a tad out of my price range!), a sweetie shop and a fun toy shop there was probably one of the best gift shops i've ever been too.


It was filled with Cath Kidston, Emma Bridgewater, lovely scandi style Christmas decorations, candles and other gorgeous homewares. I went in there a few times and took it all in. We only came away with one Christmas decoration but i'm really happy with it (the red star hanging decoration below).

The two grey wooden hearts were from a Christmas market they had on whilst we were there. The candle stick holders were from Elveden Estate, a farm shop outside of Center Parcs. 
In the evening Ian & I would cook our own meal using the villa kitchen. It saved us a lot of money to eat in plus the restaurants there couldn't guarantee the food was nut free. After we ate we'd then go out with the rest of my family for their dinner (we'd just have a drink).

I have been to Center Parcs a few times before and would recommend for anyone to go in November. It's quiet and they make a huge effort getting ready for Christmas. At night time there are lights everywhere in the plaza area. You will come away feeling truly festive.




Overall we all had a fantastic time. It's a great place to get away from everything and try new things. 

Gemma xXx

A few tips from my time there -

  • Bring your own bikes. To hire them it is £25 each.
  • Bring your own rackets, that way you only have to pay for court hire.
  • Split the cost of the bigger villas with your party. The bigger villas have more facilities to keep you busy!
  • Try eating in or alternating between eating in and out to save money.
  • Bring food from normal supermarkets. Center Parcs have their own supermarket which has almost everything you'd need, but it was fairly pricey!
  • If you have children, bring torches or glow sticks for them to hold whilst your out in the evening.



2 November 2012

Our Halloween

Every year since I was younger we've had our own mini family Halloween party. Nothing much, just some decorations, food, music and family. I'm not crazy about horror and gore but it's nice to have a little spooky evening and dress up for fun.

My Pumpkin (more of a confused face) ...


My Sister's...


 I dressed up as Wenda from Where's Wally (or Waldo in America!), my sister was a bunny and Ian chose to be a mad scientist (crazy face included).







Hope you had a spooky time!!

Happy Friday : )

Gemma x

24 October 2012

A Helicopter Tour Over London

This past weekend Ian & I went on a Helicopter for a tour over London.

I know! We are very lucky.

It was a birthday gift for Ian's birthday from his Grandad. I was so excited when we found out he bought me a ticket so I could go with him : )

We wanted to do it over the summer whilst the weather was clearer but because of the Olympics, the air space was limited to certain aircraft.

The weather was quite gloomy whilst we were up in the air but we could still a lot of amazing views.


                                       Buckingham Palace






The Thames with Tower Bridge in view


Parliament and Big Ben


St Pauls Cathedral


The millenium dome / The o2 





Police helicopter in the distance


It was such an experience and completely different to being in an aeroplane. 

Amazing!

We flew over my area and was in central London within 5 minutes. It's so close!!

I hope you enjoyed my pictures : )

Gemma xXx

19 October 2012

I Passed!

Sourced Via Google

Guess what?

I passed my driving test yesterday! Woop Woop : D

I was really nervous and did not sleep at all well the previous night. I conjured a picture in my mind of having a really mean examiner and failing after lots of mistakes. Luckily the one I did have was upbeat and chirpy, and that made me feel at ease. 

The best part of all was that I had zero faults/minors! Myself and my instructor were amazed, he said that in his 32 years of teaching I am the third person he knew to get no faults. Let's just hope I can drive that well all the time now!

I am mostly proud of myself because at the beginning of the year one of my goals was to be brave and finally learn to drive after putting it off for quite a while. Now it's done : )

Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement whilst i've been learning!

Gemma xXx

P.s- My laptop charger has broken and I am waiting for the new one to be delivered.I will get then finally get back to normal posting. Promise!

8 October 2012

Recently...


Life lately through Instagram




Fresh Carrots from the Garden
Gorgeous Streets in Central London
Crocheting Starburst Squares in bed at the weekend
Christmas Chocolate...yum!
Making Snowflake Christmas Decorations
Hanging with the Cat
My latest make...Ipad/Kindle Case
Cosy Candles on a Sunday night
My favourite dinner recently...Ciabatta, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Olive Oil and Basil 
Wedding planning gifts from the family
Cath Kidston shoes
More crochet
Super comfy jumper from H&M on top of peter pan style dress.
Saturday Morning = Tea in bed
Pretty Sunset
Playing with new fabric

Sorry I haven't been blogging recently. You'd think that now it's October and OFFICIALLY Autumn I'd want to blog all about it all but I have been lacking motivation. I'm feeling a bit better after that mini break so hopefully I'll be back to normal posting.

Happy Monday anyway!

Gemma xXx

26 September 2012

Handmade Make - Up / Bits & Bobs Bag

Today I've been making Make-up/ bits & bobs bags. I got some new fabric and just felt like making some cute zip bags that will fit in my bag and hold anything. Make-up, money, phone, keys, sewing supplies , medication and chocolate bars (maybe that's just me!).





They are fully lined and measure 20cm x 15cm / 8" x 5.5". They are perfect for yourself or as stocking fillers for Christmas! They can be custom made so you can choose what fabric you want.





They are £6 + £1.30 UK P&P. I can ship internationally too : ) Let me know if you would like one.

Now although I think these are really cute and will come in handy to keep everything in one place in my handbag...I am sticking to my old make-up bag.


Ian made this for me back in our teens. He used old jeans, hand stitched in the zip and also hand stitched 'I love you' on it. Something I will cherish forever : ) : ) : )

Gemma xXx

19 September 2012

Recipe : Brownie Pudding



This is a recipe that I've been meaning to share with you for a while now! We first made it last Autumn and I couldn't believe how good it was considering it needed very few ingredients and were ones that you'd normally have in your cupboard. 

This is the kind of dessert you make when it is cold outside. It would be perfect to hand out on Bonfire night to your guests or just for you and your family to devour on a cosy Friday night in.

The top of the dessert is crisp but slightly chewy and the inside of the pudding is gooey and warm and amazing.


Ina Garten's Brownie pudding from foodnetwork.com


Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (I use 5 medium eggs)
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (I use Vanilla Extract)
  • 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional (I leave this out)
  • Vanilla ice cream or single cream, for serving.

Method

Preheat the oven to 160c / gas mark 3 /325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
In a bowl beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 8-10 minutes until it's thick and light yellow in colour. In another bowl sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, slowly mix in the Vanilla, cocoa powder and flour mixture.  Mix only until combined. Still slowly mixing,  pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add hot tap water (enough to come up halfway on the brownie dish) and bake for 1 hour exactly. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
Allow to cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream or single cream.
------------------------------------


This is an American recipe so it uses cups instead of grams. In all honesty I prefer cooking in cups as it's much more straight forward than getting the scales out!

All I can say is make this, make this, make this! 

If you love chocolate and a little bit of richness in your life you wont be disappointed.

Gemma xxx

14 September 2012

Our Mini Break To Whitstable

 Firstly I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who sent their congratulations messages to Ian & I! We really appreciate it : )  .

As you can imagine I've been thinking about wedding planning everyday and although it wont be for a while yet, I've started to make the effort to go onto Pinterest and 'pin' the wedding things I like. I could easily waste hours away lusting after lots of different weddings and ideas! There are so many pretty things on there and I plan to share some of the things I like on here some time soon :)

Anyway I thought I'd share a few more photos from our break away to Whitstable / Canterbury last weekend.




Our hotel was in Whitstable and was really convenient. We were in the country side but a 10 minute drive to the beach and a 10 minute drive to Canterbury town center. Perfect!

When we got there we took a nice long calm walk along Whitstable beach and then had a good look around the gorgeous little shops.











The weather was fantastic. Nice and warm and sunny. We were so blessed to have perfect sea side weather!

Later that day we went for a look around the ruins of a Normandy Castle. At this point I could really tell that something was on Ian's mind..little did I know he was just anxious to propose to me!




♥ You can read about the proposal here if you missed it! 

That evening we had a romantic meal for two at the hotels restaurant. It was casual and relaxed and just perfect!


The next day was what I had been looking forward to...shopping (or maybe more specifically..Cath Kidston)! Canterbury has so many great shops. What I love most about it was shops like Debenhams and Starbucks changed their logo to fit in with Canterbury's olde worlde look.



Something else that we had planned on doing in the Town center was to go on  a historic boat tour. It was £8 each and lasted for 45 minutes. It was so interesting and relaxing just to sit of a little rowing boat on Canterbury's clean rivers and learn.






We went under really low bridges so had to duck our heads. There were cobwebs but I tried not to look. It was a little fun!



After this fun filled morning we headed to Herne Bay to visit a wild life park then onto the beach.

We were really lucky as there weren't that many people there. We let them go ahead a bit so we could walk around and feel like we had to place to ourselves. 

By the time we got to Herne Bay Beach it was late afternoon. I really wanted to stay and watch the sun set but it was boiling!!! I look at these photos now and think that we could have been in any country from the look of them. It was just so beautiful.










A holiday to remember!! 

I would 100% recommend going to Whitstable / Canterbury if you fancy a little break away. There is so much to do and see. We are already talking about our next visit there!!

Happy Friday : D

Gemma xXx

P.s - I forgot to mention that I was told by someone on Instagram that the flower from my previous post is called a Japanese Anemone. Now it would be good to try and get this flower in our wedding!!

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