Blogmas 2020, Isle of Wight

Blogmas – Scavenger Hunt

Good morning friends,

Sunday afternoon we took a stroll around the beautiful town of Brading.

Each Christmas, my other half and I, take part in a Christmas quiz.

The Christmas quiz is arranged each year by one of our family friends, who picks a town for us to explore with a list of scavenger hunt style quiz questions

The quiz of 40 questions took us just under 2 hours whilst we strolled around the quaint little town.

Friends and family would normally take part in the quiz together in teams, this year was different but fun all the same.

Perfect way to spend a crisp Sunday afternoon

Kaya •

Blogmas 2020

Blogmas – Ginger breadhouse

Good evening friends,

Christmas night, my partner and I, decided to construct our gingerbread house.
I had bought the house a few weeks ago from B&M for £5, which included a bag of white icing, multicoloured sweets, candy sails and candy canes.
I picked a couple more packs of sweets to decorate, and eat on the way.


For years I’ve wanted to play the Christmas hat drinking game.
A Christmas hat is placed on the TV – whenever a Character lines up with the hat to look as though you are wearing it, you have a drink.
We chose Die Hard, and yes, it IS a Christmas Film.

Well, for the duration of the film I had a drink or icing bag permanently attached to my hand.



Constructing the house was a bloomin challenge.

Yes we may of had a fair few drinks, but the sides of the house had crumbed in the box, which we knew would cause an issue when constructing.


The final product (during the few seconds it stayed together)

Yes the resemblance is uncanny


We decided to make the crashing house look deliberate, and eventually poured ourselves into bed at 1.30 in the morning.

The house went straight into the bin the next morning, safe to say it was memorable and a good laugh, maybe it’ll stand for a few minutes next year!


Kaya •

Blogmas 2020, Cooking at home with Kaya

Blogmas – Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake

Good afternoon friends,

Today I’m sharing a recipe, one that I’ve made before, but will no doubt become a new Christmas tradition.

This Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake, can be prepared, baked and decorated in just over an hour. A simple recipe, with the most delicious smooth, light and flavoursome cake.

Although Nigella labels this a cake, I wouldn’t personally, as it’s flourless and doesn’t have this consistency, I would say it’s more of a gooey spiced pudding.

Photo from Nigella’s site

Click on the link below for the recipe, or read on for the information and a few step by step pictures.

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake

Recipe

For the cake

  • 150 grams chopped dark chocolate (I used 1 while Terry’s Dark chocolate Orange)
  • 150 grams soft butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 250 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 grams ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • zest of 1 clementine (or satsuma)
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
For the topping

  • juice of 1 clementine (or satsuma)
  • 15 grams butter
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 50 grams flaked almonds

Method

  • Take anything you need out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature. The only truly important thing, however, is that the eggs aren’t cold, so if they are, just put them into a bowl (I use the KitchenAid bowl I’m going to whisk them in later) and cover with warm water for 10 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/350ºF. Butter the sides and line the bottom of a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl, in a microwave according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or suspended over a pan of simmering water, and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick, pale and moussy. They should have at least doubled in volume, even tripled. If you’re using a freestanding mixer, as I do, this is effortless.

  • Gently fold in the ground almonds, cinnamon, cloves, clementine/satsuma zest and espresso powder, taking care not to lose the air you have whisked in, then, finally, pour and scrape in the melted, slightly cooled, chocolate and butter, folding gently again.

  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, by which time the top of the cake should be firm, and the underneath still a bit gooey.

  • Remove from the oven, and sit it on a wire rack, draped with a clean tea towel, to cool completely.

  • To make the topping for the cake, put the clementine/satsuma juice into a small, preferably non-stick, frying pan with the butter, sugar and cinnamon and melt everything together, then let it sizzle for a minute or so and begin to caramelize before adding the almonds.
  • Stir everything together, and occasionally tip the pan to keep it all moving; what you want is for all the liquid to disappear and the nuts to look shiny and be coated thinly in a fragrant, orange-scented toffee.

  • Remove to a plate and cool.
  • Unspring the cake and transfer to a cake stand or plate; I am brave enough to take it off its base sometimes, but don’t if you’re scared. Remember this cake, however intense and elegant within, has a rather ramshackle rustic appearance on the outside.
  • (My cake was curved at the top and a bit crumby, I flipped mine over, which I think looks more enticing)

  • Scatter with the almonds, mainly letting them pile up in the centre of the cake, but drop a few here and there all over the top. And serve with the cointreau cream.
  • My cake did not look anything like the picture, it wasn’t as ‘stable’, but it tasted like a dream. I dropped off slices to family, and to our neighbour with a variety of double cream, whipped cream and custard.

    If you give this recipe a go please let me know!

    Kaya •

    Blogmas 2020

    Blogmas – Boxing day at home

    Good morning friends,

    I hope this holiday season is treating you all well.

    Most boxing days are spend with family and friends, with a buffet of Turkey and stuffing sandwich’s, board games, kids showing their new toys and bikes, and maybe a trip to town for the sales to pick up a few more treats.

    Although this Boxing Day had non of the above, we made it our own, and still had a wonderful time.

    After a long lie in, we had left over stuffing, pigs in blankets, and apple sauce in breakfast wraps with a few roasties. My goodness.

    We spent a few hours cleaning the house, with Christmas movies playing in the background, and countless cups of tea!

    For lunch we had a cheese board with home made sour dough loaf, crackers, Christmas cheeses, and more pigs in blankets.

    We always seem to over buy on cheese at Christmas, not that this is a negative, in the slightest, but it’s hard to know when to stop!

    After lunch we made a few calls to family and friends to catch up, and I did a little online boxing day sale shopping.

    The weather’s been so cold, wet and windy and today, we decided to snuggle up in Bed and watch a bit of Wallace and Gromit… well, that was the intention.

    2 hours later, we woke up after an unexpected nap? All of a sudden it was 5pm, dark outside, and feeling a little confused.

    For the rest of the evening we played a few video games, The Graham Norton show, researched Wallace and Gromit and ate handfuls of chocolate coins

    Why do they always taste better in coin form?

    No dinner was needed, we were stuffed to the brim and about ready for bed again by 11.

    How did you spend your boxing day?

    Kaya •

    Blogmas 2020, Cooking at home with Kaya

    Blogmas – Christmas Day Cooking

    Good morning friends,

    Christmas day for as long as I can remember is all about seeing family and friends, as many as you can cram into one day.

    Multiple minced pies, crackers pulled and countless cups of tea. Well, we partly did that!

    We had a relaxing morning, opening presents, listening to Christmas music

    We only had a light breakfast and cuppa’s during the day, ready for our festive feast.

    We social distanced with family, face timed and called loved ones.

    And for the first time ever, I cooked Christmas dinner. In years past I would have assisted here and there, but this year I cooked Christmas dinner and all the trimming, and absolutely loved it.

    I seasoned the chicken, I went rogue, shocker, taking it out every 25 minutes or so to baste it, as add the roast potatoes that seasoned in the juices, all was cooked to perfection.

    I minted the lamb chops and smoothered the carrots and parsnips so that they were honey roasted.

    Pigs in blankets were another ‘must’.

    I had to be clever with the arranging of the trays, the doubling up and timings, but all went to plan

    I over cooked, as we will have meat and stuffing sandwiches, chicken curry, chicken soup etc for meals through out the next couple of days

    After dinner, and a sit down all was packed away ready for the next couple of days, watched Home Alone and had a tipple

    Is it just my family tradition, or does everyone cook a little extra for the coming days?

    I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas X

    Kaya •

    Blogmas 2020, subscription box

    Blogmas – FabFitFun Winter Edition

    Good evening friends,

    Yesterday we looked at the Autumn FabFitFun, which I loved, today I’m writing about the Winter Fabfitfun

    Each box contains 8 full sized seasonal items with a mixture of beauty, home, fitness and fun.

    All members can select 3 of the 8 items, with the option to upgrade and select up to 5 items, with early delivery, and a discounted price of paid for the yearly subscription.

    Lilly Pulitzer™ Ceramic Mugs (Set of 2) RRP $42.00
    These mugs were one of my choice items, and I didn’t have to take a second to select them. How vibrant, deep and beautiful are these mugs?
    For a winter box, I’d imagine warmer tones, but do think they look lovely for all year round, perfect for a fresh winter morning.

    Mobile White® Advanced Teeth Whitening Kit $89.99

    I jumped back and forth with this product. I’ve tried teeth whitening strip’s before, but never really seen a difference and haven’t been that bothered, but never been tempted by a teeth whitening kit.

    This teeth whitening kit comes with 4 gel solutions, and plugs straight into your mobile phone. How odd but clever. I’ll be sure to give this a go, and let you know what I think of it.

    Laura Geller® Cinnamon + Spice Eyeshadow Palette RRP $45.00

    First off, I love the name Cinnamon and Spice!

    A soft pink, orange and brown, 12 pan pallette with a mix of Shimmers and matte shades for day and night looks. This pallette would be perfect for someone who plays with neutral shades, and would like a little extra sparkle, with a added bonus of a decent sized mirror in the compact.

    I have a few pallets with similar colours on the go, so wont swatch this yet, but sure I’ll get alot of use out of it by spring.

    The next other 5 items were selected at random by Fabfitfun, but I’m thrilled with them all.

    TULA SKINCARE Rose Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm RRP $30.00

    This cool balm glides on the skin without tugging and can be used under or on top of make up. I’ve been using under make up, and can’t say I’ve noticed a glow yet, but my under eyes are smoothed, and my concealer does sit under my eyes better, than before without creasing or caking.

    eparé® Cutting Board (Set of 4) RRP $19.95

    This item seemed a bit odd,but once I unwrapped it, I was actually really happy to receive them. These cutting boards are practical, space saving, hygienic, flexible and easy to clean

    B-Low The Belt Croc Card Case RRP $35.00
    If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of any animal print or texture, but this card case is gorgeous. I love the colour, and how small and convinient it is.

    This year, more than ever, like most people, have gone on more walks than I can count. It’s easy to throw a card and a bit of cash in this pouch, whilst out and about without lugging around a handbag, keeping it chic and simple

    Daily Concepts® Daily Facial Dry Brush RRP $20.00

    This Nylon bristles, Beechwood handle, cotton cord brush is used on clean dry skin to exfoliate and tone your face and neck.
    I haven’t used a brush like this before, but it’s extremely satisfying. I thought this may be a little rough and harsh, but it wasn’t at all. I’ve only been using this for a few days, so can’t yet confirm if my face has become more toned but it is definitely softer and smoother.

    Aesthetica Liquid Eyeliner RRP $21.00

    This black liquid liner is Paraben-free, Gluten-free, Vegan and Cruelty-free
    Although a black liquid liner may not seem like the most exciting item to receive, but it’s a staple in my beauty bag, so I was happy to receive it.

    A sharp tip, gives a precise, long wearing, black cat eye that is long lasting.

    $21 is more than I’d pay for a black liquid liner, but I can’t fault this product.

    I’m thrilled with my winter box, and am certain to use every product.

    As I said in my last blog, I understand how some people can be disappointed with what they receive, but for £60, of strongly recommend this subscription box!

    Kaya •

    Blogmas 2020

    Blogmas – Spa Day

    Good afternoon friends,

    Saturday was wonderful but hectic, working until 12, then rushing to the spa, then a night out, for a moment it felt like it should be, the excitement of being rushed off your feet, out and about and making the most of your weekend.

    My best friend Callum and I have had a few spa days together over the past couple of years, and jumped at the chance when we saw a deal for a spa day at The Lakeside

    For £90 between us, we had booked for use of the spa, a Elemis 20 minute back, next and shoulder massage each, and a afternoon tea.

    £45 each for lunch, a massage and to drift away for a few hours was worth every penny

    They had dressed the lakeside beautifully for Christmas. I always think it is a beautiful spa, but with the added Christmas trees and sparkling lights, it made it that little bit more wonderful.

    There was a wedding that was held there at the same time, but we didn’t get a glimpse of it at all, as they were in another part of the building, but I can see the appeal.

    Our spa afternoon started with lunch, a gorgeous variety of finger sandwiches, scones, fruit and plain, with clotted cream and jam, and mini cakes. Along with a shared pot of tea and a couple of pink gins, we were settled and relaxed

    After lunch we got changed and relaxed in the bubble lounge before being led to our rooms for a massage.

    My massause had magical hands, the warm oil and relaxing music had me struggling to stay awake. It was incredible

    After our massages we spent some time in the outdoor hot tub, indoor jacuzzi, pool, and steam room, all whilst having a good old catch up.

    I was a little skeptical at first, due to Covid, but there were limited people in each area, booking times were spaced out, and the spa looked clean and felt safe.

    I am thankful for a escape, with a friend, even if it was just for a few hours

    Kaya •

    Blogmas 2020

    Blogmas – Christmas Jumper Day 2020

    Good afternoon friends,

    Last Friday, 11th December was Christmas Jumper Day.

    (Excuse the tired eyes in the picture)

    Each year, whether at school, work, or just at home, the date rolls round where everyone pulls out their Christmas Jumper.

    This day isn’t just about getting into the Christmas spirit – alot of people don’t know the reason behind Christmas Jumper Day, and why we donate our £2’s each year.

    For the past 8 years, Save the Children Cause ask for donations, and have raised an incredible £2.2 billion dollars.

    Although the day has passed, you can still hold your own Christmas Jumper day, with family, friends, work or by zoom.

    You can wear a Christmas jumper, T shirt, tie or make your own? (And if it looks awful, then you can label it a ugly Christmas jumper??)

    Whatever you do, and how ever you much you can donate, it’s the thought that counts.

    I forgot to donate at work, instead donated online, quick,easy, and not bombarded with follow up questions.

    ‘EMERGENCIES

    We make sure we can be there to help when children need us most. We have appeals running for Coronavirus, as well as in Yemen and Syria. Our response to the Beirut explosion is set up to provide support immediately through money raised for our emergency fund (read more about the fund here). Whether children are at risk due to conflict or natural disasters, we make sure we’re there providing all we can to ease their suffering and help them to recover.
    Take a look at the work we did with donations for our Cyclone Idai appeal.

    AROUND THE WORLD

    Last year, the Save the Children movement operated in 117 countries around the world, providing unique care and attention to each child we encounter based on their specific needs.
    Whether that is vaccinating children in remote regions, providing anti-biotics for Pneumonia treatment, setting up temporary learning centres after natural disasters strike, or working to bring British children home from Syria, we do all we can to support them.

    OUR UK WORK

    We are hugely proud of the work we have done in the UK, but also recognise we have a long way to go.
    We work in homes, nurseries, schools and communities to narrow the gap between children living in poverty and their better off classmates.
    When COVID-19 hit, UK children’s lives turned upside down. To help, we started an Emergency Grant for families worst affected. Already, the grant has helped over 9,000 families. But there’s more to do. ‘

    To help the cause, as well as wearing your jumper and donating, you can Can volunteer, and as always, raising awareness and spreading the message is extremely important, to keep this incredibly charity going.

    Kaya •

    Blogmas 2020

    Blogmas – make your own wax melts

    Good morning friends,

    For years I have thrown away glass jarred candles with tons of wax still intact.

    The other day, I saw a video online of someone heating the jar, melting the wax, and creating their own layered candle. To be honest, that sounded like a great idea, although, I don’t want to buy wicks as I don’t think I’ll use them as often, and will just go round in circles with there always being left over wax.

    Instead, I thought I’d make my own style ‘wax melts’

    All you need is –

    Near to empty candles

    1 fork

    1 saucepan (filled with boiling water)

    Small containers/ice trays – (can be purchased in multipacks from Poundland/B&M)

    I have a few candles of warm winter and floral scents that I’m planning to melt down.

    Simply fill a small saucepan half way with boiling water and place the candle on a medium heat for 10 minutes

    Every few minutes, I carefully broke up the wax with a fork and stirred.

    Once melted, I poured the wax into the ice cube trays and small tubs.

    For the winter scents, I filled the small tubs half way, and layered them with both scents.

    To add a little something extra, I sprinkled glitter into the wax as it was cooling.

    After about 30 minutes, the melts easily popped out of the tubs.

    These are quick and easy to make, and can be kept for yourself or given as a gift at Christmas.

    I know that to buy professionally made wax melts aren’t too expensive, but why not give this a go if you have the resourses at home?

    Kaya •

    Blogmas 2020

    Blogmas – W7 Advent Calender – Tried and tested Make up review

    Good evening friends,

    A few days ago I posted the contents of the W7 Advent Calender.

    The calender contained a variety of shades of lip and eye products, which I created 3 seasonal looks with.

    Apart from foundation, concealer and an eyebrow pencil, all other products were taken from the calender.

    To create my 3 looks, I used the items below –

    • Mini Big Lash Mascara (Black)
    • Mega Matte Lip Liner Red, Pink
    • King Kohl Eyeliner Black, Brown and Blue
    • Mini Mega Matte
    • Mini Glowcomotion Highlighter
    • Mini Honolulu Bronzer
    • Mini Cheeky Flusher
    • Mini Banana Dreams
    • Mini Beam Me Up Illuminator
    • Loose Glitter Pigment Pots Super Silver, Gilded Gold and Pretty Pink

    First look – Gold glitter, nude lips and a navy eye liner.

    This is a quick and easy, subtle soft glam look for the season

    Second look – Pink glitter, pink lips, cheeky fluster blush.

    A strong but pretty pink look, a little different for Christmas. Pinks are normally saved for spring/summer, but I love the thought of a warm pink look at winter.

    Look three – Classic Christmas look, silver glitter, red lips and black liner.

    This is the most striking, and and common Christmas make up. I can’t say I was massively keen on the thought of silver glitter eyes, but once I added the red lip, I loved it!

    To my surprise, I think the silver and red look may be my favourite.

    I was impressed with all of the products used, apart from the eye liners.

    For each look I used a different eye liner, but they didn’t show up well, and were hard, without being able to easily smudge.

    I was unsure if the glitter was intended for the eyes, could possibly be used for your nails? It doesn’t specify what to use them for and if you should or shouldn’t put these on your eyes or skin, but I had tested on my hand and there was no irritation.

    I dabbed a bit of the the ‘bean me up illuminator’ on my eye lids before applying the glitter to give a bit of tac.

    I love the end result, but there was so much fall out…Glitter everywhere! All over my face, body, clothes, hair, desk and carpet.

    It’s to be expected at Christmas I guess?

    Which was your favourite look?

    Kaya •