30 November 2013

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree! - #BEDN

Christmas is well and truly here! We put our Christmas tree up yesterday and it is looking very pretty! We usually go for a cream and gold theme but thought we'd go for a Nordic theme this year.

I was so happy to have my Christmas cross stitch out again. It was the first I had ever done so am very proud of it!

This is Ollie's first Christmas! He was so excited to see the Christmas tree.  He couldn't help but get involved in my little photo shoot. Teddy had to be part of it of course!

Gemma xXx

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29 November 2013

All I Want For Christmas... #BEDN

The Perfume - Shop Amor Amor //  Amazon - Christmas at the cupcake cafe book //
 Marks and Spencer - Boots
 Enrapture Totem Styler // Boots - Origins Merry Moisturiser // Clarisonic Mia 2

Todays prompt for #BEDN is to share my Christmas wishlist! Each year I love looking at what other bloggers are lusting after as it fills me with inspiration and gives me some great ideas for my own gift list. I really enjoy making a visual list each year to share on the blog...hopefully it will inspire some of you if you are stuck for ideas for others or even yourself!

Dear Santa... 

I have heard so much about the Enrapture Totem Styler recently and it sounds perfect for me. I have fairly thick hair and find it doesn't hold a curl for longer than an hour so. I've used heated rollers and hair curlers and it is always a fail. The Totem styler has lots of reviews claiming to be great for thick hair and holds for a day or so and I'd love to give it a go : )

The Clarisonic skin cleansing brush is also at the top of my list. My skin is good overall but my t-zone suffers fairly regularly with dry skin and breakouts. Again i've heard so much about this product and would love to give it a try!

What would you like for Christmas? Is there anything from my list that you would like?

Gemma xXx

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28 November 2013

Winter Garden

Image via Pinterest

Since the cold weather has arrived I haven't spent much time in the garden. Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, plants have died back and most of our vegetables have been picked and eaten. We have some Parsnips left in the planters but are hoping to save them for our Boxing Day dinner. I'm a little worried they are going to be teeny tiny so we may have to buy extra just in case. I really hope they are a decent size...there is nothing like serving your guests home grown organic vegetables!

There are a few things we are hoping to get done in the garden this weekend before we forget. These jobs just make it so much easier when we are in the Spring and ready to get growing again:

* Rake up all the fallen leaves and store them away so that they will degrade and turn into compost.  You can add your vegetable peelings from all those festive dinners you'll be having, plus egg shells and cardboard.  Soon enough you'll have fantastic soil and compost to use!

* Pull up any remaining roots and dead plants from our planters. We tend to leave in the roots from our Mange Tout plants as it is high in nutrients and great for the soil.

* Dig through and turn the soil. This helps to aerate it and will encourage insects for the birds up the the surface.

Image via Pinterest

* If you have bird feeders make sure they are topped up, especially if it snows!

* Move weather sensitive plants to somewhere sheltered and warm.

* Best of all..start to plan for next years garden!

Image via Pinterest

Apart from watching Gardeners World on the TV the internet is another great resource. If you would like some free garden advice and tips then check out Gardenhealth.com for lots of information.

I'm particularly excited for next years growing season as Ian's grandad is letting us use the end of his garden to grow some veggies. The area is very spacious so we are hoping to grow lots!

Do you like to grow your own? If not would you like it give it a go? It's so rewarding! 

Gemma xXx

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NB: This is a sponsored post but as always these are my honest thoughts and opinions. 

26 November 2013

Ladies Christmas Gift Guide! - #BEDN

La Senza Knickers //  The Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose //  Lush Magic Wand // Urban Decay Naked 2
Marks & Spencer  Candle // GHD Hair Straighteners // Cath Kidston  Bag 

As we are in the depths of Christmas gift shopping I thought i'd throw together a little gift guide for those who are looking for inspiration for the ladies in their life. These are all things that have caught my eye whilst I've been out shopping for others. Now as i'm typing this blog post i'm considering adding it all to my own wish list!

The M&S candle is soo lovely! I have the diffuser in this scent (which is frankincense and myrrh by the way) and my bedroom smells amazing. I've had it out since October and it's still going strong so i'd definitely recommend this line of scents! They are also included in their 3 for 2 gift offer if you are interested.

GHD are also a fantastic brand. They are my 'go to' for hair straighteners. I wouldn't look at any other brand as I know I can rely on them. They heat up quickly and tame my wavy hair in minutes!

So how are you doing with your Christmas shopping? Have you made a wish list yet?

Gemma xXx

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25 November 2013

One month to go! - #BEDN

I can't quite believe Christmas day will be here in exactly a month today! That is crazy. It excites me yet it scares me! I absolutely love Christmas but each year I try and force myself to make the most of it by fitting in as much as we can. I just want to make it as Christmassy and festive as possible! Hopefully I can do everything I want to before the big day arrives.

I love hearing about how others spend their Christmas...everyone has completely different traditions. Here how we spend our Christmas Day:

* We usually wake up nice and early with excitement. I cannot ever sleep in!

* There is lots of excitement to rush downstairs and open some presents. We watch each other open each gift so it isn't all over in 5 minutes!

* Breakfast. Sometimes we have a bacon sandwich, sometimes a full english. Most of the time it involves chocolate or some left over cake from my birthday!

*Ian comes over with more pressies (he on the other hand does not like getting up early...not even on Christmas!).

* We relax and enjoy our new gifts and start to get ready to go out. 

* We visit my nan for an hour or so then head over to my other grandparents house for our Christmas dinner.

* Once our bellies are full we usually play some games (cards, trivia or riddles etc), watch a film on the TV or just have a laugh.

* When we are sleepy we drive back home. The roads are always so empty on Christmas day aren't they? I love looking out for houses with Christmas lights.

* Once we are home I usually go and see Ian's family after they've finished their dinner. 

* The night ends with cosy Christmas PJ's, a film and lots more snacking.

I can't wait! The Christmas tree is going up this weekend so that means it really is the countdown to the big day....Eeek!!! : )  

So is your Christmas day similar to mine at all? What do you do?

Gemma xXx

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22 November 2013

Gaming Gift Guide For Children! - #BEDN

There is something that I have never shared with you before...a secret indulgence of mine that might seem a little surprising. I occasionally dabble in a little gaming now and then on the Xbox. Yes me..the one who also loves to crochet and bake! It all began when Ian and I got together. He always played Call Of Duty and I really got into playing against others across the world on Multiplayer. How cool was I? Ha! These days I enjoy games that are a little more relaxing to play such as the Lego series. They are easy to drop in and out of and they are so much fun!

One of the topics for #BEDN was to blog about something that I don't usually tend to post about. So with that in mind and Christmas fast approaching I thought i'd do a little gift guide for those who are wondering what to buy for the mini gamer in their life.

The games above are a few that the younger ones in my family are wishing for this Christmas. I am hoping that my brother ends up with the Lego Marvel game so I can borrow it ; )

 Sometimes buying games can be really expensive, especially when you are getting the latest ones out. To make your budget go further and get more for your money, consider buying pre-owned games. They are tons cheaper and most shops such as Game offer a 12 month guarantee. 

Something which really dictates a gamers experience is the TV! If you are planning on purchasing a new TV then here a few things to think about.The size. I would say a 22" is a happy medium, not too big that it takes over the room, not too small that you can barely see the screen. The quality, is it HD ready? Does it have plenty of AV connections to plug consoles into? 

Gaming Headset
Another must have is a gaming headset. They let you fully immerse yourself into the game. My little brother swears by them as he can also talk to his Minecraft friends whilst they are building their houses together. Another advantage of these headsets are for the parents or those that live with the said gamer! They will make your home a much quieter place and will keep everyone happy. There aren't that many headsets available for the new generation consoles yet but Gioteck are due to be releasing some PS4 gaming headsets soon!

I hope this little gamers gift guide is useful for some of you! 

Gemma x

NB: This is a sponsored post, however as always these are my honest thoughts and opinions.

21 November 2013

Favourite TV shows! - #BEDN

Images via Google
Todays prompt for #BEDN is all about TV shows. I thought i'd share a few that I absolutely love and think you should give a go! I love comedy shows mostly. Apart from that I enjoy crime drama. A random combination ey? We don't really watch much proper TV ( I mean shows on BBC1 , ITV etc) apart from the odd show on Channel 4. We love 8 out of 10 cats, Gogglebox, Friday night dinner and Fresh Meat, which are all UK shows. 

Apart from the above, i'd definitely recommend watching How I Met Your Mother, Lost, Dexter, Scrubs, Friends, House and Elementary. I have noticed that most of the shows that we watch are American! They obviously know how to do a show or two.

Do you watch any of these shows? What's your favourite show to watch?

Gemma x

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20 November 2013

Perfect Christmas Shopping Outfit! - #BEDN

River Island Jumper - Fever Designs Jeans - New Look Snood Next Boots - George Coat - Rue Du Rhone Watch

Todays prompt for #BEDN is to do a little fashion post. I love fashion at this time of year. Anything that keeps me cosy and warm on a miserable day like today is perfect in my eyes. I would love to wear this outfit on Saturday when we are going to do a little Christmas shopping. It looks so effortless and comfortable! 

I practically live in my boots, skinnies and a big comfy jumper all winter long. I also seem to have a slight obsession with scarves. I have plenty already but this snood in particular is on my Christmas wish list. My sister bought it for herself recently and it is just so soft. That watch is also so pretty. I just love that rose gold look. I usually favour silver but this just stands out to me.

Would you wear this outfit? Do you happen to have a scarf obsession too?

Gemma xXx

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* I am entering this blog post into a competition to potentially win £200 of Sefridges vouchers. Wish me luck!

18 November 2013

I'm Dreaming Of Christmas Time Breaks - #BEDN

A few days back I mentioned that Ian & I are taking a little Winter wonderland break to Center Parcs. I really cannot wait as it is gorgeous there at this time of year. Sometimes taking a little break before Christmas is much needed. We usually do a little something before the festivities begin but I have been tempted to book something a little closer to or even after Christmas day recently. I've been doing a little research online and here a few of the breaks that i'd love to do one day.

A country side escape for a girly catch-up sounds perfect. Sometimes it's so hard to make firm arrangements with friends when you have a busy family life. It would be lovely to get away for a few days from all that pre-christmas hustle and bustle and just take some time out for myself. I'd love to go and get my nails done, maybe a facial and a massage too. I can imagine catching up on all the news from friends next to an open fire with a hot chocolate in hand (maybe even a cheeky cocktail!). Add in an afternoon tea and a little leisurely shopping for myself and it sounds like perfection. Wentbridge House Hotel in West Yorkshire looks gorgeous for this type of getaway!

Image sourced from Wentbridgehouse.co.uk

Another Christmas break that i'd love to take is with my mum in Central London. Although we live fairly close to central London it's such a pain getting the tube there and back. I've always wanted to stay in a London hotel so we could spend a whole day making the most of the city and shop till we drop! London is such a magical place at Christmas time. You can definitely feel the anticipation in the air of finding the perfect gift for a loved one. I'd love to stay in St Georges Hotel on Regent Street, it's the perfect location and has an excellent view of the city! You are literally a 5 minute walk from Oxford Street, Hamleys and Liberty London department store. All the shops that you need for a successful Christmas shopping trip are so close by..it makes it so much easier! Just the thought of seeing all those Christmas lights is getting me excited! After a day of gift buying i'd definitely pop by the Winter Wonderland Christmas fair in Hyde Park, finished off by some dinner and possibly a show in the West End.

Image via google

Once the big day has come and gone, we all start thinking about getting back to a healthier lifestyle. For me a little coastal break sounds very appealing! Since we went to the Isle Of Wight, I can't stop thinking about that fresh sea breeze and how it really does blow the cobwebs away. I love the idea of doing lots of walking with Ian hand in hand along the beach front, planning the new year. It would be the perfect break to decide on our wishes and dreams for the new year and what we hope to accomplish. The Ox Pasture Hall in Scarborough is a great location! As well as the nearby beach, the rolling country side is close which is a fantastic for long walks, nature watching and even cycling. This is really appealing to me as I know I will have a little post Christmas weight to lose!

Image via google
Fingers crossed I can take a little break like these in the future. They all look so tempting!

Gemma xXx

NB: This is a sponsored post, however as always these are my honest thoughts and opinions.

17 November 2013

Relax - #BEDN

All images were found on Pinterest

Today's #BEDN post is about relaxation. Last night was so relaxing,..we turned off the TV & the computer. We lit a few candles, turned some fairly lights on, played a little Christmas music and just talked . Perfect. I could feel my body relax right away. 

If you struggle to relax try stepping away from technology and loud noise for a while. It can make a world of difference. Some cosy PJ's and a comfy chair are also a must!

Gemma xXx

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15 November 2013

Apple Bars - #BEDN

 This afternoon I thought i'd share a recipe which is perfect for this time of year. I have mentioned this recipe here before but it is so good that it deserves a full post on it! They are essentially apple cinamon bars with a yummy vanilla glaze. They have been described as an apple pie you can hold in your hand..they are that tasty!

This recipe was originally shared my Meg at Whatever blog. Her blog was one of the first I ever read! Anyway the recipe is in cups. I would definitely suggest getting some measuring cups as they are so easy to use and make things a lot quicker! If you don't have any then you can easily convert the recipe using an online converter.

Glazed Apple Bars from Whatever blog

4 cups of plain flour
2 1/3 cups of caster sugar
1.5 cups of butter (I used a 250g pack)
5 Granny Smith apples
1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp water

Mix the 4 cups of flour and 2 cups of the sugar. Cut in the butter until it is crumbly and doughy. Press half of the mixture into a baking tray*. Peel and core and slice your apples. Lay them flat all over the pressed dough. Mix your remaining sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle all over the apples. Finally crumble the remaining dough and sprinkle that all over the apples. Bake for 45-60 minutes at 170c.

Once your bars are bakes and cooled, make the glaze and drizzle all over. Leave to set and enjoy!

*The baking tray I used was 35cm x 30cm with 3cm high side. This size makes the bottom nice and crisp. I've used a smaller deeper one before which makes a softer base. The choice is completely up to you!

Gemma xXx

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My Workspace - #BEDN

I'm so sorry I missed yesterdays #BEDN post. I had a 24 hour bug type thing so I didn't really feel like blogging. Anyway today i'm feeling a lot better so I am going to do 2 blog posts to make up for it!

Yesterdays prompt for #BEDN was to share my workspace. Below is my desk that's in the corner of my room. It's fairly small but it does the job! I use it mostly to make orders and things for my shop, it's also handy when i'm doing drawings for my interior design course.

Let me tell you it isn't usually as neat as this! I did a little sneaky tidy up before taking some photos.

 When i'm busy I HAVE to have something going on in the background, be it some music or a vlog on Youtube. This little space is usually where my laptop sits.

I have a little owl thimble that was my grandads. He used to love owls and collected owl ornaments. When he passed away last year my nan said we could take an owl each. I choose the thimble as it was perfect for my sewing desk...isn't the detail on it so pretty? It's a nice little reminder of him.

For a little inspiration I have my calender to the left of my desk. I adore the illustrator Katie Daisy, her work makes me so happy. When the year is over I plan on framing a lot of the pictures from this calender!

Behind my desk is where I store all the fabrics that I use amongst other things.. Isn't all that colour so fun! 

So there you have it. A little nose into my work area. I hope you liked it! Check back for another post later on from me today.

Gemma xXx

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13 November 2013

World Kindness Day - #BEDN

Image via Pinterest

Today is World Kindness day according to our #BEDN prompt. I didn't even know such a thing existed! Did you? 

Being kind is so important. Most of us do it without even thinking, it's just a normal thing that we do. But when you really think about it a simple smile, a thank you, a hug, some help, some patience....they can make someone's day. 

Take pride in being kind to others.

Gemma xXx

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12 November 2013

Exercise update - #BEDN

Image via Pinterest

I realised it's been a wee while since I last posted about how the Couch to 5K was going!

In all honesty things are going slowly. Since the time change we've been having to run in the dark and I absolutely hated it. I couldn't concentrate on running and keeping a steady rhythm as I was too worried about my surroundings and the people around me. I felt unsafe.

So now we are running once at the weekend in the day light. We are still doing the Couch to 5k, just not 3 times a week. It's a shame as we are practically at the end of it but I feel a lot happier and safer when I run now. I can now almost do 25 minutes of constant running! It's an amazing feeling once it is done but whilst your doing it you have to let your mind wonder. If you don't you are always thinking about how much you hurt!

To keep fit we are also doing Jillian Michaels 6-week six pack. It's definitely not as intense as the 30 day shred was but so far it seems good. Again we haven't followed it completely 100%, missing the odd day here and there. I'm hoping we get our act together and do it each day as I fear festive treats will soon get the better of me!

Weight wise I don't reckon that I have lost much, if at all recently. Myself and others noticed that I had lost weight when we first started running, but nothing seems to have changed these past few weeks. Doing less of it probably doesn't help!

Anyway when we reach the end of the Couch to 5K i'll definitely share an overall review..so keep your eyes peeled if you are interested!

Gemma x

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11 November 2013

The Spirit Of Christmas Fair - #BEDN

After many years of wanting to go, we finally went to the Spirit of Christmas fair! Many of you had been asking about it so I thought i'd share my thoughts of it along with some of my photos. 

The Spirit of Christmas Fair is held in Olympia, Kensington. I have been to many different types of these fairs and I have to say this location looked the absolute best! The architecture of the building is beautiful with its tall arched roof

As soon as we entered the fair it felt like Christmas. I could hear some distant cheery Christmas music playing in the background and smelt the fragrant smell of oranges and cinnamon. Looking up you could see the giant wrapped Christmas presents dangling from the ceiling like baubles! It definitely gave a good first impression.

There was so much to look at. From cashmere knitwear and candles to children's toys and yummy food, there was lots on offer. You could definitely buy your Christmas presents for all the family at the Spirit of Christmas fair! After a few hours of shopping you could grab a bite to eat from the array of caf├ęs or dine at the Mosimann's Winter Restaurant. 

There were a few stalls that really stood out to me....

I really loved the beautiful types of fairly lights available from Think Gadgets. This was my favourite.... So pretty!

You should of smelt the aroma from all the potpourri from Pollyfields. AMAZING! How beautiful is this Santa Claus?

These little puzzle toys really caught my eye too from JB puzzles. Perfect little stocking fillers.

Overall I had a lovely morning at the fair. I have to admit I didn't leave feeling as Christmassy as I had hoped. Although I did hear some faint Christmas music in the entrance, I couldn't hear any throughout the rest of the fair which is a shame as it added to the atmosphere.  It may of been my timing at the fair but it just didn't feel as I had expected it to. I also would of loved to have seen a little more decoration dotted amongst the stalls.

If you are thinking of going yourself next year, definitely give it a go! You can come away with some beautiful gifts. If you can't wait until Christmas 2014 then there is always the Spirit of Summer fair in May.

Gemma x

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9 November 2013

My day in photos - #BEDN

Todays blog post for #BEDN is to share my day with you by taking a photo each hour. Sorry if some of these pictures are a bit dodgey! 

Eating breakfast. I love Croissants!

On the tube on our way to the Spirit of Christmas Fair.
Arriving at the Fair. Doesn't it look lovely?

Admiring the Christmas Decorations.
I forgot to take some photos in the afternoon...whoops! You didn't miss to much though. We just came back home on the tube, made some cheesecake, read a little and made a sauce for the dessert. After this we.....

Had dinner at my grandparents. It was good!
Played with the camera settings whilst having a few fireworks.

Ate dessert. Cheesecake with a mixed berry coulis. Yum!
Then got cosy back at home. Night Night!
Gemma xXx

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8 November 2013

Mind Blank - #BEDN

I've decided to have a little change around of the topics set for the next few days for 'Blog every day in November'. 

Today I am keeping it short and sweet. I always enjoy taking part in these challenges but sometimes I have no words. I attempted to type a 'Blog Chat' post for today but I just couldn't express myself properly. No matter what I typed it just didn't read right in my head. Do you fellow bloggers ever get this problem? I have so many half written blog post drafts because I just can't get my head around what I am trying to say! 

Instead I thought I'd share a few Instagram snaps from these past few weeks. I have to admit I haven't been using Instagram as much as I used to.

1. My current crochet blanket which is taking forever! /  2. Ollie falling asleep on his beloved teddy
 3. Halloween!   / 4. Candles on a Friday night

1. Simple tree garland  /  2.   Wool Order- yay!   /  3. Cosy under my quilt  /  4.  Red & Beige tree garland

My Instagram name is Gemma_gld. What's yours? I'd love to add you to my feed : )

I'll be back tomorrow to share my day with a picture an hour.

Happy Friday!

Gemma xXx

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7 November 2013

10 things i'm looking forward to! - #BEDN

Todays #BEDN post is to write a list of 10 things. I've decided to write about 10 things i'm looking forward to soon! It's good to have something to get excited about (big or small). Most of my things are somehow Christmas related.

Here we go....

1. Spirit of Christmas Fair - Every year I have wanted to go and this year we are finally going! Ian's aunt has been and she always comes back with so many goodies. I'm hoping it will make me feel really festive and fill me with inspiration.

2. Cosy nights in/Crochet - Hot chocolate, a candle lit room, fairy lights, crochet and a good film...ahh perfect. 

3. Baking - As you can tell from one of my previous posts, I LOVE to bake! I'm excited as this will be our first year of our Gingerbread house competition. Ian & I made one together last year and we decided this year we'd be rivals. Nothing serious..just a little fun between the Mr and I. Here is the one we made last year!

4. Andy Parsons - We are going to his comedy show next week. I really enjoy a good laugh so hopefully this will be good.

5. St Albans Christmas Market - There is a traditional market that surrounds the Cathedral coming soon and I cannot wait! St Albans is lovely regardless of the time of year, so hopefully this will make a good day out with plenty of shopping ; )

6. Putting up the decorations - It's always a trip down memory lane getting the Christmas decorations out!

7. My Birthday - It's my birthday next month. I'm probably a little too old to get excited about birthdays but I just can't help it. I guess as it's so close to Christmas day it almost feels magical. December is such a busy month for me.

8. Center Parcs - Ian & I are taking a mini break there next month. It's perfect at this time of year. Crisp chilly days, bundled up in our hats and scarf keeping cosy. Also a good opportunity to do some exercise before Christmas gluttony begins ; )

9. Carol Concert - We go to a church carol concert each year. It's lovely singing traditional carols and it really makes you feel in the spirit of things!

10. Christmas dinner - Dinner with all the trimmings. Yum yum! It's funny how everyone looks forward to Christmas dinner so much, and yet it flies by in a blink of an eye. 

So there are my 10 things! I truly love this time of year (as you can tell). There is so much anticipation and magic in the air.

Gemma xXx

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