What I got for Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful day, celebrating with family and friends.

I walked to my family friends house halfway through the day and it was quite charming seeing how empty and quiet the streets were – everyone was inside relaxing and enjoying time together.

For Christmas I was so spoilt by family and friends, and although the presents were an awesome addition to the day, the best part was just talking and laughing with people close to me.

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Excuse all the presents strewn in the background, my family has a habit of becoming messy whilst chaotically opening each gift and thanking/chatting to the people we received them from.

From my parents my main gift was given in advance, because they paid for my flights to Asia in January, as I’m holidaying with a friend and paying for the rest of the trip myself.

However, they were a bit naughty and still gave me a present to open on Christmas day, which was a VS Sassoon hair curler, because I’ve been loving the 80’s corkscrew curls look lately.

From my extended family I was spoilt to a couple of make-up products including the NARS sheer glow concealer, the NAKED 3 palette, Laura Mercier Translucent setting powder and a beauty blender.

A friend who knows my addiction to tea, so gave me T2 Choc Chip Chai, T2 Madagascan Vanilla Tea, some Nepalese lemongrass tea from her travels in Nepal and a Morrocan mint tea.

I’ve just been loving the T2 Choc Chip Chai, it’s made with an array of spices (Black tea, cloves, star anise, ginger, cinnamon, orange blossom, gingko, flavouring, cardamon) to create a spicy chocolate flavour.

Other friends gave me LUSH bath bombs which I am going to treat myself to when the weather gets a bit cooler, a make-up bag from a small Sydney based boutique, a 2017 calendar made out of recycled paper and cute cupcake patty pans embellished with pink polka dots and gold lining.

As you can see I was so spoilt and I am so appreciative of all the gifts I’ve been given. I’m getting really excited for my trip to Asia and will take lots of photos and keep you updated.

Hope everyone is enjoying the festive season as much as I am!

xx

Girl’s Day Out

It was mum’s birthday last Friday and I wanted to make it super special this year, because over the past few years I have been really busy and stressed around this time and I felt I hadn’t really treated her properly for her birthday in a long time.

To make the day memorable, I planned it out well in advance. The morning began with a massage with a local masseuse which I booked a couple of days prior.

Mum really love experiences over more ‘stuff’ so I made sure I organised things that would be special memories.

After her massage I picked her up and we went to lunch at a French Restaurant (which has a string of great reviews and recommendations) called Le Bouchon.

The lunch was even better than I had anticipated, the restaurant is in a cosy hole in the wall setting, but has elegance and style with its walnut coloured wooden tables and gold plated decor. The authenticity of the French cuisine was enhanced as all the waiters were French and went above and beyond to ensure we had a pleasant dining experience. I ordered a Crispy Pork Belly in a crushed apple sauce, and Mum decided to be a bit more adventurous and got Sauteed Calves Liver with parsnip chips, which to my surprise was actually really tasty. We shared a glass of white House Wine as Mum isn’t a big drinker and enjoyed chatting for a couple of hours.

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After lunch, we set off to the shopping mall and I bought her a pair of black leather boots as she has been saying lately that her current pair are a bit worn down. Then we went to a nail salon and we got shellac manicures done together.

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For dinner I wanted to surprise Mum with a home-cooked meal.

I consulted a traditional English cookbook for recipes that are perfect for the drab and windy weather we have been having recently. For the entree I made corn scones with an avocado and soft cheese topping, garnished with capers and diced bacon.

For the main meal we had a chicken and leek hotpot with a chickpea and feta salad. Finally for dessert I challenged myself to make an apple pie.

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The whole meal actually went really well and Mum loved all of it, which surprised me because something always seems to go awry when I work in a kitchen with lots of things boiling and bubbling and timers constantly going off.

What would a birthday be without presents, as I mentioned earlier Mum isn’t a massive fan of ‘things’ and doesn’t like candles, homewares, perfumes or make up.

So, I opted in for a $50 gift card for Dymocks and I spent $100 on a voucher for a high tea for two at the Queen Victoria Building Tea Room.

Overall it was a very successful day and I had so much fun treating Mum!

xx

Calories don’t Count on Christmas! Mince Pies and Mulled Wine for Breakfast.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

After stuffing myself silly with turkey, ham, pumpkin, potato, feta salad, veggies, custard, mince pies and truffles, on Christmas Eve, I woke up this morning to a tree full of presents and a slightly-less eager family who just wanted to sleep in. 

Luckily I managed to get them out of bed by 9am – motivating them mainly with warm, fruit-mince tarts that I freshly baked. 

I woke up at 7am and got inspired from a recipe in my Mum’s old Donna Hay cookbook. 

I needed to prepare the filling, and combined the following in a bowl and set it aside in the fridge: 

  • 1cup Granny Smith Apples, finely chopped
  • Pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Dash of Brandy
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 3 tsp lemon rind
  • 50g butter melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

In the mean time I used cookie cutters to cut little circles in shortcrust pastry, and place them into greased cupcake baking trays. Then I prepared my star toppings using a smaller star cookie cutter. 

After the hour was up I took the filling out the fridge and distributed it into the moulds. I placed the little star cut outs on top of each one, and brushed them all with melted butter. 

After popping them into the oven (160C/320F) for 25-30 minutes, I dusted them with icing sugar and voila!

Everyone enjoyed fruit mince pies, gourmet chocolate truffles (from Belle Fleur Fine Chocolates – a boutique chocolate shop in Sydney’s Inner West), and mulled wine whilst opening presents.

I got very spoilt this Christmas, and got a Mimco Supernatural Medium Pouch, some cute Kikki K stationary and the Antler Aire Large Suitcase

Clearly I was spoilt by family and friends – hope you had a wonderful Christmas and got everything you wished for!

xx