Christmas Photo Diary

by - 17:30

My first two weeks of December were filled with uni deadlines, long shifts at Starbucks and some surprisingly successful Christmas shopping trips; I didn't get a chance to blog last week as my final crit at uni before Christmas was on Tuesday morning at 9am (or rather it was supposed to start at 9am - my crit actually didn't take place until 5pm. The joys of London South Bank University.) so I was tied up trying to get everything looking professional and presentable.

However I haven't spent all my time slaving away at the computer: I have made sure to squeeze a few Christmas-related activities into my packed schedule so that Christmas day doesn't just roll around with me stood there like "What?! But I haven't done even half of all the festive things I had planned!" - a mistake that I made last year. As a child it's so easy to get excited for Christmas as there's so little else going on in your life that you can focus all your attention on the festive season. As adults there is often little room left after you count work, family, socialising, housework, dating and downtime into your schedule so sometimes you have to make an active decision to do something festive so that you don't feel as though you've missed Christmas!

Here are some of my favourite photos that I've taken over the first fortnight of the festive season - just looking at them makes me feel more Christmassy already!

The first weekend in December (though this was technically still November but we couldn't wait) and the living room was already looking very festive. 

 Brownie Hot Chocolate!
This recipe is really simple and relatively quick to make - it's also totally customisable depending on what your favourite hot chocolate flavours are. The key ingredients, however, are:
  • Good quality dark chocolate - about 40g per person
  • Whole milk (it's Christmas!) - 4/5ths of the mug you are going to be using 
  • Vanilla extract - 1/4 tsp per person
  • Cornflour - 1 tbsp per person
  • Whipped cream
  • Mini marshmallows
Optional extras include: 1 tbsp Horlicks p/p, 1 tsp cinnamon p/p, flavoured dark chocolate (such as orange or mint).

Method:
- Put chocolate in saucepan with a splash of milk and melt over a medium-high heat. Once the chocolate has melted and combined with the milk, gradually add the rest of the milk a couple of tablespoonfuls at a time, making sure that the chocolate melts fully before adding more. After about the sixth tablespoonful of milk, the mixture should become fairly consistent.
- At this point, add the vanilla extract, cornflour, any extra flavours and remaining milk and whisk it up so the mixture is completely smooth. Continue heating on a medium heat for a further five minutes. Pour mixture into mug(s) and top with marshmallows, whipped cream and more marshmallows. Enjoy!

 Lush Penguin Bath Melt
I have to say, I've never tried any of the Lush bath melts/bombs but this cute little penguin melt was definitely worth the hype! After crumbling his little body (sorry) under warm running water, the bath quickly becomes a bluish, creamy colour with soft bubbles along the top. The water also becomes incredibly silky with subtle scents of icing sugar, vanilla and a very fresh, soapy smell - delish! The melt turned the water into almost a full body conditioner and my skin and hair felt incredibly smooth and soft afterwards, though I did still find that I needed to moisturise. Overall, I would give this product an 8/10 as its luxury qualities were definitely felt but it was still relatively plain and simple in the effect it gave to the bath.
 
 One of my fave decorations on our tree: a little rag-doll pony.
 I love our Christmas tree this year: live firs are the best. If only it were more acceptable to have a decorated tree all year round....
I'm not a big fan of the spicy, cinnamon scents that are usually associated with this time of year, nor am I a fan of super sweet candles but this particular scent from Yankee Candle is actually one that I can get on board with! It isn't overpoweringly sweet but the scents of sugar and frosting are definitely present, along with a hint of vanilla and ginger nut. Candles and winter go together like a house on fire and this is a definite must for any Yankee Candle fan.

Millie getting into the festive spirit by dressing up as a reindeer!

I'm so glad that Christmas is a thing and everything that we have created and developed around it just adds to the overall feel-good atmosphere that is present throughout the whole month of December. I personally can't wait to do some outdoor ice skating, take a walk around London at night to see all the pretty lights and, of course, eat myself into a record-breaking food coma on Christmas day. 

I've managed to watch The Santa Clause and Frozen this weekend to start off my Christmas film marathon that I've been planning to count me down to the big day and I think it's safe to say that I'm feeling the festive goodness a lot more now.

I've finished uni for the Christmas holidays now but, surprise surprise, of my three weeks that I have off for Christmas, at least two and a half of them will have to be spent doing work for my course. I...I can't even talk about it because it's so depressing but I'm hoping that the various Christmas activities I've got planned will get me through.

Hope everyone's had a festive first two weeks of December and are starting to get into the Christmas spirit fully now!

Stay inspired!

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