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How To Make A Gingerbread House

Let me start this post by saying I have very little experience when it comes to baking, so even I surprised myself when I picked up a Gingerbread House Kit from Waitrose the other day. I was feeling inspired after reading Alys Homemade Vegan Gingerbread House Blogmas post so thought I would give my own a go. How hard could it be? Answer: harder than it looks but lots of fun too! Here is a my 10 step guide if you want to have a go yourself.

I brought all these ingredients as I pretty much wanted to put everything onto this gingerbread house.

Inside the gingerbread house kit you get:

2 x 60g of syrup

white chocolate buttons

gingerbread mix

icing

red chocolate buttons

Step 1: Make sure you have some butter as this is not included.

Step 2: Empty gingerbread mix into a bowl. So far so good. At this point I am thinking I may take up baking as a hobby.

Step 3: Add 80g of butter into a bowl with the 120g of syrup. If you don’t have scales like me, it’s all good. I just guesstimated what an eighth would look like out of the 500g butter tub. Yeah, I’m winning at this. Next, microwave the butter and syrup for 30 seconds.

Step 4: Mix together the warm butter and syrup into the gingerbread mix. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Add a pinch of flour and roll out until gingerbread is 5 mm thick.

Step 6: In the kit there were templates to cut around to create 2 roofs and 2 sides plus a little door. Pop these onto grease proof paper read to bake.

Now go to the Co-Op because you realise you have never owned grease proof paper in your life.

Step 7: Pre-heat your oven to 180 and let your house cook for 10-15 minutes. Oops, I think I burnt my front door.

Step 8: Now, Waitrose tell you to heat up white chocolate milk buttons and use this as glue to stick your house together. Let me tell you now, white chocolate milk buttons (no matter how heated) do not stick houses together. I tried and failed and ran out of patience. Instead I just smothered my house in icing to create that snowy effect, hah.

Step 9: Now put in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to set but not too long as you want to stick your sweeties to it.

Also, this house should have had a door, but my dad came round and ate it.

Step 10: This is the fun part – the sweet eating and decorating! I think I brought too many treats, I couldn’t fit everything on. My poor little house was crumbling under the pressure of it all and nearly fell apart.

Now leave to set and enjoy! Have you made a gingerbread house this year? I’d love to see your creations! If you have a go, have fun and get creative!

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20 Ways To Stay Calm At Christmas

Christmas is such a fun and festive time of the year but things can get quite frantic too. There is just so much to do! Present buying, gift wrapping, writing cards, office parties, family get-togethers and making sure you haven’t forgotten to buy that turkey, to name a few! Oh yeah, not forgetting Blogmas! I dunno how you people do it. Sometimes we get so caught up in the festivities we forget to take time out for ourselves. Then we wonder why we feel stressed out and on-edge when we should just be enjoying the most wonderful time of the year. So, before you add another task onto your Christmas to-do list, here are some ideas on ways to stay calm at Christmas whilst getting everything done!

plan ahead – schedule in time to be productive and time to just relax.

brainstorm – make a list of everything you want to do and prioritize.

online shopping – avoid the crowds and have a one-click Christmas.

carry some blank Christmas cards – in case you forget someone last minute.

say no thanks – you don’t need to accept every invitation at Christmas.

go for a walk – fresh air and gentle exercise can do wonders for stress levels.

get creative – baking, art and Christmas crafts can be quite therapeutic.

pin it – Pinterest can be great for Christmas inspiration if you are feeling stuck.

treat yourself – why not book a massage or have a haircut for some real chill time.

play music – festive playlists, feel good classics, chill out tunes – Spotify has it all.

christmas calories don’t count – the gym is always there for you in the new year.

family fun – a pack of cards, board games and quizzes can keep everyone relaxed and entertained.

have a bath – a hot bubble bath with candles & some soothing music is simply blissful.

take a nap – a quick power nap can give you a refreshing energy boost.

write it down – journaling, keeping a diary, blogging can all help reduce stress and anxiety.

do yoga – however you feel, yoga can make you feel so much better afterwards.

digital detox – switch off your phone for a few hours and have some downtime.

buy extra sellotape – best Christmas advice ever.

don’t panic – the Co-Op opens again on Boxing Day, you won’t starve.

just enjoy yourself – it is the most wonderful time of the year, after all.

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Brighton At Christmas

Brighton is probably one of my favourite places to visit for a day out. It is crammed with cool and quirky independent shops, tons of delicious places to eat – all being a stones throw from the seaside with its iconic pier. My family and I took a little trip down to Brighton one rainy Wednesday in December and here are a few snapshots from our very enjoyable day by the sea. I say little, it is a two hour car journey. But well worth it to visit this unique town on the south coast of England.

Food For Friends

Sitting in a car for hours can make you quite hungry! When we arrived we headed straight for lunch at Food For Friends. This is Brighton’s original vegetarian restaurant (since 1981). My mum and sister are both vegetarians and I have eaten here before, so was quite happy to visit again for a spot of tasty lunch.

Food For Friends: 17-18 Prince Albert St, Brighton, BN1 1HF

The festive menu looked so appetizing but I knew from past experience their coconut and butternut curry was pretty amazing, so that is what I went for again.

My sister Vicky and I waiting patiently.

My mum looking pretty happy with her elderflower fizz.

Vicky with her hot ginger and spice non-alcoholic beverage.

This is the coconut and butternut curry – grilled baby fennel, romenesco, thai basil served with black sticky rice & plantain crisps (GF/V). So delicious!

Brighton Pier

When in Brighton I think visiting the pier is a must, even if it’s pouring with rain and the wind nearly blows you into the sea.

A pigeon ready to take your order.

The famous Brighton Pier.

The tinsel on the pier was a nice festive touch.

I’m sure seagulls in Brighton are bigger than regular seagulls.

A bit too cold for Brighton rock today.

Town Centre

Festive scene.

The light up igloo in the town centre.

Vicky, mum and myself looking absolutely freezing.

Posing in the igloo.

Graffiti and a random pair of shoes?

I love the street art around the city.

Coffee Tree

After a little exploring, we stopped for a much needed cup of tea and piece of cake at Coffee Tree in the North Laine. This is their very mouth watering caramel layer cake.

Coffee Tree: 47 Gardner Street | North LainesBrighton BN1 1UN

North Laines

A trip to Brighton is not complete without walking down the laines. There are 400 independent shops, cafés and entertainment venues in this unique and vibrant part of the city.

So many interesting shops.

Cakes in the window of Cloud 9.

Brighton is such a colourful city.

Brighton Guitars.

I loved the little festive touches dotted around.

There is really something here for everyone.

Brighton flowers.

I hope you enjoyed a few of my snapshots from the day. Have you visited Brighton before? What is your favourite thing to do whilst you are there? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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The Top 20 Christmas Films Of All Time

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a few festive films to really get you into the seasonal spirit. Shaun and I decided in late November to tackle the mammoth task of watching and reviewing all the Christmas films we could find (afford) to compile a list of the top 20 Christmas Films Of All Time and share our thoughts with you all. Crazy, maybe. Fun? Defo! I have also teamed up with Panasonic to bring you this fantastic festive film collection. Panasonic have recently released the Panasonic Oled 4K TV with a sleek design and ultimate picture quality to really bring the Hollywood experience right into your very own home. So get ready because here comes The Top 20 Christmas Films Of All Time… (in the order watched)

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