Posted in Blogmas, Christmas

Flashback!

Okay okay okay, we are officially nearing the end of blogmas 2016, and yet here I find myself considering continuing through until the end of the month. Am I wise??

 

Today’s countdown song is Santa Clause Is Coming To Town – the perfect song to have on the 21st! Children everywhere are beginning to get so so excited to see what will be left for them this year, and I just loved this video so much I had to share it!

 

 

But thinking of the children who’re currently getting really excited for Christmas Day actually reminded me of one of my proudest achievements to date – and you’ll laugh when I tell you about it!
Back in 2001, I lived in a tiny town on the east coast of Scotland. Every year we got snow at Christmas – it started to fall in November and continued until Easter some years! Now the particular year we’re talking about was brilliant for the snow. It was the perfect consistency, and Dad made us an actual igloo! I remember thinking just how awesome that was.
A few of my friends and I were sitting drinking our hot orange juice inside the igloo, when one of the women from further down the street (there were 20 houses) came up to tell us that she was running a snowman competition and there was a trophy for the winning house! So, of course, all my friends scattered – everyone dashing off to their own gardens to make the perfect Snowman.
Now unfortunately I don’t remember what ours looked like or anything, but Dad and I had great fun building him up! Rachel wanted to join in but she was only 3 years old and seemed to be intent on destroying him.
Judging time came, and I remember standing proudly beside my Snowman, and looking up at him thinking about just how tall he was. And then, to my delight, Dad and I were announced the winners! We even beat the teenagers down the road from us who had stuck googley eyes on their Snowman!
To this day, I still have our trophy in my “special drawer” (along with all my other memorable things).

Do you have any specific memories you’re proud of? Or any pictures of snowmen you’ve built?
Ktkinnes xx

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Posted in Christmas

Whatcha Listening To?

EEEEK!!! We’re into the last few days and I am beginning to really stress! Today, I’m going into town in the hope of seeing something somewhere to buy for Rachel’s final part of her Christmas present. Mum’s officially off for Christmas, and I think she had a good day on Saturday celebrating her birthday. Don’t think my liver will recover on time for this weekend though!

 

For once, I’m actually getting to listen to Christmas music on the TV while writing this post. It’s quite rare that I can have a TV show on while blogging, so the novelty is making me feel even more festive! While today’s post is all about my Christmas Playlists, we can’t have a blogmas post without the Christmas Song Countdown – have you been enjoying it?

 

 

I’ve found as the years go on I enjoy this song more. Can’t really explain why for years I didn’t like it, but it is slowly growing on me. I’m one of those people who stereo-typically likes sad, slow songs – unless it’s Christmas. Then it’s a case of the livelier the better!

 

So for today’s Christmas Playlist, I have included a list to my Spotify Christmas Playlist for you to listen to if you’d like, but also here are my must-have songs for a Christmas Playlist. Only another week of it being socially acceptable to listen to them!

 

My Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/user/1173089764/playlist/1DcTiCc5l3suS9Meb6fFwk

 

  1. The Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues
  2. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  3. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid (the original one of course)
  4. Last Christmas – Wham! (Or Wham UK for any of our American friends)
  5. Happy Christmas (War Is Over) – John & Yoko
  6. Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
  7. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
  8. Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
  9. Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens
  10. Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
  11. Rockin Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
  12. Step Into Christmas – Elton John
  13. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Michael Bublé
  14. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
  15. Stop The Calvary- Jona Lewie
  16. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  17. Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – The Nat King Cole Trio
  18. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year – Andy Williams
  19. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
  20. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
  21. A Winter’s Tale – David Essex
  22. Cold December Night – Michael Bublé
  23. Mary’s Boy Child – Boney M
  24. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
  25. Winter Wonderland – Perry Como

     

 

 

What’s on your must-have Christmas song list?

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Book reviews, Christmas, Lifestyle

Reading At Christmas

Well, this weekend is definitely a busy one! And there’s only a week left until the Christmas Eve craziness! At this stage, today’s song is one of the few things lifting my head from the chaos of getting ready for the big day.

 

 

Today, I wanted to share my favourite Christmas reads with you. No matter how old I am, I love these stories and often read them in the early hours of Christmas Day when I can’t sleep because yes, I am a big child who still finds it hard to sleep before Christmas.

 

  1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss.
    Who couldn’t love this book?? Not only do I love the book, but I recently watched the film for the first time ever and can’t wait to join in when Cesca hosts the GRLPOWR movie night for it this coming Wednesday!
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
    Another classic tale that has had so many movie adaptations that I’ve lost count! It gets me thinking about Christmases past, present and future every year. Hopefully I’ll never be like Scrooge!
  3. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.
    Actually, it was only when the film first came out that I realised this was a book first. Either way, the story of the little boy who struggles to believe in Santa is so reminiscent of growing up. Anyone else wish they still believed?
  4. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.
    Just because there are no words does not mean this isn’t a fantastic book that takes me back to my childhood any time I flick through the pages!
  5. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore.
    Yes, okay, technically this isn’t a story, it’s a poem, but then again who can have a Christmas without it? Can you?

 

What Christmas books do you simply have to read?

 

Ktkinnes xx

8 more sleeps!

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

What’s on my shopping list?

Wow okay time is flying by now and we’re fast approaching the big event, yet my shopping list doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller. Anyone else with the same problem?

It’s for this reason that I start planning extremely early. In fact, the book I now use for jotting down blogging ideas used to be my presents book! During the year, if I thought of anything I could buy for anyone, I would write it down on their page in the book. Anything I had done would get highlighted so I couldn’t accidentally double up on presents.

 

But I’m getting sidetracked… again… Who’s ready for today’s Christmas Countdown song? Today we have Sleigh Ride – the original version without singing! Maybe something to leave on while you continue reading?

 

 

The images are lovely!

So, where was I? Oh yes, presents! I suppose it’s now safe to say I had Nuala for Secret Santa (since we exchanged presents back during our Christmas dinner), and I’ve now got a rough idea of what I’m buying everyone else.

 

Rachel has been asking for a mermaid tail blanket a lot recently, and with no one else in the family having a clue where to buy them or how I decided I would pick one up for her. I bought her this in purple and in the biggest size possible so it came to a total of £15. Now normally I would go all out on Rachel but this year I plan on keeping it simple so have bought her some Tinkerbell pyjamas.

 

Mum is always difficult as her birthday is exactly a week before Christmas. She dropped a few hints that she would appreciate some new pyjamas and so Rachel and I have got her some nice ones from Marks and Spencer. I would show you them, however Rachel is doing the purchasing and I am giving her money when I get home tonight!

 

Dad is another difficult person as he never actually gives you any help with suggestions. This year, we’re getting him hard soled slippers as these are the only type he wears and his current ones are wrecked. Again, we’ll put something with these, but he is banned from getting chocolates or sweets from us since his winter wardrobe seems to have come down from the attic about 3 sizes too small! In fact, maybe we should get him a new shirt that actually fits…

 

Granny H is always at ours or at least with us on Christmas Day and so for years Rachel and I have joined together to buy her a present. Like Mum, Granny’s birthday is in December so we tend to leave her Christmas present until after her birthday but this year we were prepared. Rachel went shopping with her to buy stuff for Mum, and Granny spotted a bag that she really liked so Rachel managed to sneak back and buy it.

 

Granny B is simple and yet difficult. You know those people who are happy with anything to the point that you don’t actually know what to buy them? Well we’re still struggling to think of something so please please please if you have any suggestions for an 85 year old woman then they would be greatly appreciated!

 

Nuala‘s secret santa present was a fruit infusing water bottle and an artist sketching set. Nuala’s brilliant at drawing or sketching or whatever you call it, and I would love to be able to showcase some of her artwork for you all sometime, but that’s why I went for these two.

 

Wow that’s a small present list this year. The past couple of years we’ve have my aunt, uncle and cousins with us so we’ve have another 5 people to buy for so this year looks a little strange. I have bought presents for Jordanne (and Leon) and Cesca but I went a little crazy and have actually forgotten what all I bought!

 

What’s on your present shopping list?

 

Ktkinnes xx

 

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Hello everyone! Welcome to day 13 of blogmas here on Life With Ktkinnes. How are you all today? As we start today with our usual Christmas Song Countdown, Stay Another Day! Now, this isn’t my favourite song, and I’m kinda sad because I wanted a really good song to go with this post but anyway. The British public have spoken and so today’s song is Stay Another Day. Although, I suppose, I wish I could’ve stayed another day in London!

 

 

But yes, as you might’ve guessed, today’s post is all about the adventures we had in London! I will be honest here and admit that, not only did I not take as many pictures or videos as I had expected, but I also managed to forget to save them from snapchat so have very few to put in. However, I will highly recommend you check out Jordanne and Becca’s posts about it!

Now,  Friday night, Jordanne and I were travelling down together by bus. Yup, we got a bus that took over 9 hours from Glasgow to London – dedicated! Excitement was high as we started on the road, the pair of us trying to take part in MoonChat as long as our data held up. We chatted, ate some of our snacks, and just generally had a good time. Before we even made it on the bus, however, some woman managed to turn a lot of the passengers against her. I’d been at the bus station from about 11ish for the 11:55 bus, mainly because I was sharing a taxi with Mary and she was on the slightly earlier bus. So when I said goodbye to Mary, I ambled round to the stand our bus was leaving from. Jordanne joined a little bit later and we chatted until we noticed a queue forming so we went and joined it. This woman then decided she was fed up standing in the crowd towards the back of the queue and suddenly pushed in front of us and a few others. We rolled our eyes and continued chatting, until we were aware of her arguing with a man she’d pushed in front of. It actually got kind of aggressive and in the end, the man she had pushed in front of managed to get on before her! Served her right…

After about 2am, Jordanne and I decided it was time to try and sleep. We actually managed quite well! Until we got to Manchester. Some people were leaving us, others were joining, and there was a scheduled 10 minute stop. Before we were told we could get off for a smoke stop etc, we had to sit there and listen to the annoying woman trying to tell this man where to sit. Literally. She wouldn’t leave him alone, telling him to move to a specific seat, and then getting really annoyed when he wouldn’t do as she said. By this stage, both Jordanne and I needed the toilet, however the toilet on the bus was ridiculous. According to her anyway, I personally didn’t even try it! It seemed no one knew how to flush, there was no toilet roll, and it just stank. So to arrive in Manchester and discover that the toilets there were closed up, we were not happy. We piled back onto the bus and started trying to sleep. Only once again the woman was annoying a lot of people. This time, she was on the phone. Now you can deal with people talking quietly on the phone. But she was talking full volume, with her phone on loud speaker. No. Just no. We were so close to saying something to her.

Eventually we dozed off. After about an hour, I was awake again and happily playing about on my phone. The driver announced he was pulling over to change drivers as he had been driving for 12 consecutive hours and his shift was over, and invited people to take the opportunity to stretch their legs or have a quick smoke. Jordanne was still asleep, and I was happy just sitting there, when next thing that annoying woman was storming to the front of the bus and some woman sitting near me whispered, ‘She’s an absolute nutter.’. The annoying woman was down, outside the bus, yelling at people and telling them to get back on the bus as she was tired, she’d been travelling from Scotland, and she just wanted to get to London. She herded everyone back onto the bus, whether they wanted to be on or not, and then got on herself still yelling and giving off. Woke up the entire bus because she was tired! Then proceeded to make another phone call on speaker phone.

Arriving in London was brilliant. We passed Regents Park and Hyde Park on our way to the station, and then finally pulled into Victoria Coach Station. To give Megabus credit, we did get there an hour earlier than scheduled! We set off on the hunt for toilets and coffee as neither of us were particularly hungry at this stage. Oyster cards were bought, and we successfully found ourselves on the right platform and then the right tube! Thank you again, Cesca, your directions were so so helpful! Unfortunately, we weren’t going to be allowed to check in until at least 1pm, so we left our bigger bags at the hotel and went on an adventure, looking around us at the shops, and stopping for lunch. At 1, we got checked in to our room and finally could get freshened up. It took us until about 3 to meet with Becca and Cathy but when we got together, the 4 of us set off to Winter Wonderland!

The first thing we did there was the big wheel. Well, I say that’s what we did first, we ended up walking in circles to find the way in only to realise we’d been walking past it each time. Now, I will be honest with you. I would rather go on the Tower of Terror in Disneyland Paris again over going back on that big wheel! The doors didn’t fully close, and there were gaps everywhere. It was raining and cold and windy, so of course the cars were rocking in the wind. I don’t do heights. What was I thinking going on this thing?? To be honest, it was fine when we reached the top and I could look around, although I did end up singing along to Mamma Mia in an attempt to keep myself calm! We got back to the ground and headed off in the direction of rides. Queues were massive, and the rain was really beginning to annoy me. We walked for ages to try and get dinner, and I ended up having my first ever Nando’s! Not sure if I was just starving, or if it really was as incredible as it felt, but either way – I can thoroughly recommend the medium spiced grilled chicken wrap! Afterwards, we bought some wine and headed to the hotel for a few drinks in our room and a game of Ring of Fire while Becca drank tea. It was a great night! After midnight, we crashed into bed and it felt amazing to be in a bed after the bus the night before!

Waking up on Sunday was difficult. So much so, we almost missed our midday check out time! But it was all good, and we headed to the underground so we could start our day again. Only a slight hiccup – Jordanne’s Oyster card hadn’t been working properly and she ended up losing over £10 because of it! We used the bag drop at Victoria (which cost £12.50 per item and not the £5 they advertised online) so that we weren’t shopping with our luggage. After a quick brunch in the station, we headed to Oxford Street and Lush! Now trust me. I know a lot of people are obsessed with Lush, and yes it could be considered expensive, but this was like walking into heaven on earth! Except for the number of people. But I didn’t know Lush did hair products as well as bath stuff! Let’s just say my bank account wasn’t too happy when we left…

I also very nearly finally got my tattoo! Well, we walked past a small place and Jordanne decided to get a piercing done, so I asked if they had any walk in availability but unfortunately they didn’t. Thank goodness they didn’t – Jordanne’s simple piercing (top of her ear, don’t ask me what the correct terminology is) cost her £40 as opposed to the £15 it would’ve been here in Glasgow!

The rest of the day was spent browsing a few shops and just generally having a great time! After a nice dinner and a coffee from Costa, we headed to the bus station. Our bus back was so much more comfortable than the bus there! We both got a sleep, and arrived back in Glasgow about 6:30am. I, of course, headed home and collapsed straight into bed for a nap before getting revision done.

London was an amazing experience, and I genuinely couldn’t imagine having a better time with anyone else! It’s actually quite weird not looking up from sending a quick tweet and seeing Jordanne opposite!

Have any of you been to Winter Wonderland? What did you think?

Ktkinnes xxx

Links to the girls:-

Jordanne

Blog – http://www.thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ofaglasgowgirl

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Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Quotes for Christmas!

 

Well that’s been a fun couple of days in London and I’m now curled up in bed getting some more revision done for these exams. Considering I’m the only one in the flat with exams this semester. Well, Jason has tests to do but they don’t count for anything.
London was incredible! And now that we’re on the 12th day of Blogmas, I’ve finished opening my Tanya Burr Beauty Advent Calendar! Would you be interested in a post about what is in it? Let me know below or tweet me! Today’s song on the Christmas Countdown is Driving Home For Christmas. While I’m not heading home for Christmas just yet, this always is on my playlist for travelling home at this time of year.

 

Now for today’s blogmas post (day 12) I wanted to share my favourite Christmas quotes with you! Last year I wrote these down and put them in my refillable advent calendar with a chocolate each day.

 

 

  • “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree” – Roy L. Smith

 

  • “Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling” – Edna Ferber

 

  • “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year” – Charles Dickens

 

  • “Christmas is the day that holds all time together” – Alexander Smith

 

  • “Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” – Dale Evans Rogers

 

  • “Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little more!” – Dr Seuss

 

  • “Christmas is not as much about opening out presents as opening out hearts” – Janice Maeditere

 

  • “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white'” – Bill Crosby

 

  • “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” – Andy Rooney

 

  • “Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold

 

  • “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale

 

  • “Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.” – Harlan Miller

 

  • “Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” – Augusta E. Rundel

 

  • “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles Schulz

 

  • “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” – Bob Hope

 

Hopefully some of these have caused you to smile, laugh or just think about the way we all view Christmas.

 

Hope you all have a lovely day! Do you have any favourites I haven’t included there?

 

Ktkinnes xxx

 

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Dear Santa

Hello my lovelies! Tonight I board the bus to London and I have never  been so excited for a road trip. In fact, the last time I did a road trip this long was back in 2009 when we drove from Belfast to some southern part of England for a family wedding. But we’re getting off topic. It’s yet another day closer to Christmas Day! And to celebrate, today’s song is 2000 Miles. Quite appropriate, is it not?  I mean, yes, the journey from my flat to where we’re staying in London is only 400 odd miles (of course I looked it up, why wouldn’t I?) but it’s still one heck of a long journey! Again, it’s not my favourite song but I am sticking with the list I found on the Independent’s website of the top 50 Christmas Songs as voted by the public – so take it up with those they interviewed if you don’t like it!

 

 

For Blogmas Day 9, I thought I would share my Christmas wishlist with you all today – my letter to Santa if you like. I remember years of getting excited for this part of Christmas. As soon as our birthdays were over, Rachel and I would rush for the Christmas edition of the Argos catalogue to go through it and see what we could ask Santa’s elves to make for us that year.

 

When we lived in Forfar (east coast of Scotland for the many of you who won’t know where that is), every year we went to the lights being turned on. It was a great night, and all the families went. We would have an early dinner, wrap up warm, and meet in the town centre with our Santa hats or reindeer antlers on. There would be lots of Christmas music and a parade, during which Santa would pass through and you could run up and give your letter to him or his elves in exchange for a chocolate bar! After that, Santa would go on stage and turn on all the magical lights, before promising to reply to us as soon as possible and reminding us all to be good girls and boys unless we wanted coal!

rachel-christmas
Rachel on Christmas Day 2015

We moved to Lisburn when I was 8, and yes I still believed in Santa at that age. I was heartbroken to discover Santa’s helpers wouldn’t take my Santa Letter! At this stage, Mum and Dad started to ask us to type up our letters to Santa and Dad taught us that when he was little, he had sent his letters up the chimney to Santa! I was apparently quick to point out that Mary Poppins might steal the letters and Mum told me that if the fire was lit when the letters to Santa were put in the fireplace then Mary Poppins would know to leave them for Santa. It all made sense to me! The next obstacle was to make sure my letter didn’t get mixed up with Rachel’s… you can imagine how awful that would be if Santa gave me her Babyborn stuff and she got my Gameboy!

 

As I’m sure you can imagine, we stopped writing our letters quite some time ago, however Mum does still ask for a list of ideas and then she’ll pick and choose from the list. This year, I have no big thing I’m asking for, and so I’ll either get more of my little suggestions or money, depending on how much she spends on Rachel.

theme-christmas-large

And so, just for old time’s sake, I wanted to write it as a letter to Santa. It’s fun! You should definitely do it too!

 

Dear Santa,

Firstly, how are you? It’s been so so long! In fact, I think the last time I wrote to you, we still had the desktop computer in the little room – boy has a lot changed since then! You see, I had the unfortunate experience of growing up. I know, I know, we all have to at some stage, but one thing no one ever warned me was that you could still be judged and laughed at for being excited for Christmas as an adult! I’ve really missed getting to enjoy and discuss the magic of Christmas with you. Speaking of, do you remember the year it was too snowy for you to land on our roof and so you landed on the driveway and the reindeer left their hoof prints? Rachel and I were so excited! How are Dasher, Dancer, Donner, Vixen, Cupid, Comet, Prancer, Blitzen and Rudolph? I’m still saving up those carrots Mum tries to feed me at dinner so I can give them to the reindeer!

I would like to hope that I have been good this year, I promise I tried my best! If you are in agreement, would it be okay to ask for a few things this year? The main things I would wish for can’t be made by your elves unfortunately, so I won’t bore you with them. If possible, I would like

  • A new electric toothbrush
  • Mark Hill shampoo and conditioner (yes, I still use these after all these years of you giving me them!)
  • Any book – you know me well enough to pick a good story!
  • Pyjamas – a girl can never have enough
  • Sock – same rule as above. These can be fluffy or normal.
  • Calendar
  • iTunes voucher – yes I’m still using these.
  • Bubble bath and bathbombs
  • Contact lenses – those things are expensive if you can only wear them for a few hours before having to bin them!
  • Cosy scarf
  • Outfit for Christmas Day or New Year
  • No7 Translucent Setting Powder

As always, these are just a few suggestions and you are more than welcome to pick and choose from them!

I really have missed our annual chats. The mince pie and coke will be on the coffee table by the door. Dad still suggests giving you a whiskey to keep you warm but you don’t want to be caught driving under the influence of alcohol!

 

I’ll always believe,

 

Katie B.

 

 

What are you asking for this year? Is there something you get every year? Let us know in the comments below!

 

16 more sleeps!!!

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Katie Tries Fashion

Well anyone who knows me even slightly will know that this post is more than slightly out of my comfort zone as I have awful fashion sense, and my idea of dressing up is a sparkly top with my slightly less see-through leggings and some heeled ankle boots that are in serious need of polishing. So you may be wondering why I decided to go with something like this. One answer – Christmas Jumpers!

 

As I’m sure you’re aware, we’re now onto day 7 of my Blogmas posts and with that some our 7th song in the countdown of Christmas Songs. Now, I would be lying if I said I prefer this original version compared to the Michael Bublé one but then again who doesn’t love his voice? Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) was first released by Darlene Love back in 1963 – that’s even before my mum was born!

 

 

The lyrics resonate with a lot of us at this time of year. Whether we’re the ones away, or our loved ones aren’t with us, there’s always someone somewhere waiting for that person to walk in through the door, throw their bags to the ground, and hold them in a bear hug. No, just me? Sorry, emotions showing again!

 

Anyway, this year I finally achieved the dream of having a new Christmas jumper to wear each day of the week and so I thought I’d show you them all! Now, as I’ve been gathering them for a few years, unfortunately I can’t guarantee that they’ll still be being sold in their respective shops. Also, please excuse the photography, I’m still so new to actually including pictures in my blog, and I really didn’t want to be in the pictures!

 

 

My newest jumper from Primark – it lights up!
My first ever Christmas jumper. From Next a few years ago
The best Christmas song, written on a tshirt, makes it a Christmas tshirt! Bought from Primark

A cute “”tis the season to be jolly” short sleeved top! From Next, 2015
Last year’s addition to the collection – and it sings! Bought from Primark last year
Best bought in the Boxing Day sales, this beauty cost me only £1.50 from M&S
Not a proper Christmas jumper but the penguins make it festive!

I have more at home but I forgot to bring them to Glasgow. 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Food, Lifestyle

Food Glorious Food

As we start Day 6 of Blogmas (that word still looks funny), I decided to share my Christmas Dinner with you all and how I prepared for it, cooked it, and just the general fun I had on Sunday. It was a magical day, and it really set the mood for Christmas Day! All that would’ve made it better is snow…

 

And yes, I just had to put in a bit of Michael Bulbé. While cooking, I found it very helpful to have some Christmas music playing, and a large glass of wine to hand! So without further delay, here we go:

 

Being paranoid about forgetting something, I started my shopping list back around the 14th of November. To do this, I found it best to sit and make a meal plan. The actual planning can be the slowest part for me as I have to think everything through fully to make sure it’s all gluten free for Nuala, no tomatoes for Jason, and not too creamy for me. I think Mary might actually be the easiest to feet out of the 4 of us… that’s a strange thought… Anyway, I’m getting distracted! To plan my meal, I wrote it out as if we were are a restaurant. That way, I could go through and see exactly what I was cooking. The next step for me was to write out the individual shopping lists for each course, before finally combining the lists into the ultimate food shop, remembering to omit the things I already have in the flat. All this can be seen below.

 

Menu and shopping lists
Now, I like to use Tesco Delivery, but you’re free to go shopping or try a different supermarket, but if you were to use Tesco to buy all these items as I did, You could expect to spend about £72 to feed four people with plenty of left overs. This would work out at roughly £18 per person for a 4 course meal plus whatever’s left over.

 

Once again, I found myself at the planning stages. Yes, I had all my food on its way, I had fully planned the food, but the next step is to figure out timings. This is crucial when it comes to cooking a dinner of this style and size. I like to work backwards in this situation ie figure out out what time you would like to be sitting down to each course, and subtract times from then to figure out when each thing should be done. It also helps, especially when in a student flat, to figure out which dishes will be needed for each course, however I won’t bore you with that side of my planning. Just know that it took me a good three hours to figure it all out, especially tying to work out how on earth I managed to fit them all in the oven last year!

 

Now, as you can see from the schedule attached here – christmas-cooking-schedule, for a dinner on Sunday I started preparation on Friday. This may seem a little stupid to you but the terrine I decided to make as a starter was actually a 3 day thing. If you’d like to follow my schedule, feel free. However, below I have included the 4 courses, their required ingredients, and how to make them. Hope you enjoy!

 

Starter – Pork Terrine

Ingredients:

  • 200g skinless duck breast
  • 200g skinless chicken breast
  • 150g pork loin fillet
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 250g thin rindless streaky bacon
  • 1kg sausage meat*
  • 150ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp tarragon
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • butter
  • salt and pepper to season

Method:

  1. Mix the duck, chicken, pork, garlic, brandy, 2 tbsp thyme, oil and pepper in a large bowl. Cover this and leave it to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
  2. Drain the meats and cut them into small chunks before browning them on the stove. Season, and then leave to cool.
  3. Grease a loaf tin (roughly 1 litre in size), and arrange the bacon on the base and sides – double layering the base, and leaving enough over the sides to fold over the top.
  4. Soften your sausage meat with cream and the rest of the herbs before mixing in the now cold meat. Scoop this into the loaf tin, pressing down well, before covering with more bacon over the top.
  5. Heat your oven to 180C (for a fan oven) and double wrap the top of the terrine in foil. Place the loaf tin in a large deep-sided roasting pan and pour boiling water up to half way.
  6. Bake for one hour before removing from the oven and leaving to cool. Place this in the fridge overnight.
  7. Place the tin in a pan of just boiled water in order to soften the bacon. Once softened, you should find it easy to remove the tin from the terrine.
  8. Slice and serve with salad.

 

 

The next part is the fun part. Ever watched your parents stress on Christmas Day and wonder why? It’s because there are so many elements to the main course and half the time they aren’t even eaten! Here’s how I prepared the main course:

 

Turkey:-

Ingredients:

  • 1 turkey crown (most come with it written on the side how many it serves)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chicken stock

 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Our oven is a little strange with temperatures so I always adjust the temperature to match the oven. Only you know your oven so go with your gut instinct!
  2. Mix, in a small bowl, your maple syrup, orange juice and thyme. This is your glaze.
  3. Put your turkey crown in a roasting tray – piece of advice, a disposable one is perfect for this and you’ll appreciate it when it’s time to do the dishes. Generously brush the skin with the glaze. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour chicken stock into the roasting tin around the turkey up to a depth of around 2cm (roughly 500ml). Again, depending on the people you’re cooking for, you might want to check your stock cubes to see if they contain gluten!
  5. Calculate your cooking time. Allow 20 minutes per kg plus an extra 70 minutes. Of course, a lot of the turkey crowns now come with this already calculated and written on the packaging so check there to save yourself any calculations!
  6. Place your turkey tin in the oven and remember to re-glaze every 20 minutes or so. As you can see, I’ll be setting timers for everything!
  7. When time is up, remove your turkey from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. To check your turkey is cooked through, check the juices are running clear.

 

Roast Potatoes – Now this is one that you can easily cheat – buy a pack of ready made and shove them in the oven! However, as a family we always have homemade roasties on Christmas Day. And with Nuala being unable to eat the ready made ones, I get the fun of making my own!

Ingredients:

  • approx 650-700g potatoes. Maris Piper work best in my opinion
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp flour (gluten free in my case)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (notice that here’s your first problem – two different temperatures for things that need to be done at the same time!) and peel and half your potatoes. For larger potatoes, you may wish to quarter them.
  2. Put your empty (yes empty) roasting tray in the oven to preheat.
  3. Parboil your potatoes for 8-10 minutes on the hob in a large pot of boiling water.
  4. Drain your potatoes and dry them, before tossing them in the mix of flour, oregano, turmeric and salt and pepper.
  5. Pour your oil into the hot tray and stick it back in the oven for 5 minutes. Allow your potatoes to sit out in the open during this time as it helps crisp them slightly.
  6. Add your potatoes to the oil and toss them so they’re fully coated in the oil. Roast for approximately 40 minutes, remembering to turn them half way, and take them out when golden and crispy.

 

Mashed Potato – Again, this is something you can cheat by buying the ready made stuff. Alternatively, you can make your own in advance and then shove it in the microwave for 10 minutes before serving!

Ingredients:

  • 900g potatoes (can use the same ones as above!)
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

  1. Peel and cut your potatoes, same as in the roast potato section.
  2. Pop them in a pot and pour in enough water to cover them.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat so it’s simmering until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes) and drain.
  4. Return the potatoes to the pot and add your milk and butter.
  5. Using either a masher or an electric beater, mash the mix until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Carrots and Parsnips – Now, at home we tend to have this mashed and so it’s cooked the exact same way as the mashed potato recipe above (without the milk and with extra butter) however as a flat, we prefer the roasted vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 250g carrots
  • 250g parsnips
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Method:

  1. Peel your vegetables and preheat your oven to 220°C. As with the roast potatoes, put an empty tray into the oven to heat.
  2. Slice your vegetables into halves or quarters, so they are all a similar size.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the oil, honey and mustard. Add your vegetables and toss thoroughly to evenly coat the pieces.
  4. Place them on the hot tray and roast for around 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Note: I tend to cheat for this and instead, I only mix the mustard and the honey, before adding the vegetables to the same tray as the potatoes! Saves on dishes, and means I save a little oil!

 

Brussel Sprouts – the bane of all Christmas dinners. Who actually enjoys these? And yet I couldn’t count it as a Christmas dinner without these! So here’s how I make them slightly more tolerable.

Ingredients:

  • 15 sprouts halved length-wise
  • 1 and a half tbsp butter
  • 1 and a half tbsp oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in the oil in a pan over a medium-high heat.This is where I miss my gas hob at home! Do this until the butter is ‘foamy’
  2. Reduce the heat a little before adding the garlic. Cook this until it is lightly browned and then take it out and bin it (yes really)
  3. Add sprouts cut-side down, cover and cook without stirring on a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Serve them up!

 

For the GravyPigs in blankets and Stuffing I would recommend just buying ready made or powers that you just add water to for the gravy and stuffing. It saves a lot of time and hassle! Follow the instructions on the packaging and keep quiet when people compliment your skills on these three things!

 

Dessert – Chocolate Mousse

The penultimate course! Our flat is filled with a strange mix. Nuala can’t eat anything glutenous, Jason tends to like most things but can be quite straight when telling you his opinion on something, Mary isn’t a fan of mixing sweet and savoury, none of the three of them like Christmas pudding, and I really am not a fan of cream. So we’re a bad bunch to make dessert for! This is why I settled on a nice mousse.

 

Ingredients:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100ml whipping cream

Method:

  1. Grate 50g of the chocolate and set it to one side.
  2. Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl before stirring in your alcohol if you are using it.
  3. Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks.
  4. Spoon in half the sugar, whisk into stiff peaks again, add the rest of the sugar and whisk again.
  5. Whip your cream in a separate bowl.
  6. Fold your melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mix. Once fully folded in, fold in the cream and two thirds of the grated chocolate.
  7. Spoon the final mixture into individual cups and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
  8. Serve with the remaining grated chocolate sprinkled on top, and if you’re feeling fancy add a strawberry or some raspberries!

 

And finally – Citrus Crush.

This has become a traditional pudding that I make. Actually, while writing this post I’ve just realised that I need to find new dishes to serve the mousse in as I had planned on using the dishes I use for citrus crush! Whoops… Anyway, this is a recipe for what can only be described as something somewhere between a sorbet and a slushy but it is so so tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 2 grapefruits (halved)
  • 4 oranges (halved)
  • 2 limes (halved)

Method:

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a pot on the hob. Remove the sugary water from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Juice the fruit and sieve the juice into the now cooled sugar water.
  3. Pour this into a container, roughly pour in 2-3cm in depth but I find this doesn’t overly matter.
  4. Freeze this for 2 hours. Remove, and ‘fluff’ (I mash) it with a fork.
  5. Return it to the freezer and now fluff every half hour between now and serving. I tend to forget so I don’t think it overly matters but just as long as you give it a chance to fully freeze. Mash it before serving though!

 

 

And that brings us to the end of a very long Christmas Dinner Recipe! I hope you find it useful, and if you do decide to try making it let me know how it goes!

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​Ktkinnes xx