Christmas 2019

By the time you read this, I hope you’ve have a lovely time celebrating the festive season and are looking forward to the year ahead.

As I’ve done for the last few years (partly for my own memories, partly for those of you like me who enjoy a little nosey) here’s a bit of a peak at my Christmas Day and Boxing Day celebrations.

Christmas morning waking up at home (at 6.45am, the latest I think I’ve ever woken up on Christmas Day). After exchanging gifts listening to Christmas songs, we tucked into sausage sarnies and watched some festive TV.

Top, Joanie (one of my gifts from the Mr)

Quick change, tidied up the wrapping paper and it was off to see the family!

First stop was my grandparents house, they’ve been poorly this year so weren’t able to leave the house.

After that we headed to my sister-in-law’s for Christmas lunch with the wider family.

We all brought something along and laid it out buffet style, this year we were on turkey duty which was just a little bit scary but turned out really well thankfully!

I was the most stuffed I’ve ever been from a Christmas lunch

I just about managed to roll on to the couch and was put on childcare duty with my niece and nephew (tbh I think they were looking after me more).

After an hour I managed to enjoy a small bowl of my Mother-in-law’s sherry trifle (epic) and open the last of the presents for the day. We gifted our nephew with a table football and his little face was everything.

Boxing Day

This year was different to the norm, this time we hosted and I cooked!

To spruce up our not yet decorated dining area, I picked up these dark great charge plates from Dunelm and made a table centre using a garland I bought from Amazon threaded with battery operated lights and baubles picked up from B&M. I added in white candles (also from Dunelm and B&M) and some M&S Bucks Fizz served in the ice bucket from our home bar (which I promise I will write about at some point soon!)

From scratch, I made Moroccan lamb followed by panettone bread and butter pudding with cream.

If you’ve read these posts for the past 4 years, you’ll know this dessert is my stepdad’s showpiece so I wanted to give it a go to see if I could do a nice tribute to his years of hard work. And I did!

We did a few more presents and then moved to the couch for a brew and game of Cards Against Humanity

My brother won, however it confirmed what I already knew that my family are highly inappropriate and absolute filth!

I’m off work until the beginning of January and will be spending that time having more family gatherings (one at my mum’s new house with her in-laws, the other back at ours with my in-laws) time with friends and general relaxation.

If you have some time off too, I hope you’re able to use it in ways you enjoy. If you fancy more of a nosey, I’ve got a Christmas 2019 highlight on my Instagram which will likely have some presents on there too.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Testing the ALDI festive tipples range

Bit late in the day to pick up festive booze? Nah! And technically, you could have most of this at any time of year….

Yup, that’s right – for the first time in about 5 years I’ve decided to see what else is out there for my Christmas delectation that’s not from Marks & Spencer….

Traitor! Nope. I live closer to ALDI, they posted a leaflet through my door showcasing their range which peaked my interest, and I’ve done a blog post in M&S drinks for the last 4 years or so, so it’s definitely time to mix it up

Spiced Plum & Clementine gin

I still wouldn’t say I’m a gin lover (although you will remember that I liked it before it was cool) but I’m drinking it more by default as people around me are.

This doesn’t taste like gin at all, the infused plum and orange flavours are great, almost like you’re drinking something non-alcoholic. When paid with lemonade, garnished with an orange wedge and served over ice, this makes a pretty nice drink all year round.

Candy Cane gin liqueur

A drink like this can go either way can’t it – either a delicious minty treat or summat that you’d rinse and spit after brushing that you bought on sale at the pound shop (the reviews on the ALDI website are pretty polarising).

If you give the bottle a shake it shimmers which definitely gets you in the Christmas spirit before you’ve even had a drop!

If you wanted to go full on cocktail with this drink, there’s a recommended recipe on the ALDI website

Ballycastle Chocolate & Orange Irish Cream

Basically the ALDI own version of baileys, which I love, and as you’ll k ow from my previous post all about orange flavoured chocolate this is a flavour combo I’m rather fond of.

As well as being served the more traditional way as a short over ice, which is how I’ve been enjoying it, this would be the perfect edition to a nice warming cup of hot chocolate to give it an extra little kick (you could use this recipe I posted a couple of years ago and simply sub this is in)

There’s still time to pick these up before the festivities kick up another notch at the weekend, so happy drinking (but responsibly and for enjoyment) during the most drunken time of the year!

Thanks for reading and seasons greetings,

J xx


The great orange chocolate hysteria of 2019

If you’ve read my blog from somewhere near the start (throwing it back to the Curious Alice Loves… days folks) you’ll know I’m a sucker for a trend a lot of the time, so I want to stay true to that aesthetic.

I’m also a sucker for chocolate.

Naturally, when a noteable combining both of these topics arose a few weeks ago, it peaked my interest. I think you know the one I’m talking about…

Cadbury Orange Twirl.

It was announced, the suspense built, the tabloids reported where it could be bought, my twitter feed was flooded with people trying in vain to get hold of a single bar to try, suspense and desire built for it more, Cadbury released more ample stocks into the wild to satiate people before the supply dwindled and again people were left hangry for the taste of what appeared to be the white tiger of the chocolate world.

For me – I had family members on the lookout, I mentioned this is every single group chat I was part of, I even changed the name of my work group chat to ‘Orange Twirl Watch Society’. Eventually, thanks to my pestering of everyone in my life, I got my hands on one (I say one, I actually mean one box. No, really.)

Well played Cadbury marketing team, well played. You created a hype, withheld supply to increase demand/limited edition-ness and didn’t have to spend mega bucks to do so.

So, this whole thing poses two questions. 1, does it live up to the hype in comparison to other orange chocolate products and 2, what is a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on one/when Cadbury stop making them (they’re promoted as a limited edition).

I got you on both counts.

I’ve done the leg work and reviewed orange chocolate products so you won’t have to, you can simply get the best one. Merry Christmas!

Orange Twirl

The new kid on the block. If you like Twirls and orange flavoured chocolate, you’re definitely going to be pleased with this creation of you ever manage to get hold of one. It is as nice as you’d hope for the effort it takes to get them!

Tip – I normally put my chocolate in the fridge (don’t @ me) to make it last longer when I eat it, however this is most definitely best eaten at room temperature accompanied by a good brew.

Terry’s Chocolate Orange bar

Arguably the original founder of the trend, but is it the best?

The smooth texture of the segments make for a silkier taste and allow more of the orange oil flavour to come through, so if you want something very orangey for a decent price then this is still very much a good shout.

Lindt Chocolate Orange bar

The more ‘luxury’ option, it takes on the traditional Lindt form with a softer centre. The squares on each bar are massive, so it could potentially mean you eat more than planned, however it’s so delicious you probably will anyway.

Very silky chocolate texture, lots of orange flavour, this would be an absolute delight of a chocolate to find in your Christmas stocking.

Matchmakers – chocolate orange flavour

Well, they’re an old classic and ’tis the season they usually get cracked out!

They’re very tangy with orange goodness, a little bit crispy and VERY dangeous as they’re so skinny you can easily eat the lot. But it’s Christmas, so what the hell!

Whether you’ve had an orange Twirl, haven’t and need a substitute or just like chocolate and want to justify it as one of your five a day (cos it’s orange flavoured, geddit) now you know what’s what.

I still can’t decide whether this post was a quirk of genius or just a bit weird, but thanks for reading either way!

J xx

Thanks for reading,

J xx


FESTIVE, FOOD & FUN/ Christmas 2017

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day and are waking up for #BoxingDay feeling happy and content. As I did last year, I thought I’d share a few candid words and pictures of what I’ve been doing (FYI- the pic above is of my festive PJs, which are from Next).

This year was a bit different as we’re currently living in temporary accommodation, so the presents kind of spilled out more than usual! We treated ourselves to a new ‘snow covered’ tree  too.

We wake up at the same kind of time every day no matter what (we are rubbish at having a lay in!) so we get up, put on festive songs and open presents next to the tree with a mug of tea (served in festive mugs, obvs.).

Presents are lovely, but next comes my fave bit – Christmas Day brekkie! Every year we have sausage sandwiches in soft white baps (the sausages are ASDA Finest pork and apple, if you’re interested).

This year it was our turn to spend Christmas Day with my in-laws (we alternate every year) which is a bit different these days as we now have two little members of the family who are both adorable and excitable!

I didn’t load up my plate in a very insta-worthy manner, but when home-cooked food is delicious you kinda don’t care.

Highlights included my mother in-law’s stuffing and brother in-law’s mash potato, I had seconds of both with lashings of gravy. I finished off my epic feast with trifle, yassss.
Boxing Day lunch is always spent with my famil and my stepdad always cooks up something amazing!


This year was chicken tagine with cous cous followed by bread and butter pudding (which has become something of a festive family tradition) made with croissants and served with double cream.


I’m now having some much needed chill time at home with the Mr before the New Year begins – watching a mountain of DVDs, eating, generally being cosy and figuring out what my goals for 2018 will be. I hope you’re all enjoying some down time too; if not then I hope work isn’t too frantic for you!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


BLOGMAS day 24: Happy Christmas Eve 

Happy Christmas Eve on and all!

I hope you’ve had a lovely start to the Christmas weekend and that you’re going into ‘The Big 3’ days filled with excitement and happiness.

Here ends my official run of #blogmas posts for 2017… drop the mic, I did it!

This month has really put a rocket up my butt and given me back some of the drive and inspiration I lost this year for my little corner of the World Wide Web, so I’m going to keep running with it into the New Year!

Thank for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the month as much as me – I will still be posting next week too so it’s not over yet!

J xx


BLOGMAS day 19: What to do when you’re sick during the festive season

So I missed the last two days of #blogmas gutted as I was on a roll with this thing! But I had a good reason, illness, which has become inspiration for today’s post.

It’s the time of year when you’re in and out of crazy temperatures all the time, you’re mixing with way more people and you’re possibly a bit stressed too boot. In short – the perfect breeding ground for germs to get in and stop you in your tracks! But, if you observe these 3 R’s then you’ll be back on feet in no time.

Rest

Accept your lurgy and retreat to bed – your body is telling you it’s run down, listen to it! It’s hard to turn down parties and nights out, but if you don’t your illness will linger and you won’t be able the main event. You can always plan some fun things to do post-Christmas to look forward to.

Refuel


And oldy but goody – keep your fluids up whilst eating little and often. People say tea solves everything right? Don’t eat anything too rich or fancy – keeping your food choices plain will hopefully stop your body feeling more angry so that you’ll be fighting fit and ready to indulge in your Christmas dinner.

Relax

This can be really hard, particularly when being out of action could make you stress even more about not getting things done. However, the power of modern technology means you can chill whilst remaining *mildly* productive. Whack on a festive film (see my suggestions from blogmas day 5 here) make yourself a warm drink (if you’re feeling up to it, treat yourself to home made hot chocolate using my blogmas day 9 recipe – perhaps leave out the booze and get someone to make it for you, you are sick after all!) grab your laptop/tablet and settle down to do some online shopping from the comfort of your PJs. Nail the last of your Christmas shopping, pick up a little something to wear out when you’re well (or your ‘I hope this is reduced in the January sales’ list) maybe even have a little browse for next year’s holiday… (places I’d like to travel to in 2018 featured in my blogmas day 14 post here).

If you are sick at the moment, I wish you a speedy recovery so you can enjoy the rest of the festive season and hope you’re practising the 3 R’s!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


FESTIVE/ Christmas 2016

This is a little snapshot of my Christmas celebrations this year. Bit of a random post I guess, but it’s nice to make and share memories!

Where are all of the gifts, you ask? Unwrapped and behind the shot in a massive state of carnage! All wrapping in the shot is from Morrisons.


Gorgeously cute pressie from Grandmama Alice

Mama Alice folded the napkins into Christmas trees!

3 fish pate on rye
Venison with all the trimmings
Bread and butter pudding with double cream.
Thanks to Step-daddy Alice for his amazing culinary skills once again!


Grandmama and Grandad Alice

 Mr Alice matching with our baby neice, adorable.
Stay stylish,

J 😘xx



FESTIVE/ Top festive tipples 

Tis’ the season to be sociable…and festive frolics usually come with a little fizz! Sometimes a bit of creaminess, perhaps even a little fruit or chocolate? Whatever your preference, I have some fab festive tipples I’ve been enjoying this year.

Marks & Spencer Bucks FizzBucks Fizz is perfect for the festive period – its light and easy which means it fits perfectly with an indulgent festive brekkie or a nice addition to lunch. Secondly, its fizziness means it feels more celebratory for toasting happy times and merriment all the way to #NewYearsEve. The bubbles mean that you don’t need to drink a lot to get in to the ‘festive spirit’ shall we say, which saves both money AND calories when you need them most.

This is my probably my favourite alcoholic tipple EVER. I don’t just mean Bucks Fizz, I mean this exact brand. M&S also do a slightly fancier version too but I’ve always enjoyed this more. When I lived at home it was long running joke that my mum would have to hide this before Christmas Day to that I wouldn’t quaff the lot! This thought process wasn’t completely unfounded on her part, hehe.

Marks & Spencer Christmas Cobbler Cocktail Absolutely perfect for fruity cocktail lovers who want to nod to the time of year.

This one is a newbie for M&S this year so I thought I’d give it a go, and so far I’m not disappointed. The flavours aren’t too Christmassy, so I think this is one that I’ll be trying to eek out in to 2017.

Marks & Spencer Egg Nog Cream This is a nice alternative to Baileys- really creamy and sweet. Plus (you can’t see it very well in this shot)  up the bottle has a really lovely irredescent shimmer that makes it feel so much more Christmassy*. Like Baileys it also works beautifully in other drinks; used a large shot of this when I made white hot chocolate recently and it tasted amazing.

*At this poínt I feel I should point out that M&S is always my go-to for festive alcohol, this is definitely not sponsored or angendered in any way!
Ribena Winter Spice This is one of my favourite winter warmers as a non alcoholic drink, it’s a great for mulled wine lovers (like me) that don’t always feel like a drink. As I’ve been driving more in the evenings recently it’s nice to still feel I can enjoy a winter drink in the daytime that’s not hot chocolate.

If you have any go-to tipples feel free to share them with me, it’s nice to try new things. Cheers!

Stay stylish,

J 😘xx


FASHION/ Last Minute Christmas Shopping

My LAST pre-Christmas outfit post! There’ll be plenty of pictures taken over the festive days of my outfits and shared I’m share, so keep a lookout for those. This is another of my winter go-to looks for a quick journey into town to pick up some final little bits of presents (I’ve actually been super organised this year, but there’s always that last little thing you forget isn’t there)   

These jeans are more of a Capri length, but the way, which is why they don’t tuck into my boots. I realised after buying them that this is about the 15th pair I’ve purchased in the last year- quite the change for a girl who refused to wear them for about 5 years because she felt too ashamed of how she looked in them!

Coat Missguided/ Bodysuit Top Shop/ Jeans Top Shop/ Boots New Look (now 50% off)

Hope you’re all ready to enjoy a lovely festive break! 

Stay Stylish

J 😘xx


BEAUTY/ Arbonne Ultra-Hydrating FC5 Hand Creme

 I don’t spend a a massive amount on skincare, but I’m open to trying out new products and will spend more for something I really like. It’s part of the ‘getting better at beauty’ kick I’ve been on this year (FYI: still have a looooooong way to go!)

Arbonne as a brand isn’t new to me, I was introduced to them last year at the #HullBloggers Christmas event, but I’ve kept in touch with Sarah who works for them and she’s always happy to let me have a look at what’s new.  

Hand creme is an absolute must for the tricky Autumn/Winter weather we’ve been having- rain? Wind? is it warm? Is it cold? Who knows anymore! This smells divine and a little like a spa to me, exactly as a high value should be in my eyes. A little bit goes a long way so for the £22 price tag means it’s decent value for money.

Let me know if you have any other good skincare recommendations for me – I’ve let all of my products run low so it’s the perfect time to try out some newbies!

Stay Stylish

J 😘xx