What I Got For Christmas 2019 | Book Edition

It feels like ages since I’ve last sat down to write a blog post. Christmas has flown by and so have most of days. Yesterday I went for a walk, sorted out my wardrobe and had guests over but it feels like I have barely moved. I can’t wait for the mornings to get lighter so the I can go for my early-morning wanders again! Spring is one of the most interesting seasons. It’s when everyone is attempting their new years goals. A lot of us give up by summer but the initiative is still worth reward! It’s a bit late for a What I Got For Christmas post but I’m still going to share it with you. I’ll only be showing you the books I got for Christmas because otherwise this post would be dragging on for far too long! (besides, books are probably the things you read by blog for)

I didn’t actually get any novels this year for Christmas. They’re all non-fiction! I did ask for these books because I was really interested in the topics. Though I won’t speed through them, I thought it would be nice to have some educational books that I can read in anticipation of the new year (to make it one of the best years yet!)

Turning The Tide Against Plastics

I don’t share much of my plastic-free passion on this blog but I certainly will share more of that in upcoming content. This book really intrigued me because it is not covering sorely the new plastic revolution but also the protests of the past. The truth of what’s going on in the world around us is not pleasant. However I do feel like I should be educating myself on this topic because it determines my future! I have read a couple of pages already and really enjoyed it. It’s not too heavy yet it still has a lot of statistics and numbers in it.

Synopsis

Plastic flows into our lives from every direction and most of it is not recycled. Instead it is incinerated or ends up in landfill, where it will sit for hundreds of years, or enters the world’s seas where it fragments into tiny pieces to become microplastics – the environmental scourge of our times.

Many of us had assumed that governments, brands and waste authorities were dealing with plastic on our behalf. But the impact of shows such as Blue Planet along with national beach cleans and high-profile campaigns have resulted in a collective wake-up call. If there were plans and strategies, they have not worked as we imagined. It would be easy to feel despondent but instead we need to turn our anger and emotion into action, starting by making a big dent in our own enormous consumption.

Turning The Tide On Plastic is here just in time. Journalist, broadcaster and eco-lifestyle expert Lucy Siegle provides a powerful call to arms to end the plastic pandemic along with the tools we need to make decisive change. It is a clear-eyed, authoritative and accessible guide to help us to take decisive and effective personal action.

Because this matters. When it comes to single-use plastics, we are habitual users, reaching out for plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, plastic straws and carrier bags multiple times a day. If only 12 of us adopt Lucy’s ‘reduce, rethink, refill, refuse’ approach, we could potentially ditch 3,000-15,000 single items of plastic in a year. When we consider our power as influencers – whether at school, the hairdressers, at work or on the bus – we suddenly become part of something significant.

So now is the time to speak up, take action and demand the change you want to see in the ocean, in the supermarket aisles and on the streets. It’s time to turn the tide on plastic, and this book will show you how.

Lucy Siegle – Turning The Tide On Plastic

Quiet Power

This is a book I added to my TBR because of bookstagram. I’m not sure who’s account I saw it on but I was really interested in it. Putting labels on myself isn’t the best thing for my mental health, but being an introvert is certainly part of my identity. I do feel that the power of introverts is being better recognised now however there are still people who underestimate the power of quiet people! This book might be a boost for my self-esteem or it could turn me against all the loud people in the world 😂

Synopsis

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Susan Cain – Quiet Power

The Little Book Of Hygge

Early this year I really enjoyed reading The Little Book of Lykke. Lykke is my word of the year, as you will see in an upcoming post! As I really enjoyed Meik Wiking’s writing the first time I thought I might try reading another one of his books too. I enjoy the way he talks about the issues of the modern world without sounding too pessimistic. There is also a common theme of kindness in his books too!

Synopsis

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge

‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.

Meik Wiking – The Little Book Of Hygge


Thank you so much to my parents for kindly getting me these books for Christmas! I always appreciate that you take notice when I say ‘I would like to read this’ or ‘I think I might ask for this for Christmas’. Christmas is not about the gifts though nothing beats when you give gifts to other people and they have a beaming smile on their face! I was really smiling when I received these presents on Christmas morning. Thank you so much.

I hope you all had an amazing day, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas!

Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve? Whatever you’re doing, please stay safe!

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Peppermint Cream Inspired Chocolate Cupcakes

One Sunday afternoon I decided to do an experimental recipe and it went surprisingly well! This is the first festive bake of the year and I’m really excited for you to try it out for yourself. As always my Instagram DM’s are open for you to send me photos of your recreations! I really enjoy seeing the twists you put on my recipes – especially with the decoration! These cupcakes are plain in decoration but full in flavour. It would be a great idea to crush a candy cane and sprinkle that on top – but I didn’t have any candy canes when I was making these!

Ingredients:

4oz self-raising flour

2oz cocoa powder

4oz caster sugar

2oz brown sugar (this gives the cakes a brownie-like texture but if the classic cupcake is more to your taste then add another 2oz of caster sugar instead)

6oz margarine or unsalted butter

3 eggs

For the icing:

2oz icing sugar

1tsp of peppermint extract

Method:

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Pro tip: use a spoon to break up the ingredients and then use an electric whisk to make it light and fluffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 160C (if you preheat the oven before you start mixing your ingredients you are wasting energy and throwing away money!)
  • While your oven is preheating spoon the cake mixture evenly into 24 cupcake cases.  This recipe is easy to divide if you want to make more or less!

  • Place your cupcakes in the oven. Let them cook for 10-15 minutes. The less time you leave them in the gooey-er they are!
  • As the cupcakes cool you can prepare the icing. Combine 2oz on icing sugar (roughly – we didn’t measure exactly) and a few drops of water. Once you have the right consistency add your peppermint extract. Don’t use too much as it may taste like toothpaste!
  • Using a knife spread the icing on to your cupcakes. If you do want to add decorations then make sure you do so before the icing sets. Otherwise they will not stick on!

Because I am so forgetful I completely didn’t take photos of the decorating process. It’s not too impressive anyways – but I thought you were due an explanation as to why you won’t be able to see the final result! Thank you all so much for reading this recipe. If you get any time with some little ones this holiday then I do recommend you make these with them. They’re super simple and very hard to bodge up! You may also get creative with the decorations.

Do you enjoy the combination of mint and chocolate? What is your favourite festive treat to bake?

Only two days left until Christmas now! I hope that you really enjoy yourself – whether you celebrate the occasion or not. I won’t be posting on Christmas day (even though it is my usual upload day) because I want to spend some time with my family. Though I would like to wish you a merry Christmas all the same!

Many blessings,

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The Commercialisation Of Christmas

Christmas is all about money these days. Before we begin I’d like to mention that I’m not a Christian – more of an atheist – though I still think that it is important to remember the reason for the season. Most of you will have done the Nativity plays when you were in primary school. It’s really important to educate people, especially young children, as to why some nations celebrate this occasion. Supposedly, this time 2019 years ago, Jesus was born. You might not believe in Him as a miracle maker (neither do I). What you must understand, however, is that He is a symbol for hope. That is why Christian nations believe Christmas a time of community. It’s not about celebrating the birth of a baby, but to celebrate the birth of hope. Everybody should be welcome at Christmas. That’s why schools support charities such as Save The Children, because some kids won’t be getting presents this year, or a warm fire to sit by. I can’t bear seeing the commercialisation of a season that is meant to be interpreted as a time where money shouldn’t matter – and everyone is equal.

Don’t get me wrong, I love making Christmas content for you. I’d just like everyone to take a step back and remember why we celebrate this occasion in the first place 🙂

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5 Ways To Save The Planet This Christmas

Christmas is the most wasteful season in the year but making a small change will make a huge difference. Listed in this post are some good habits that you can try to implement. They will help to reduce your waste in this time of climate crisis but they also won’t be noticeable in your day-to-day life!

  • Use brown paper to wrap your presents

The commercial wrapping paper is made from non-recyclable materials such as plastic among other things. It is really hard to recycle and often goes straight to landfill. To avoid this you can use brown paper! I much prefer the aesthetic of brown paper anyways because it adds a rustic effect and it can be personalised! You can draw and decorate it if you have time (which congratulations if you do)

  • Carefully unwrap presents so that you can reuse the wrapping paper

If the brown paper doesn’t work for you (I know that as a child I wouldn’t be best pleased with plain brown!) then you can always reuse paper from previous years. Our family has a small stash of wrapping paper that has already been used once.

  • Don’t send cards with glitter on them

I didn’t realise how many cards have glitter on them! If you put into action any of these tips then please make it this one. Glitter is non-biodegradable which means that the whole card won’t be able to be recycled. At the rate trees are being cut down it’s essential that we decrease the demand for paper buy recycling what we already have!

  • Don’t send cards to people you barely know

Linking to the previous advice – don’t send cards to people you barely know! If I was to receive a card from my great-uncle’s girlfriend’s son I wouldn’t really care about it. Only send cards to people you know and if they are close family then make it! It’s so special to receive a card that you know someone had spent time making. No big, fancy card can beat it!

  • Shop locally/at independent stores

Knowing where your presents come from adds a reassurance that you don’t get when you buy at retail parks. Supporting your local economy is a really important investment and will return is different forms such better public services and more books in the library!

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It’s really important to reduce waste at Christmas but the season is already stressful enough. I hope that these tips are easily achievable and don’t add any weight on your shoulders! Sometimes I can sit down and feel peaceful though throughout most of the week it’s a rush of school, theatre, blogging, social events, cooking, cleaning and the anticipation of the weekend. There is clarity but there isn’t much relaxation!

How are you going to spend Christmas? Do you find that the effort you go to pre-Christmas is ever rewarded?

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Another 10 Songs For Your Christmas Playlist | Ft. Yoga Girl

Another ten songs for your Christmas playlist, brought to you by the lovely Yoga Girl! Yoga Girl and I know each other outside of blogging so it’s been fun to work with someone in person instead of over email. She plays a few instruments, including her beautiful voice, so you can trust that this playlist has been put together with musical expertise 🙂 After reading this post it would be great if you could check out her blog which is centred around her hobbies of yoga, books and poetry. If you would like to listen to this playlist I have made a Spotify playlist for you: https://open.spotify.com/
Hello it’s Yoga Girl!
It’s nearly Christmas so I thought it just about time to get those Christmas tunes on. I am Christmas lover and if you are too then I hope that this post will get you in the Christmassy mood 🎅

1) It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé

What’s Christmas without a bit of Michael Bublé?

2) Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid

This is one of the few songs I know in BSL (British Sign Language)

3) Silent Night – Celtic Women

This song really reminds me of going to church and church is a huge part of Christmas for me!

4) Rocking Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

This song could get me in the Christmas mood at any time in the year.

5) I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas – Frank Sinatra

Such a classic Christmas number. This old style really brings me back in time.

6) Jingle Bells – Bing Crosby

7) Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande

Not usually one for modern songs but this one is fun and makes me smile.

8) Let It Snow – Dean Martin

I wish it would snow in England 😂

9) 12 Days Of Christmas – Straight No Chaser

Love this song to bits and miming it can be a great laugh!😂

10) Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

All I can say is – Mean Girls!
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Thank you so much for reading today’s post. It’s such a shame that there’s only three weeks leading up to Christmas because I have so many content ideas for you!

Do you have a Christmas playlist? Are any of these songs on there?

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