A very long day to finish what should be the work week, but it isn't, as I am working tomorrow. No hard feelings, really, it is inevitable. However, after a long Friday, if it is the end of the work week or not, there is only 2 things that should be served up for dinner: taco or nachos. Both make me happy.
All I want for Christmas! This is basically my Christmas wishlist in one, dear family take note. First up is the Katie coin pouch from Marc by Marc Jacobs because it is cute, I would also love one of the Bobble bottles to carry with me and take to work so I don't forget to drink water. I have wanted this David Levinthal photo for ages but I can't justify getting it just yet and I have run out of my all time favourite perfume, Balenciaga Paris so that is on the list, and it is also fairly important that I get this for Christmas. You read me here? The Chloe April Duffel is more about needing than wanting, at least I tell myself that, and who doesn't want a gold coloured cutlery set? London is the capital of rain, that's why the Hunters are on the list and I need the coffee cup for the new Nespresso machine I am wishing for. That's all folks. Or is it? Someone (me) will be one year closer to 30 in the end of January, I'm saving some of the wilder wishes for then.
I know, you love the title? I do too. This is apple crumble, made healthier and served with yoghurt for breakfast. And the reason this was made, is basically because breakfast was boring, and that needed to change. All love to porridge, but not every day, 365 days a year.
It's basically a crumble with fresh apples topped with a granola style mix. I made my own version of this recipe right here and it was very good. I had this for breakfast for a whole week and it was surprisingly filling and kept me going all the way until lunch without getting hungry, which rarely happens.
The saddest day was when the pan was empty and I was holding the oats, ready for porridge again. I think I will have to make this over the weekend again, just so I can feel excited about breakfast.
Around Christmas time (December 1st on Saturday), John Lewis here in the UK find a great artist, and a great song and spend a lot of time developing the concept of their Christmas ad. Last year it was the cutest little boy waiting for Christmas to come around so that he could finally give his present to his parents. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. This year it is all about how far we go to find the perfect present, and it is as cute as ever. I haven't actually seen it on TV yet, I just happened to read about it in the news, so while I am sure I will be happy when it stops running after Christmas, right now I still find it very charming. Watch it above (even you mum), and the other years are here if you are interested.
Today is a good day. If I close my eyes and stay inside. It is of course raining, what would London be without it? Probably pretty great. So to cheer myself up, I am trying these little treats that I picked up in the Harvey Nichols Food Hall. Although I am staying true to Selfridges, my one and only department store love, I believe it is healthy to get out there and have a little look at the opportunities. Therefore I don't feel bad at all when I say that I really like the Harvey Nic's Food Hall, I think it might be my favourite. And those popped chips shaped like tortillas we
If there is one thing I have a problem turning down, it is cheese. And melting it makes it even more difficult to turn this stuff down. No wonder I had a good time studying in Switzerland, a country that is known for cheese, chocolate and expensive watches. I like all of those. Raclette is for me extremely Swiss, although I grew up having this a couple times a year. My family even had a raclette machine. Yes, they exist The one I remember is round, and every time it came out, something good was happening. I have only good memories tied to my childhood raclette. With time spent in Switzerland, naturally Swiss friends come as a part of the package deal, and these Swiss friends know how to do their melted cheese. We are a small group of alumni from the same university who now live in London and we do the occasional Swiss things, like a fondue evening last year and now we followed up with raclette. Melted cheese feels better in the winter for some reason, maybe it is because there are few threats of bikini season coming up. Maybe it's the cold weather. Whatever it is I am ready to embrace it.
We started with a very un-Swiss starter, bruschetta, but it is fairly light and also has some vegetable on there. And let's face it, if we left it to the Swiss, we would probably have had some other type of cheese to start off. Raclette should come with boiled potatoes and cornichons, other than that it's normal to add meat and some vegetables to balance out all the heavy cheese. But if you would want to go for just the cheese, no one will judge you! Although you would probably be better off with a serious cheese fondue. Basically bread and cheese, can that go wrong?
Surprisingly enough I managed to stay sane and not go for that last portion of cheese, which is highly recommended. So is drinking alcohol and warm tea, cold drinks will make the cheese harden in your tummy and it's known to be quite uncomfortable. Don't do it.
As I mentioned last week, no one really loves Mondays, but here is another one. Let's make the most out of it! I am really going to the gym this morning, I want to feel healthy after all the delicious cake I ate yesterday. Nothing wrong with that. And I am padlocking my wallet shut or maybe even leaving it at home so that I can't spend any money. I had an online shopping accident yesterday. Maybe a whole day of relaxing is not good for me in the end? I have learned that if you are working it is a lot more difficult to spend serious money, unless you work in Selfridges, which would be both a good and a very bad
Today is dedicated to extreme relaxation. Busy weeks should result in relaxing Sundays. Turn off your phone and put down the computer (although I am on mine right now...). Just do something relaxing and spend the day in your PJ's. I got up this morning, showered, and jumped straight in to a pair of clean PJ's, camped on the couch and put on The Food Network on TV. I have been here since, only taking breaks to make tea or find something to eat. And I will be staying the whole day, my goal is to spend the day in PJ's. Hope you are having a Happy Sunday as well!
So, as I mentioned in the last post, Advent calendars, it's a challenge. I always like to make my own, with some years being more successful than others: last year I made a last minute "Norwegian Dictionary" for the boyfriend, not a success. The clue is in the planning, and if you haven't planned a homemade calendar yet, just give yourself a break, let it be and go for a purchased one. And I'm not thinking about the £1 Poundland/Iceland/Sainsbury's ones, there are plenty of fun options out there.
Hotel Chocolat has made a Truffles for 2 advent calendar. Perfect for couples who like to share, single people who like chocolate or a couple where one person hates chocolate and the other part has to eat both truffles on their own. I wish that was me. Or just buy two and pretend it was never meant to be shared in the first place.
One for the grown ups, this is basically gin every day, not great for alcoholics or people that have to go to work, but maybe make it a tradition to open this one in the evening? Then the mini bottles can be enjoyed after dinner and double as a sleeping aid for those who find it difficult to go to sleep.
The kids shouldn't really be hitting the gin, so get them a LEGO calendar instead. They come in different varieties (Star Wars is one of them) and they aren't that expensive. If my homemade version doesn't work out, I might get this for the boyfriend and then I can enjoy opening it ever day!
Last up is a series of short stories (yes, it's a book!) that are meant to give you tips to slow down during the advent period. Read one story a day and learn how to enjoy the run up to Christmas. Perfect for a stressed out mum who starts the Christmas planning two months early and still never finishes on time.
It's time to get creative for christmas, have you planned your advent calendar yet? Didn't think so, there is still time though, so get out there! This is a bit easier, you just need some felt (which you can get on ebay, same with the ribbon) ribbon, needle, thread and scissors. And of course your creative spirit, bring it on.
If you haven't made any of these before then this might be a bit of a challenge, but normally it is dead easy, you just have to try. Fold a piece of felt in half and cut it to look like the above with slits to the bottom, I have done 3 per piece of felt but you can choose yourself how many you want to do. Do the same with another piece of felt, it's nice if the felt colours are different. The three slits to the bottom of the folded felt will be braided into each other, so the slits should be the same length on both pieces of felt.
Start braiding the two pieces of felt together, it should look a bit like the above, and continue until all the fabric parts are intertwined. IT will look like the picture below. Don't worry, we aren't done yet.
Pull and smooth out the felt until it looks like a professionally made heart that you can be proud of. Then sew/glue on some ribbon so that you can hang it somewhere. Like your front door, on the Christmas tree (hiding emergency treats for one of those days when you desperately need it) or pinned to the fridge. Mine is now on a banana hanger, waiting for the tree to arrive. It brings the Christmas spirit with it. Promise.
I'm Christine and I currently live in London with my husband where I do my best to go to as many restaurants as possible, bake, DIY and occasionally let my hair down and go to a museum. x