Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014

Can you believe it's the last day of 2014 already?? For me, 2014 was a really odd year and one full of change. 2014 saw me finish my time at school and also finish dancing which had been a big part of my life since I was tiny. However, 2014 also allowed me to undertake a lot of new adventures like university and my first foreign holiday with just my friends. Although I maybe wouldn't say 2014 has been the best year ever it definitely did provide me with some of the best memories:

In June I headed to Mallorca with my best friends in the entire world. This was the first time I had been abroad without my parents which was super fun and made me feel super grown up.


The day we arrived home from Mallorca was the day of the Linlithgow Academy Leaver's Ball. This was, without a doubt, one of the best days of 2014. Although it marked the end of my school career, it was a day spent with all the best people and a day where I could get very dressed up (I LOVE getting very dressed up!)


2014 was the year I turned 18 which was by far the best birthday I've ever had. My family - my mum in particular -  pulled out all the stops and I was treated like an absolute princess which I still can't thank them enough for. 


My birthday present, which I am incredibly grateful for, was a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in America to see the Diagon Alley extension as I am a huge Potterhead. I got a two day pass to the park and over those two days - which were the best two days of my life -  I'm not proud to admit that I spent 27 hours in the  park (I'm kidding, I'm SUPER proud of that!!) 


This year was the year that I started university. Despite not being all that fond of university itself, uni has allowed me to meet some of the most amazing people ever which is something I'm very thankful for.


It also can't be forgotten that 2014 was the year I started blogging which I have to say I love and is 100% something that will carry on into 2015.

I'm definitely looking forward to the new challenges and adventures 2015 will bring and I hope you are too. I end the year being thoroughly grateful for all the amazing times 2014 brought and everything that this year has taught me. I wish all of you health and happiness in the year to come!

Happy New Year!

Lots of Love,

Heather x


P.s. I'd love to hear your 2014 highlights in the comments :)






Monday, 29 December 2014

Things I Love About Christmas

Christmas Day is without a doubt my favourite day of the year and this year was no exception. Although the 25th has been and gone I remain firmly in the Christmas spirit and will do until 2015! For my last Christmas themed post of 2014, I thought I'd share the things I love most about Christmas and some pictures from the day!

How cute are these strawberry Santa's my mum and I made?!
How happy everyone is
All the amazing food and leftovers for the days to come
Trying out all your lovely new gifts and finding space for them


Carols
The TV specials - Miranda was particularly excellent this year!
Spending the whole day with family


Christingle
Stockings 
Preparing for people to arrive


Presents (both giving and recieving ;))
When people love the presents you got them
Christmas songs playing all day - Fairytale of New York and Merry Xmas Everybody are my favourites


The whole family in Christmas jumpers
The sheer amount of chocolate (which is a totally viable breakfast option on Christmas day)
How acceptable it is to have three desserts after every meal for following week

Ava got into the festive spirit too!
What are your favourite things about Christmas?

Lots of love,

Heather x







Friday, 26 December 2014

London Lights

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope you all had an amazing day yesterday! I'm heading to my grandma's for Boxing Day today but I thought I'd share some very Christmassy pictures from my trip to London!

Lots of love,

Heather x



Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Gingerbread House

IT'S CHRISTMAS EVE!!!! The Christmas Snowball has been made and I am super excited! Having just got back from London last night, I spent today finishing off my first ever gingerbread house.

I adapted the BBC Good Food gingerbread house recipe but still used their templates which can be found here if you'd like to give it a go.


Ingredients:

600g Plain Flour
250g Salted Butter
200g Dark Muscovado Sugar
8 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
3 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
4 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

To Decorate:

Boiled Sweets
2 Egg Whites
500g Icing Sugar
Selection of sweets and chocolate

 1. Pre -heat oven to 180 degrees (Gas Mark 6). Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan on a medium heat.


2. Sieve flour in to a large bowl and stir in syrup mix to create a stiff dough.


3. Cut out templates and roll out dough on grease proof paper until roughly 2cm thick. Using a sharp knife and the templates, cut the dough until you have two back walls, two roof panels and two side walls. Any extra dough can be used to make trees, men and candy canes to decorate. Cut window shapes out of the front wall.


4. Place in oven and allow to bake. Whilst the gingerbread cooks, grind up a handful of boiled sweets. After the gingerbread has been in for around 10 minutes fill the window holes with ground sweets and return to oven until the sweets have melted to create 'glass' windows and gingerbread has browned at the edges.


5.  Mix egg whites and icing sugar in a bowl to create a thick icing.

6. Once the gingerbread is firm and cool use the icing to assemble the house. I found it was best to wait until the walls had dried solid before attempting to attach the roof! It also doesn't have to be too neat as any stray icing can be passed off as snow!

7. Once your master piece is secure use the remaining icing to attach sweets for decoration. I used white chocolate buttons to create snowy roof tiles and midget gems to make some fairy lights on the trees and the front of the house.

Tadah!!
I have to say, my gingerbread house is not the neatest or most beautiful thing I've ever made in the kitchen but I am super proud of it and rather impressed that it is still standing!

I'm so excited for everything that's to come tomorrow and I am really looking forward to heading to my grandma's on Boxing Day!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Lots of love,

Heather x

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Dinner at The Dome

Every year, just before Christmas, my family and I head into Edinburgh for a Christmas meal and a look at all the markets and lights. 


This year, we decided to go to The Dome on George Street giving me and my mum the perfect excuse to get very dressed up. The Dome is decorated with some of the best lights in Edinburgh which makes it look incredibly festive. The amazing lights also make the restaurant very popular, especially at Christmas which meant that despite booking quite far in advance, we couldn't get a table until 9.30pm.

Seen as me and and mum had our heels and dresses on, this year, we decided to go for cocktails at Harvey Nicholls instead of strolling around the markets in the cold. However, having my younger brother with us meant that we could only stay in the bar until 8pm so we settled for hot chocolates at The Chocolate Lounge instead. 


The hot chocolates were incredible! They were made with a mix of melted white and dark chocolate and topped with marshmallows and caramel to create a super indulgent treat - it is Christmas after all! As our table was booked so late, we decided we'd have our pudding before our main meal and ordered a chocolate fondue between us too. Chocolate heaven!


The inside of The Dome was even more spectacular than the outside with a massive tree perched on top of the bar and a stunning chandelier in the centre of the main entrance. As it was the last Friday before Christmas, a lot of people were out on their work's night out, this meant that the bar in particular was very busy but also meant that there was a fab atmosphere.


I went for honey and sesame salmon with sweet chili noodles and ginger broccoli. We all agreed the meal was delicious and left feeling very excited for Christmas.


 It was such a lovely evening from start to finish, spending time with my family is definitely one of my favourite things about Christmas.

Only 5 sleeps now!

Are you all ready for the big day?

Lots of love,

Heather x

Friday, 19 December 2014

Hopetoun Christmas Market

Six more sleeps!!!! I hope you're all as excited as I am!

Nothing gets me more excited for Christmas than Christmas markets. This year, Hopetoun House was home to the second Christmas market I visited.


Hopetoun House is a stunning stately home not too far away from where I live. Each year, Hopetoun House invites local businesses and craftsmen to set up stalls in the 18th century manor to create the Christmas market. Unlike a street market, you have to buy a ticket to enter but a proportion of the proceeds do go to charity.


The house was decorated with huge fir trees, fairy lights and more tinsel than you could ever imagine! There was a band playing Christmas carols as you weaved your way through the stalls and even a choir at the main entrance to welcome you in and ensure you were well into the Christmas spirit!


The market is always packed creating a wonderfully festive atmosphere although very different to that which makes street markets so special. Hopetoun House market is more based around gifts as opposed to food so there is not really an opportunity to nibble whilst you browse - although we did try a fair bit of shortbread! 


The market is spread across six different sections of the house so there was certainly plenty to look at. Stalls ranged from those specialising in scarves and decorations to candles and soaps to handmade soft toys. There was even an Indian cooking kit stall! It would be easy to sort all your Christmas shopping here although, given it's location, this market is relatively expensive so it tends to be 'little extras' that we pick up here!



On this occasion after buying various bath melts and soaps for my grandma, a mulled cider making kit for my mum and some festive decorations for the house I treated myself to a Sloe Gin candle. This candle not only smells incredible but the melted wax acts as a hand cream so it's particularly functional too! We also treated ourselves to some chocolate orange shortbread to munch on in the car home - it was very good! 

I'm very excited to be heading to London this weekend and I can't wait to see all the incredible Christmas markets there.

Have you ever been to this type of Christmas market?

Have a lovely weekend.

Lots of love,

Heather x