December In Pictures

Monday, 22 December 2014

If you follow me on Instagram you'll see that I'm currently in sunnier climes but with Christmas only two sleeps away I thought I'd share some festive (and other) snaps from December in London:

Christmas trees in Paternoster Square
Obligatory Christmas jumper for #Christmasjumperday
Making "choccy road" as a last minute edible Christmas gift - buy ingredients from 24 hour Tesco Metro, melt chocolate, mix everything up and pop in the fridge overnight 
Southbank Christmas while out on a chilly run
My friend S's Christmas cooking is better than mine - cute little pastry trees at her annual pre-Christmas party.
Florentines and chocolate money.
Home made cakes.
Christmas Lush bathbomb to warm up!
Partying like its 1920 for my friend H's birthday party.

The Manic Street Preachers playing The Holy Bible at the Roundhouse - typical short person gig snap!
How have you been getting in the festive mood?

Christmas at Jackson and Rye

Monday, 15 December 2014

Finding a suitable Christmas lunch spot for seven fussy discerning diners is no easy feat. We discussed ideas in a Christmas dining version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears "too far away" "too expensive" "too chain restaurant-y" "too Christmassy" "too un-Christmassy". Luckily, the Christmas menu at Jackson and Rye looked pretty good and at a time of year where our wallets are being a bit mis-treated isn't extortionately expensive. I love how the menu caters for Christmas loves, non-Christmas lovers and veggies too.

We were booked in for 3.30pm so half of the team distracted ourselves from hunger with a visit to the Chris Stein / Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk exhibition at Somerset House. The exhibition is a free one with some great photographs - Debbie Harry was (and still is) a bit of a babe. The Somerset House Christmas market was visited too, great for last minute gifts and the ice rink is always beautiful.

These girls <3 br="">
It's Christmas - Deuce Royale for me
We exchanged Secret Santa presents and Sarah got me this lovely marathon-themed gift - so thoughtful and I will actually use everything (I thought, taking a large sip of my cocktail to push away any more thoughts about running 26 miles in FOUR MONTHS TIME)
After present opening and Christmas card giving the food arrived! I had the Market Soup to start - not the most exciting sounding on paper (but I am fussy and knew I'd like this regardless) but it was so well presented.
Table talk.
The rest of the Dream Team had the Mac n Cheese (topped with kale - the veg of 2014) which was approved of by all.
Soup Porn.
Buttermilk turkey won the main course vote for the rest of the team.
I had crab cakes because I'm a rebel. Both came with a crunchy slaw. I pinched a couple of Aisling's chips and they were crisp and perfect.
Peanut butter cookies and milk ice cream - sorry for the poor dessert photos, the restaurant turned the lights down to lull as into a post lunch slumber just before they were served.
I had Christmas pudding because there is one traditional Christmas food that I do like! I secretly love dried fruit (probably the most uncool food item ever) and this was so fruity and good.
After post lunch chats (mainly about how we all wanted a nice nap) we headed out into the dark, full of lovely food, Christmas cheer and another-year-over-already-?-panic at saying "see you in 2015!".

Favourite Christmas food?

Christmas Survival Kit with Alibi and Balance Me

Friday, 12 December 2014

No, I can't believe it's nearly Christmas either.

This is always a crazy time of year with shopping to do (haven't done half of it), Christmas parties to attend (successfully survived work Christmas party sans embarrassment), Christmas food to eat (I had Quality Street for lunch last week, does that count) and Christmas jumpers to be worn (bought one in Primark, guilty as charged).

It's no wonder that this time of year can leave us feeling a bit frazzled. I've forgotten to buy wrapping paper, have already worn my one "party dress" to two parties and still haven't quite come to terms with adult life not consisting of a three week "break" where I can go home and revert to my teenage self.

With the silly season in full swing these deliveries from Alibi and Balance Me couldn't have come at a better time:

Alibi is a "healthy fizzy drink" which comes in three fruity flavours. I loved the sparkling citrus flavour the best - so refreshing! The drinks contain vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts to add to their healthy credentials and only 99 calories per can and no refined sugar or nasty artificial sweeteners. For an additional party season boost the drinks contain Milk Thistle, a natural remedy thought to help with hangovers and are super hydrating to help offset the effects of too many cocktails.

I had these to try to combat the dreaded 4pm slump and did feel more virtuous than reaching for a coffee or something sweet to perk me up. There are so many colds going around at the moment and so far (*touches wood*) I've managed to avoid them despite my diet being less than ideal (barely remembering the last meal you didn't eat at your desk isn't really a recipe for getting your 5-a-day) so I'd like to think the vitamins have done me some good!

Balance Me is a brand I've blogged about my love for before - all the products I've tried from them so far are lovely, the price points are great for natural beauty products and my local Waitrose sells them so I can sneak a couple of bits into my basket and claim I am "food shopping". The Radiance Face Mask is perfect for this time of year - whether you're looking for a pre-party boost or a wind down after a long day in the office. The clay-based mask is suitable for all skin types and promises to cleanse, exfoliate and brighten skin.

After using this mask my skin felt smooth and soft and it only needs five minutes to work its magic. This time of year is hard on our skin with the drying effects of the cold and central heating, complexion dulling late nights and the fact that booze and Quality Street are hardly known for creating a glowing complexion but this face mask must just be a skin savior and I'm definitely adding it to my winter skincare routine.

What's in your Christmas survival kit?

Edible Christmas Gifts - Rocky Road Cupcakes

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Now, you all know that I'm not much of a domestic goddess but I fancied making some edible Christmas gifts as it's always nice to give something homemade and everyone I know has far too much stuff already and edible gifts do not usually last for very long! (Well, that's my hope with these).

I made some rocky road cupcakes - they are so easy and can be made vegan and gluten free if you so choose, just check the packaging of what you buy. Mine are vegan but are definitely not healthy!

I adapted a recipe I found online but the beauty of these cakes is that you don't really need to be too precise with the measurements, I don't own a scale so just guessed and they turned out fine.

Gather ingredients. I used half the chocolate, half the biscuits, a small handful each of the dates and cherries, one spoon of Golden Syrup and a splash of unpictured almond milk. The chocolate, biscuits and fruit can be switched for your favourites - you could even add mini marshmallows or nuts or experiment with different biscuits. Post not affiliated with Waitrose, its just my nearest food shop, sorry wallet!
Melt the chocolate with the syrup and almond milk. in the microwave, as it gets more melty do it in short bursts to avoid burning the chocolate.
Chop fruits. Lazy tip - use scissors rather than a knife.
Put biscuits in a zip lock bag. Crush with rolling pin or bottle of gin if you don't own a rolling pin.
Add biscuits to melted chocolate.
Mix in fruits.
Spoon mixture into cupcake cakes, sprinkle with edible bronze and leave to set in the fridge.
Are you making any homemade gifts this year?

Christmas Foodies Festival

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Kicking off the festivities last weekend with the Foodies Festival at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. I had a great day sampling different foods, getting into the Christmas spirit and spending time with Internet and "real life" friends - now they know that one another really exists! The festival was crazily busy but I got some snaps:


The retro-style band.

Pink gin is a thing.
Balancing out the naughtiness.
Vintage afternoon tea.
Kooky Bakes' whoppie pies (best name for a food ever!)
Glenn from GBBO!
A gift from Wild at Heart - super fruity jam.
It was great to see some of my favourite street food sellers like Kooky Bakes, balance out some of the naughtiness with a Sweetly Simple green smoothie and try Candy Kittens (Jamie from MIC's brand). My parents and I are enjoying working our way through the Wild at Heart jam, too!

I'll definitely be back next year for more foodie fun!