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My little word for 2015

I've spent the last year keeping the word 'Move' in my thoughts. It's proved useful in some ways. We've moved house, and I've tried to move a bit more in the physical sense and i've tried my hardest to move on from some people (and things) in my life, but I think it's time for a new word. 

So for 2015 i'll be working towards 'Make' as my word to keep in mind! 
I want to make more things - at least one, decent, usable, actual thing a month. we really need to do some Making for this house for it to become a home. I want to make more of an effort - with my appearance and with some relationships. I also want to make more friends. And more memories - by doing actual fun things rather than just thinking that one day we should get round to stuff. 

So that's that - in 2015 I'll be concentrating on the word 'Make' and everything it can bring to my life!  

Be right back!

I keep coming back here and not knowing what to write. Right now my brain is full of ideas but blank of all words - in essence I'm a bit short on blogging mojo right now. 

I guess it's not the worst thing it the world to take a little break in December but I had all these plans for gift guides, diys, fun festive posts with Flash and December Daily updates - then my computer died taking with it the drafts and psd's I was working on for said posts - and my motivation! 

I'll be back - I know I will - I enjoy it here and my head is teeming with ideas - it's just when I sit down to write right now they don't come out. I blame the dead computer (because blogging from your phone (or Kindle) is a pain in the ass!) but maybe I just need a few weeks off from feeling guilty about not blogging (please tell me other people feel this too!). 

So I'll be back sometime before the end of the year with my word for 2015 and hopefully some renewed brain power and fingers crossed a working laptop!

Have a wonderful Christmas! 


A November round-up and some December goals

November was a busy (read - expensive) month. Jim was away in India again in October and a bit of November and usually when he's away I take time to chill but somehow I filled it with more stuff than I thought I had, but had a great time. November saw me throwing a Crafternoon where we made some christmas decorations, Flash and I had loads of lovely cuddles whilst it was just the two of us, I picked up the awesome drawing Lianne Mellor did of the pup, Toni and I had a lovely afternoon photowalk, I went the Home is in Manchester, Jim came home and we went to see The Gaslight Anthem and very randomly, Lady Gaga, and then the three of us had a lot of muddy woodland walks, quite a few meals out and started eating stollen like it was going out of fashion! 

Now, for Decembers goals; 


Festive DIY - Hot Chocolate Stirers

One of my favourite things to make for gifts at Christmas is hot chocolate on sticks. They are so simple to do, but are such a great gift to give because everyone loves hot chocolate don't they! 

I've written about making these before but since then I've found a much better recipe that gives a richer, creamier and just generally nicer hot chocolate. I usually just make milk/dark chocolate stirers but this year I thought I'd mix it up a bit and make some white chocolate ones. 

What you'll need;
  • 600 grams of chocolate - I used 350g of white and 300g of  a mix of dark and milk chocolate. If you're using white chocolate you'll need a bit more of it to make the mixture really thick! And you could also just use 600g of one type of chocolate. 
  • 120ml double cream
  • 397g tin of condensed milk (this is just the standard sized tin which makes it easy!)
  • Ice cube tray or brownie pan (I used this Wilton one and an ice cube tray as it makes slightly more than the brownie pan)
  • Lollipop sticks or mini spoons. 

What to do;

As I made white and milk/dark chocolate stirers, I halved the ingredients and did it in two pans - But if you're doing just one flavour don't split it.
  1. Half the cream and the condensed milk and add them into a saucepans. In each saucepan mix equal amounts of the milk and cream and whisk them together.
  2. Heat the cream and condensed milk over a low flame until it simmers. Don't let it boil and mix it regularly so that it doesn't burn to the pan.
    • I added the vanilla seeds from 3 vanilla pods to the pan the white chocolate mixture was going in because I love white chocolate Magnums and I thought it might be a little like that! 
  3. Whilst the milk mixture is heating, break your chocolate into little pieces - if you're using different types of chocolate make sure to separate them. 
  4. When the liquid is simmering take it of the heat. 
  5. Add the chocolate bit by bit to the saucepan(s) and mix in until it's all melted. It'll start getting quite thick as you add more chocolate. 
  6. When all the chocolate has melted spoon it into the brownie pan so each section is full to the top. 
  7. If you're going to embellish them, now is the time. I added a mix of white, dark and milk chocolate swirls to mine but you could stick mini marshmallows maybe, or peppermint sweets crushed up - anything you want maybe?
  8. Pop the tray in the fridge for about half an hour to allow the mixture to set a little before adding the spoons. If you add them too early you'll spend the next hour on spoon watch - I know this from personal experience! 
  9. Your stirers should be set after a couple of hours, and if you're not giving them as gifts right away keep them in the fridge, or the freezer to keep them fresh due to the cream content! They'll keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. 
To serve; 
  • Add one spoon to a cup of hot milk and stir until the whole block has dissolved. Serve with whipped cream and marshmallows for the full hot chocolate experience. (Or eat straight off the spoon as I caught Jim doing the other day! He claims he just needed a chocolate fix!)
As you can see the vanilla seeds in the white hot chocolate are really visible and they add something extra that balances out the crazy sweetness that white chocolate tends to have and is really lovely. And the milk and dark chocolate stirers, well they are delicious but isn't hot chocolate always! 

You can see more festive DIY posts on the Cotton Traders Christmas Advent Calendar

Gift Guide - For the dog lover in your life

So recently my friend told me she never had me pegged as a crazy dog lady, but that she thought it suited me so I figured lets go the whole hog and kick off my gift guides by focusing on the most important member of the household! 

I must admit I love shopping for Flash and even though, if I'm honest with myself he really doesn't get what Christmas is besides the time of year we bring a REALLY big stick in the house, it's fun to get him a few gifts for the big day! 

1. The Foobler dog toy I really really wish I'd found out about these things when they were on Kickstarter because try as I might I cannot get one in the UK, but a toy that dispenses treats throughout the day would be magic for any pooch! 2. I am a little in love with these Pugs might Fly tree ornaments. Whist at £29.99 for 4 they're out of my price range this year, one day they will live on our tree! 3. I just adore the prints that Fuzzyard have on their dog beds and I am pretty sure most self respecting pooches will too! 4. Billy and Margot puppy cracker for dog - who says humans have to have all the dinner table cracker fun! These have a hat and a joke too! 5. As the owner of a dog with an Instagram account (don't hate me!) this plush Dogsta toy seems very apt! 6. The perfect Dog Hamper for any dog lover (although maybe I'm just a bit in love with the bone shaped basket!)