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


4 Simple Christmas decorations that look fab (that even I can make!)

It’s that time of year again…I don’t about you, but I’m in dire need of a little festive cheer in my life!

I’m not a craft person by any stretch of the imagination (apart from that one really decent wall thing I made the other year, which I’ll share below) but this year I really wanted to add as many festive touches as I could to my home without spending a fortune. So, a bit of Pinterest and a couple of herbdashery purchases later, I was in business!

The giant door bow

I’ve seen these loads on social media in the past, however the pre made ‘blingy’ ones were a bit too expensive and ornate for what I was looking for. The answer? Buy a massive length of organza and make your own!

I looped two long pieces width ways and length ways tied in a double not to secure, I then tied a rough bow with the remaining pieces and fanned out the bow until it looked more full. This took about 15 minutes in total, and I know the pieces fit so I can do it again next year.

Bauble table centres

This took literally a minute to do, and it meant I could use some more of the many (many, many) baubles in my collection!

Taking vases I bought from IKEA a few weeks ago, I simply kept some of the smaller baubles out and filled each case to the top.

It’s something extra to look at and used items I already had in the house but wasn’t using, so totally free. Win!

Hanging bauble feature

(Pinterest images have been used to display this one because the light was too bad to snap decent photos in when I’d finished)

This one took a little bit longer but was still super easy. When I was researching home made decorations, this was one of the first that popped up, and I knew I had plenty of leftover baubles to make it work!

Taking brown string (to keep with my theme, however coloured wool would also work really well) I looped a section through each bauble, not really caring if they were the same length, and tied them to my banister. I secured them in place with a small piece of sellotape just so they wouldn’t slide out of place.

This also looks great when hung in symmetrical lengths down a window

Paper wall fan

I don’t know what the official name for this would be, but that’s what I’m calling it! This one will take a little bit more effort (and some glue) but is a great mindful activity to relax, do with friends or get the kids involved.

Disclaimer – this is one I made about 3 years ago, however it’s still in perfect condition and I’ve used it every year since.

You’ll need – medium sized coloured cardboard circle, small coloured cardboard circle, glue (pva or prit stick) and small squares of patterned/coloured paper.

Take a piece of paper square and roll it into a cone shape, sealing the edges with glue. Using the medium cardboard circle as your base, glue them in a round shape until the circle has them all the way around. Repeat the process, but this time glue the paper cones above the first layer (this make the finished product more 3D). Once the second layer is complete, glue the small cardboard circle into the centre to hide the sticky bits. To finish, punch a hole in the top part of the medium circle, thread coloured ribbon through and hang where desired.

Whatever your level of skill and ‘can’t be arsed-ness’ there’s definitely something in the post you’ll be able to create!

Thanks for reading,

Jenny xx


FESTIVE / Christmas 2018

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely few days of Christmas celebrations! As I’ve done for the past few years, I’m sharing a few snaps of what I got up to.

Quick disclaimer: isn’t to brag about anything I did or didn’t do, it’s just a nice memory for me to have and others to nosey at if that’s your thing.

The annual festive pork and apple sausage sandwiches, NOM. This year we even snuck in a cheeky glass of Bucks Fizz.

This year we were back with my side of the family for Christmas lunch (my mum is moving house in the new year so this is the last time having it in this home, sob.) how weird but cool do these crackers look?

Pate and Melba toast

Full turkey dinner with the works – courtesy of my stepdad and M&S

This right here is my most favourite part of Christmas Day – home made bread and butter pudding (you’ll have seen this on here before) which was drenched in double cream shortly after this pic was taken. This year I also brought along to M&S prosecco Christmas pudding with orange sauce, which was a big different and seemed to go down well.

If my mum put her Christmas tree somewhere else in the house, there’d be a good chance that things would fit under it!

If you’ve done a similar post to this link it in the comments below so I can nosey, same if you’ve done a ‘what I got for Christmas’ haul-style post.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


BLOGMAS 2018 / Day 22 – the official 2018 highlight reel

As you’re reading this I’m getting ready to travel to Leeds where I will hopefully spend a lovely festive time doing some casual last minute shopping, daytime drinking and winding down in to the Christmas holidays. We did the same last year and it was exactly like this, so hopefully history will repeat! You’ll be able to nosey in on my Instagram stories at what I get up to.

I really like reading posts like this, and writing them each year is a great reminder of the good things that have happened over the past 12 months, so here’s a (probably slightly longer than it should be, but hey it’s me) summary of how 2018 has gone down.

January

I kicked off the year with my 5 Things for 2018 pledge, which was a set of goals I hoped to achieve throughout the next 12 months. I also put myself on a spending detox as an alternative to dry January (which I managed to keep for about 3 weeks if memory serves). This month also saw my first ever comedy review post – Jason Manford’s Muddle Class tour.

February

The Mr and I headed across the Pennines to Manchester for a weekend break, where I finally got to meet the wonderful Dom face to face! I was super thrilled with the custom illustration he did for me. This month also saw the start of things to come in 2 areas of my life – we had a second viewing on a house we really liked, and I met a couple of new blogger friends…more on both of these later.

March

Myself and mama headed to Liverpool on a girl’s trip with our friends – we had drinks, food and did some shopping. We also had a night out to see Sarah Millican’s Control Enthusiast which formed my second comedy review of the year. I headed out to an influencer dinner at Tapasya Hull with blogger friends old and new and had some of THE most delicious Asian food I’ve ever had.

April

April was pretty quiet and not much to mention as we were getting ready to move house, other than a quick update on my 5 Things for 2018.

May

This month was all about 1 key event – WE FINALLY BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE AND MOVED IN.

June

Hello June, hello mid-life crisis mode! I turned 35, became unemployed and finished my microblading treatment. As part of my celebrations I also went to see Tom Allen at Hull Truck Theatre (a mini review was included in my birthday post if you click the link above).

In a bid to get results from the latest weight loss fad, I tried Boom Bod to see if it would help me shift some blubber around my middle (as I’m sure you’ll already have guessed, it didn’t). I a slightly downward twist of fate, I ended up resigning from my job because I had been lied to about what it entailed and it just wasn’t for me (word to the wise kids: be VERY choosy when dealing with recruitment consultants)

By far, the highlight of the month was watching one of my oldest friends get married, which was a truly beautiful day.

July

There’s only one word to describe this month – HOT! As the heat wave hit I busied myself searching for a new job, and by the end of July I’d found it. This picture was taken as I got the call.

I also helped my mum to plan and deliver my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary – we went for vintage themed decor and old photographs alongside a traditional British- themed buffet which all went down a treat.

BUT, there was still more to come from this month…

I said hello to HEY Bloggers! Together with a group of 5 other blogging girls (2 of whom I met back in February) got together and formed an online community for targeted at united bloggers and creatives in Hull and East Yorkshire (hence HEY). We’d be talking about it for a little while but this month provided me with a bit of unexpected free time to work together and get it off the ground.

August

This was a pretty exciting month – as well as getting stuck into my new job, I went to Santorini and had a fabulous time! I shared my thoughts on things you should definitely do, a guide to the island and a guide to Greek food.

Then came #HEYlaunch the first official event for the HEY Bloggers community. It was held at the beautiful Hull Minster and got some great feedback.

As if August wasn’t quite jam-packed enough, I managed to squeeze in a quick 48 hours in London too! We went out of our way to do some different things which turned out really well.

September

This month was all about work and not to much else, however I did get to see Joe Lycett who is one of my very favourite comedians (I didn’t ever get round to writing a review, but it was bloody funny) and Gary Delaney (again, didn’t quite get around to writing a review, but this was I think my third time seeing him so that should give you a feel for my thoughts).

October

In an effort to get back in to my fashion stride on the blog, I re-launched my celeb style round up as weekly fashion faves

and for the very first time I experimented with full face makeup to go out for Halloween (which also saw me visit Spiders nightclub for the first time, a proper Hull institution).

November

I kicked my month with going to the Gok Wan ‘One Size fits All’ tour, bought a load of tea aaaaannnnnnddddddd………

I met freekin’ Santa!! Princes Quay kindly invited me to preview this year’s grotto, and it was everything you’d want a child to experience.

I rounded off the month by hopping on the radio on behalf of HEY Bloggers to talk about all things social media.

December

Which brings neatly to December – as it is for most people, there was quite a lot going on! On 1 December I kicked off #blogmas2018 and and visited the Urban Legends: Northern Lights projections in Hull.

I caught up with old friends for our annual festive night in (this ended up involving way more prosecco than it should have) and helped to host the HEY Bloggers Christmas party (I’ll talk more about that in the new year)

So that’s my year! There’s only really the actual Christmas holidays to go, which I’ll do in a separate post before New Year.

See you tomorrow,

J xx


BLOGMAS 2018 / Day 19 – A thank you to the brands

On #blogmas day 15 I posted the quickest of snapshots into the HEY Bloggers Christmas Party that I co-hosted the same day, what I’d like to dedicate today’s post to is thanking the wonderful and generous brands that collaborated with us on the event. We worked to get some great products for our guests to try, hopefully this shout out will inspire to try something new or re-discover and old fave!

The talented Melissa of Like Sugar Bakery created some amazing looking sweet treats for us, with flavours inspired by her USA heritage. She even branded her salted caramel brownies with our logo!

The stylish Lexington Bar was our venue, as an extra festive treat the bar tenders even created little edible Christmas trees to decorate our cocktails! To create a cute Instagrammable touch Hobbycraft gave us these cool HEY letter balloons. They were very well used indeed.

(Image: @lizzie_florence )

Our ice breaker game was hosted by Jo, the creator of Socialise and Mingle which was the perfect way to get guests mingling in a quirky way

(image: @riareeblog)

Inside the goody bags given to each bags given to each guest, they found the following:

Dom & Ink print by Rock on Ruby / A bag of Metcalfe’s asking Popcorn / VIP invite and branded merchandise from Napoleon’s Casino Hull / Sienna X tanning product / A can of Fentimans Rose Lemonade / Discount voucher for High Maintenance Jewellery / Book marks and pen from Wordery / A Hugh Rice silver heart necklace, silver cleaning cloth and Luxe by Hugh Rice tote bag / A Hull Truck Theatre new season brochure

Our charity raffle, in aid of charity Oscar’s Choice, had prizes up for grabs from the following companies, there were also a few spot prizes up for grabs throughout the event

Rock on Ruby festive jumpers / Bespoke High Maintenance Jewellery bracelet / Tickets to The Deep / Tessies voucher / Afternoon Tea at The Artisan / A selection of Hugh Rice vouchers / A keg of Koppaberg cider / Tickets to see a show at Bonus Arena / House of Beauty voucher / Blow dry vouchers for Hair Art Studio / Bag from Jack Wills / A selection of gifts from Wordery / Shadow Switch brush cleaner / Socialise and Mingle game/ Products from Everything 5 Pounds / Vouchers from Beauty Outlet and gift card from Princes Quay Shopping Centre

Huge huge HUGE thank you to each and every one of you on behalf of the HEY Bloggers team! Oh can catch a full unboxing of the goody bags and the event over on my Instagram story highlights.

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow,

J xx