Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Festive Playlist...

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I spotted a competition on BritMums about blogging your Top 5 festive songs - I typically missed the deadline to be entered for a prize but thought I would blog them down anyway...

1. I was listening to it over and over this afternoon so it has to be 'O Holy Night'. I love it as it really focuses on the true meaning of Christmas and I remember singing it when I was in a choir for my church and remember to trying to get that oh so high note at the end of the song. I pretty much like most versions of the song, as there have been hundreds, but Celine Dion, Il Divo or the Glee Cast are probably my preferred. (Stay clear of Jessica Simpsons version - far too breathy for my liking)!

2. Next it has got to be 'All I want for Christmas is you' by Mariah Carey - what an absolute TUNE! I love it and always gets me feeling festive. My brother did a degree in music and he described this song as 'musical genius'.

3. 'Santa Claus is coming to Town'. Again, pretty much any version of it but its just a happy, upbeat song that takes me back to my childhood and singing this with my sisters at the top of our lungs.

4. I really like the Michael Buble version of 'Silent Night'. It is one of my favourite Christmas hymns and makes me feel all fuzzy. Plus, the Buble's voice is amaze so lovely to listen to too!

5. 'Stay another Day' by East 17 - I know this one isn't directly about Christmas but I remember this being number one for weeks and weeks and remember being sat in the living room of my old house watching the Christmas day Top of the Pops and watching them perform. It reminds me of happy times.

If you haven't listened to any of these, check them out on YouTube and let me know what you think - happy festive songtime :)


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Right now I am loving:

- Home made mince pies
- Thick socks and long cardigans
- Messy hair
- Labrinth and Emeli Sande playing over and over again

- and Prison Break! I know, I know, this was out years ago. I remember hearing about it at the time and seeing posters of Wentworth Miller all over the place. But looking at the dates, it was right when I was at Uni and I didn't really watch TV much then - far too much studying to be done of course. Mr U and I have been catching up the past few weeks on LoveFilm (like NetFlix) and we are hooked. We are half way through the last season and if I don't have a coronary through all the suspense, we should be able to get it finished whilst the hubs is off work. But what to start with next? I guess I don't have long to wait until the Christmas day episode of Downton...

P.S - I am signed up to do a 10km race in March to raise some money for the British Heart Foundation. If you would like to sponsor me and my team, you can here - thank you x

My fave...

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My little favourite hasn't been 100% well of late. He has had a cold and a case of slap cheek and is just recovering at the moment so he wants to sit and cuddle pretty much all of the time. This afternoon we have been listening to Christmas songs and playing on the iPad. My messy house can just wait for a little bit longer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wish List.... (Cont.)

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So, with those four Christmas list rules in mind - here is my Christmas Wish List...

1. Something I want - a white Toywatch. I have wanted one of these forever (particularly after seeing Sandra Bullock wearing one in 'The Blind Side'). I have had a wannabe Toywatch, which obviously didn't last very long, so I would love a genuine one.

2. Something I need - so boring but I really need some new socks! I think I must have moths in my sock drawer because they seem to always get holes in them...

Cute socks or creepy socks??

3. Something to eat - there can be a lot of chocolate around at Christmas so I would love some thing fruity like a nice fruit salad or some artificial fruit; lemon heads.

4. Something to read - I want to step up my running training and probably do a 10km in the New Year so a running / fitness magazine would be fab. (Or failing that, a good book - I need a new book to read so any recommendations are welcome. I tried to read 'The Host' in anticipation for the film of it coming out but I really couldn't get into it, not my fave).

Hope you get all you want for Christmas and give what you want xoxo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wish List...

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I was recently reading one of my friends from up t'north's blog The Ar-Blog and it had a great idea for Christmas lists with kids that I just loved. This time of year can be expensive with big (and growing) families...

They are allowed to pick things for their Christmas list around the following:

- Something I want
- Something I need
- Something to eat
- Something to read

And then its up to Father Christmas to decide what they get for each category. I think its a great way to let kids know that its not all about the gifts that they get and they can focus on giving and serving others.

An easy Lemon Souffle...

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The recipe does realistically take about an hour but its all simple stuff, basically lots of stirring and normal ingredients that you probably already have - give it a go and let me know how you get on (taken from Gordon Ramsey's World Kitchen).

You will need:

- 40g butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 150ml whole milk
- 100ml double cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 15g plain flour
- 10g cornflour
- 4 egg whites
- zest and juice of one lemon


- 4 small souffle dishes or ramekins (or one large dish)
- Whisk
- Heavy based pan
- Large mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Palette knife
- Baking tray

What to do:

- Brush either 4 individual souffle dishes, or one large dish, with the softened butter. Chill for a few minutes then brush with a second layer of butter. Sprinkle some caster sugar into each dish to dust the butter-coated base and sides evenly. Then chill the dish(es) until needed.

- For the souffle base, pour the milk and cream into a pan and slowly bring to just below the boil, then remove from the heat.

- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and 50g caster sugar together in a large bowl until pale and thick. Sift the flour and cornflour together onto the yolk mixture and whisk again until smooth. Now, slowly add the creamy milk, whisking as you go. Pour the mixture back into the pan ans stir constantly over a low heat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or so until it is smooth and quite thick. Set aside to cool.

- Preheat the oven to 200c / Gas 6.

- In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add a few drops of lemon juice, then whisk again. Gradually whisk in the remaining 50g sugar, a spoonful at the time, until you get a thick, glossy mixture.

- Stir the lemon zest and juice into the souffle base, then whisk in a third of the egg white mixture to loosen the mixture. Carefully fold in the rest of the egg white, using a large metal spoon, until all is incorporated.

- Spoon the mixture into the prepared dishes, filling them to the top, then tap each on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles. Smooth the surface with a small palette knife.

- Place dishes on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-18 minutes, until risen with a slight wobble in the middle. Serve straight away and enjoy :)

"Santa's coming! I know him, I know him!"...

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But as we say here on the British Isles - Father Christmas is coming!

As our little one was a brand new born last Christmas (and I couldn't drive due to c-section wounds), it seemed pointless taking him to do 'Christmassy' things like taking a visit to see Father Christmas. Not that he exactly will remember it this time around, but we still decided to take the little, along with his cousin, to his very first grotto experience at Westfield White City. 

(This was a picture from my phone, but the grotto was lit all funky and this was actually how the pic came out)

We watched a 5D christmas movie (yes, I was suspicious how that worked too...) and then went to meet the big man himself and bag them a gift.

George had a great time and was smiling away...

But Max, not so much...

At least he can look back and laugh at this in years to come. Maybe we won't be bother next year though...!

Friday, December 14, 2012


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Some recent musings...

Spreading some Christmas Joy

Like Yorkshire puddings, mince pies are best when they are home made

Trip to the farm with the little one

Lemon Soufflé (recipe to follow...) 

Wandering around Piccadilly circus and trying to get an 'arty' pic of the corner, didn't realise the McDonalds ad was describing me so well until after I had taken it haha

Viva Forver Musical... I wish!

Cousins playing together

Christmas Spirit...

Shared by Rebecca U at 12:20 PM 0 comments
Last Christmas I wasn't feeling 'Christmassy' at all. For a time of year that I normally love, it didn't really feel any different to me. I had a 3 week old baby. I was recovering from a c-section. I was soooo tired and in pain. My family came to us for Christmas and while it was nice to not have to travel anywhere, it wasn't quite the same as 'driving home for Christmas', being at my parents, staying in my old room and seeing old friends.

This year, now I am in well into the swing of motherhood, I thought I had no excuse to be organised and recapture the spirit of Christmas that I love. I finished and wrapped all of my Christmas shopping by mid-November so that now we can just focus on serving others (so whether people like it or not, I have been delivering home-made mince pies and shortbread all around. I have certainly been enjoying it) and focusing on the real reason for the season.

One other thing that was so nice to do was to sit and have a hot chocolate with my boys whilst we listened to a Christmas message from our church. I will post the link / web address below as I highly recommend giving it a watch. It will definitely help with you feel focused on the reason for Christmas and who doesn't like a bit of 'Mo-Tab' Choir...

LDS Christmas Message

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and a fantabulous New Year!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Max turned 1...

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Where has my baby gone? Max had his first birthday last weekend - I know its the cliché thing to say, but time really does fly! He is getting lots of teeth now and growing tall, he'll be in 18 month clothes before I know it. He chats away and the noises are actually sounding like words now, he says the odd thing like daddy, ma-ma and car. Typical.

We started the day with opening some presents.... Note to self, for future one year olds, just wrap  up something they already have. He really was more interested in the wrapping.

My parents came to visit and my brother and sister in law came down from London to spend the day with us. We went to Godstone farm as I had heard good reviews about it and they have a soft play area, as well as the animals, which was a bonus as it was freezing cold!

We came home and had birthday cake which got demolished super fast. So glad I basically spent a day making a cake. Hopefully Max will look back on pictures of it when he's older and thank me haha.

We went to visit the hubs family on the Sunday so Max got another cake - lucky boy! He loved crawling around with his Uncles.

I do miss my little Maxibon being so little (and staying where you put him) but I am excited for him growing up and love getting to know his happy, friendly and good natured personality. We love you Max!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Baby, its cold outside...

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... but it doesn't mean we cant wrap up warm and enjoy the autumnal weather around us. We took a walk this weekend out in the country, jumped in puddles and enjoyed the falling leaves.

We even saw some horses (which are really not my favourite thing in the world) but fed them some apples. I think Max has taken my dislike for horses too. Yes!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dreams coming true...

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The hubs has long since had a dream to go and see an F1 Grand Prix race in the flesh. Three of his brothers got to go to the race in Turkey last year and he was beyond green with envy. His dad had always been mentioning that he would like to go to another and all the boys said they would love to go to the Abu Dhabi one.

Long story short, the tickets were booked! Mike was beyond excited this time (literally all he could talk about for a while). I was excited for him as I knew it was something that he had always wanted to do but I was a bit miffed too that Max and I would just be left at home for just over a week, just the two of us.

I thought we would get the train to my parents that week but then Mike came up with a genius plan - Max and I could go to Las Vegas to stay with my sister and her family - it would only be fair right? ;)

Having parents-in-law with lots of air miles meant it was something that could really happen so another long story short and more tickets were booked! So excited.

I was really nervous about how Max would be on the flights but he was napping as we took off and landed, both times, and on the flight back he slept pretty much the whole way back, just waking for some food once (he obviously takes after me, I can sleep literally anywhere and as a result have never really suffered too badly with jet lag).

It was such a brilliant holiday, so good to see my sister, niece and brother-in-law and I was so thrilled that my sister could meet my son! And he to obviously meet his auntie, uncle and cousin. It was great to shop together, eat out, celebrate holidays and even just sit with our babies and talk about anything and everything. Such a cliché thing to say but the time really did fly. I look forward to the day that we will all see each other again, hopefully in the not too distant future.

Here are a few of the things that we got up to...

Lots of cousin and aunt & uncle time

Trips to the strip and Uncle Robbie and Brianne came to see us, from Utah

Hay ride & Halloween

Baking & Bonfire Night (with the worlds worst sparklers)

 And what Mike and his dad and 2 brothers got up to...

They were staying at the same hotel as a lot of the drivers - they met Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher, Paul Di Resta, Segio Perez and my fave Lewis Hamilton!


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