Good things

This will be my last Good things post in this format. I will change it for next year, more about it in the Blogging Goals for next year. As it’s my last good things post I will make a list of good things that happened this year and more recently.

1. Christmas Fruit Cake and chocolate. Of course I had to mention them on the list after Christmas. I already talked about the menu, but these two deserve a special mention.

2. Maintaining my weight during the holidays. Despite my no1 good thing, I didn’t put any weight on. I’m obviously delighted with that.

3. Stand mixer. I got it on offer and I can say I love it. Since I bought it I stopped buying bread as it helps me with the kneading and in 10 minutes the dough is left to rise. Using easy-bake means that I don’t need a second proving, so the bread goes straight into the oven in 1 hour or even less. I made a cake too and it’s fab. I can’t wait to use it more and I will make a review about it next year, I’m very very happy with it.

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4. Feeding wild animals at the Safari Zoo. I fed a camel, reindeer and a giraffe. I was so excited about it, it was amazing. My husband made a friend at the Zoo, if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen the picture. It was a very strange thing to happen, the parrot climbed on his shoulder and stood there. At first my husband hurried me to take a photo until she will fly away. Not only that it didn’t fly away but 10-15 minutes later we were wondering what will we do with the parrot since she didn’t want to leave. She didn’t let me get her and was moving from a shoulder to the other so she can stay there. My husband fed her with seeds and pieces of fruits left for other parrots and he walked with her on his shoulder. It was lovely and everybody who saw that had a little parrot-envy. That is a really beautiful memory to have.
More pictures at the end of the post, if you fancy seeing more.

5. Buying the caravan. From May to this month we’ve made at least a trip every month. I love caravanning and luckily my husband likes it too and this is why we went so often in holiday or weekends away. This month we didn’t, but there will be plenty of more opportunities next year.

6. New cosmetics. This month I’ve tried a couple of the samples&products I got in goodie bags or I bought. It’s nice to try them, even though not all are exactly what I was looking for. Some are great and I might blog about them next year.

7. Doing the soup/smoothie challenge after all these months. I started in June and continued to do it. I hope I can continue for more than that. It’s such a great way to add some more veggies in my diet.

8. Festus and how he picks up the food he wants. My husband or I place a few pouches of food or treats in front of Festus and he will push the one he would like to eat. He is so sweet when he does that, I will film him.

9. Playing games at home. I love playing games and we had a lot of games this year, while camping or at home. It’s a fab alternative to watching movies from time to time.

10. Having an amazing birthday. I blogged about it and it was the best birthday I ever had.

Happy New Year!!

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I mentioned my husband enchanted the parrot. It started with the parrot going up his arm, then they walked around the enclosure. My husband fed the parrot some nibbles from their food station. It was so cute.

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Christmas 2016

We had a beautiful Christmas, with lots of wonderful gifts, delicious food and a lot of fun.

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At the beginning Festus was much more interested in us and in the gifts under the tree than posing for pictures. This year we got matching Christmas jumpers! Basically we found one we both loved, in the men’s department and I got an XS.

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But we managed to convince him to give the proper attention to the camera with a little trick: a carrot on top of the camera. Having our picture taken, we could open the gifts.

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My husband got this beautiful handbag for me. I love it and I can’t wait to wear it.

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If you are wondering how a food blogger reacts when she receives matching Victoria Sandwich tins. I had no idea my husband will get me in the frame, I only saw it when I looked at the pictures after that. I might have mentioned a couple of times (more like 4-5) that I think it’s a good idea to bake a sponge… that day.

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I also got, among other things, this fondant extruder. It will be so helpful when I’ll decorate my biscuits and cakes with fondant. I can’t wait to use it.

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From Secret Santa I got these beautiful gifts. I’m sure I will love the dark chocolate with blueberries as I love dark chocolate and blueberries, and the candle smells beautiful.

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I also got these storage baskets for fruit and veg. I just love them! I was thinking I should change my old basket as that one is a little bit tacky. I can’t imagine a better way to keep the veggies I get from farm shops. I can’t emphasize how happy I am with them.

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Another present from another Secret Santa. Lots of goodies in it. I made the hot chocolate at Christmas and I had the studs on. The shower cream smells beautiful.

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Festus got a few gifts too, obviously. Pop in his blog if you want to see more details.

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This is one of the gifts I got for my husband. A game with Houdini. He has to figure out how to free Houdini from the restrains. It is a really fun game and it has 40 challenges.

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I can’t talk about Christmas without talking about food, can I? I talked in details on CookStyle, as I made lots of things, from water biscuits for the cheese plate to Fruit cake. My husband and I did the chocolate train together with more than 1 kg of chocolate, so do have a nosy.

How was your Christmas? Did you get what you hoped for?

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!! I hope you will have an amazing Christmas, filled with joy, delicious food, nice gifts, lovely weather and, if you fancy, some cocktails too.

If you are not celebrating Christmas, I hope you have fun and a few relaxing days before the NYE.

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Thank you so much for reading my blog. You, my readers, make my diary a little bit more special. Happy Holidays!

My 2016

This year was amazing, so many wonderful things happened. A lot of not-so-pleasant things happened too, but I rarely mention them on my blog as I don’t want to take the time to write about the negatives, it’s enough I’m thinking of them from time to time (more often that I should). I usually make collages of pictures and last year I’ve made a collage each month. So, I’ll do that again. It was fun.
From May to November we’ve been away with the caravan every month, twice in October. We’ve planned to go again in December, but had to cancel in the last minute because something came up.

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January was a busy month with work, so we didn’t get the chance to explore as we usually do. I’ve started my farm-of-the-month series, I cooked interesting things like baked houmous and backlava. I also received that beautiful vegan-leather jacket from my husband.
I blogged about The Best Thing About Being Vegetarian (food, of course). I was asked to review Jamie’s Italian and it was lovely. Beside this, my life consisted in work, work and… well, work.

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February is another very busy month. We’ve been to London and to Birmingham. In London we went to Shoreditch after finishing the work commitments. That month I made a review of the Bed Head shampoo and conditioner, received as a gift from Secret Santa. I’ve been using it for almost 1 year and I love it. It’s the best shampoo I had, can’t be happier. I did try another shampoo this year, but I was so disappointed with it, that I stopped using it. Now I’m using Bed Head for coloured hair and it’s just fab. It’s a shame I can’t tell my Secret Santa how amazing the shampoo was for my hair, I hope she is reading my blog and sees this.
I made a fashion posts about work outfits and I admired the beautiful deer at Charlecote Park. I also made up a 5 min workout that is quite basic, only push-ups, but it’s so efficient.

Continue reading My 2016

Courtesy car

In late October, after a work-related trip, my husband and I were heading back home. On a narrow road in a village, the lorry in front of us knocked down a branch. My husband is an amazing driver, he managed to stop the car safely. We had no damage from the branch. But the lady in the car following us didn’t manage to stop the car and hit us in the back. Our car had the bumper damaged, her car had the number plate shattered and I think the front bumper was damaged too. On top, I had a headache a week or so due to whiplash, mostly because I had my hair in a ponytail that had a metallic cover. After the accident she left saying she is not calling the police, just after she tried to blame the lorry driver and the tree for causing the accident. My husband called the police, they did investigate and they told us the name of the driver. The insurance company said they will repair the car and that our no-claim bonus will not be affected as they will get all their money back from the company that insured the lady. It’s quite a long story, but I had to put the courtesy car into perspective. Our car is at the moment at the repair shop and this week we should be able to get it back.

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Our insurance also covers having a courtesy car. The first company we were supposed to talk to gave us a quote and a document. In the document it was mentioned that if they don’t get their money back from the insurance company or the lady, than we have to pay for the car. Despite their reassurances during phone calls, that was mentioned in the document, so we’ve declined the offer. Should I even mention that the quote was for ~£115 a day? If you are in an accident and you are offered a courtesy car, make sure to read all the small print and you are happy with the terms.
Well, another company offered us this Vauxhall Corsa, without all the paperwork and no hassle. Can’t be happier.

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This is our car, parked in Cambridge. As you can see it’s a little bigger than the Corsa; hubby had to fold in the mirror to get it into the parking spot.

We needed the car, so I’m glad we had the Corsa. Also, it is a really lovely opportunity to try a small car. Until now, all the cars we owned were big, saloon and the one we have at the moment is an estate. Even when we’ve rented a car, we had another saloon and, more recently, a van to transport our old sofa.

Continue reading Courtesy car

Blogging Goals for 2016 – How I did

This year was the first time I’ve set up blogging goals. I manage to do pretty much all of them, with a single exception. I enjoyed this so much that I will set up new goals for next year. I will most likely post them at the beginning of next year.

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1. Farm of the month. DONE! I am a big believer in buying things made local as much as it’s possible. I wanted to visit farms, but kept postponing it. Now I’m thinking of going to farms and I went more than the 12 times I’ve intended too in the first place. I also went to farms in Scotland and London, I went to mills, I picked my own fruits and pumpkins and I got to feed peacocks. So it is a really nice thing to do. For me it was a success. If I find a new and interesting farm shop or for next year’s pick your own I’ll blog about it.
The farms I’ve visited this year were: Yew Tree Farm, Windy Arbour Farm, Church View Farm, Lydiate Hall Farm, Stainsby Mill, Diglake Farm Shop, Claremont farm, Vineyard Farm Shop, Kelsey Farm Shop, London, Kenyon Hall Farm, Hopetoun Farm Shop and Inglenook Farm. To some of them I’ve been twice and I will go again next year.
I will do something similar next year (although not as healthy), I’m quite excited about it. Make sure you’ll read the post about the goals for next year to see what I’m thinking of.

2. #WIAW. NOPE. I did a few, but I can’t be bothered to take pictures of everything I eat in one day.

3. Good things. DONE! It’s the 2nd year I’m doing Good things and it’s a series I enjoy. I will change it slightly next year.

4. Reviews. DONE! I wanted to write a review each month and I did even more than that. I reviewed restaurants, boots, dog toy (that one is amazing, I think it worth every penny spent on it), games, cafe, subscription boxes and many more. These are the reviews I did this year: Jamie’s Italian, Bed Head, Kiqplan fitness app, Black Dog Ballroom, Pen and Pencil, Handmade vase by Rose Dickinson, Real Handful snacks, Handmade candle from Beyond Candles, Escape room Manchester, Goughnuts, Pink Parcel, Pawsome box, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, Bygones Tea Room, Timeline and Timeline British History, Hi Gear Kinder WP Walking Boots, DreamWorks Lights Lantern Experience, Vegan menu at Vapiano. 20 in total and I enjoyed writing them. I think I will continue to write at least a review each month, so this might be on the Goals for next year too.

5. What’s cooking. DONE! I made monthly What’s Cooking updates or something a little bit different, like sharing an easy, fast and healthy way to make popcorn, recipes&ideas for cooking in the caravan, a guide How to prepare a fancy Afternoon tea at home, my story of Baking along the Great British Bake Off and 15 Recipes for Christmas.

6. Social media. DONE! I think I was more active, but I’m not as active as I should. I can do more.

7. Pinterest. Relatively done. I made a few pictures, but not as many as I wanted. I will put Pinterest on this list for next year too. Maybe then I will manage to pin more.

Did you set up goals for this year? How did you do?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I love Christmas. I have so many happy memories from my childhood regarding Christmas, the bakes, the tree, the gifts, us enjoying a wonderful time together. When I moved away from my childhood home I wanted to recreate this with my family and Christmas is important for us. Because we don’t have snow here and the temperatures are quite high for winter (today we’ll have around 10 degrees), I need something else to put me in the Christmas mood. I’ve joined 2 Secret Santa for bloggers and that was delightful. I got gifts I think my bloggers will love and I received gifts that now are sitting underneath the tree, gifts I can’t wait to open on Christmas day. I bought gifts and I sent a lot of cards and we’ve decorated the home together while listening to carols. Now I can say it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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We have the same tree from the last few years. I talked about my thoughts on the Christmas tree last month. We also have the same baubles and white lights. I like them too much to change them. We both want to keep the tree as minimalist decorated as possible, so we don’t get new baubles every year.

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This year I got this Merry Christmas sign from a discount shop. I can’t remember which one, as I looked at the Christmas range from a few shops. It’s easy to get it onto the wall. I placed it too high and, after moving it, there wasn’t any marks on the wall. I’m really happy with it. I think I can use it next year too, depends on how well the glue on its back will be.

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I like how it looks in the evening too.

Continue reading It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas