Christmas Cookies.

I haven’t done a blog bake for SO long!!! But finally, I managed to scrape something together in time for Christmas. Today I’m sharing a really easy Christmas cookie recipe. These are basically vanilla biscuits, but the fab thing about them is not only are they easy, but you could decorate them a little fancy and give as beautiful handmade gifts or you could rope the kids in as a little Christmas Eve activity – get some delicious homemade biscuits under that tree for Santa!

Anyway, so simplicity, below you’ll find just how to make them.

 

 

 

What you’ll need:

  • 325g plain flour
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g of chocolate drops
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

* These quantities will make roughly 24 biscuits.*

 

 

And here’s how to make them:

 

Firstly, tip your butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and give it a good whizz up.

Second, add your eggs and vanilla before giving another stir.

Next pour in half of your flour, combine, then add in the second half.

Then tip in your chocolate chips.

Give it all a good mix, before tipping out onto cling film.

Wrap your dough nice and snugly, before placing into the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

Once your dough has become nice and hard. Simply sprinkle your side with a little plain flour and roll out your dough to about 5mm thick.

Using any cookie cutters (I’ve gone with stars) cut out your biscuits and place on a baking paper lined baking tray.

Place your cookies on the middle shelf of your oven, bake at 160 (fan) for roughly 20 minutes or until golden.

When it comes to decorating you can be as fancy – or simple- as you like! These biscuits are melt in the mouth delicious. So I kept it super simple with only a dusting of icing sugar. However,, the girls wanted to give some out to their teachers and so they decorated them with a little melted chocolate and some sprinkles (you can see the mess they made over on my instagram stories!).

Easy as that!

 

 

 

They really are SO easy to make up. Its the perfect Christmas Eve activity with the kids if you’re stuck for something to do this weekend. Talking of this weekend, its only Christmas isnt it! – like you didn’t know! Ha – I hope you’re all a little more organised than I am. The year for the first time in over 7 years I am not making Christmas dinner! Instead we’ll be heading over to my mother-in-laws for the day, I think because I’ve not had to plan this big fancy meal for everyone I’ve just kind of bumbled my way through December thinking I’ve got load of time left! So, I’ll be spending this weekend running round like a headless chicken!

 

Anyway, have a happy Christmas readers, however your spending it! I’ll be back next week with a little look into our celebrations, plus some New Years news about the blog. Exciting!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

Winter wonderland.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, tra-la-la-la – la, la- la – la – la. …. You know the rest!

So here  we are! Its the week before Christmas and the festivities are stepping up a gear round about now! I wont lie, I’ve mentally checked out. I tried to fit as much work as possible into last week, so this week is pretty much just tidying up those loose ends ready to spend the rest of the month eating and being merry. However, sticking with my promise of re-connecting with the blog this month – I’ve still got plenty of posts to come before 2017 is over! Starting with todays, which is all about our visit to Prestons winter wonderland.

 

 

I love how magical this time of year is for them, but I’m also super aware of how long – realistically – I have left of these magical Christmases, before it becomes all moody teenagers and no one believing in Father Christmas. So I’m desperate to squeeze every last little Christmas drip from every year.

So on Saturday, we made our way down to town to visit Prestons very own winter wonderland.

We started off by being separated into smaller groups – which was a very good decision on the organisers part. This meant the children all got enough time in each tent. We started in the Elf workshop, where the girls decorated some baubles. Then it was over to make reindeer food in another tent. From there we visited Mrs Christmas to decorate biscuits and then over to meet Father Christmas, practicing some circus tricks whilst we waited.

All in all it really was a festive way to spend Saturday morning. The staff worked tirelessly to keep the children entertained, the only things that really did irritate me a little was the stampede of Parents (yes actual grown adults) pushing past younger children to get theirs into the next tent first – but that really wasn’t a fault of the organisers, just humanity in general. Ha. It was also a little bare. Not much in the form of atmosphere, maybe a little Christmas music, some more decorations, a snow machine. Something to just jazz it up a bit. We did after all pay £15 a ticket!  The girls however, were made up and that is the most important thing.

I think if they were to do this event the same

again next year I wouldn’t go, but with a couple of minor changes, it really could be something fabulous, I’d just remember to wrap up a bit warmer next time. Two degrees with only a thin Mac on, really wasn’t my brightest of ideas!

 

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Self care series: Simple skincare.

Winter is always the harshest season on my skin, and not even just because of the chopping and changing from freezing wind to drying out heating. Its mainly because of how many nights out are planned during the festive season. I’m not a massive make-up wearer. I spend at least 4 days out of the week completely make-up free and when I do wear it, its as simple as tinted moisturiser, concealer, mascara, blusher and maybe a gentle brush with an eyebrow pencil. When I -very rarely- go out on an evening, I like to get a little more glammed up. One of my friends is a make-up artist, so she does the majority of my ‘going out face’ she’s very aware of my hatred of anything to heavy, but y’know even the minimal look holds quite the job lot of products! Luckily I’ve developed my very own fail safe routine, so no matter how many times a week I’m make-up – ing up, I can keep it from being dry, chapped and prevent any breakouts.

My first port of call, is water, if I’m getting in after a night out, odds are I’ve had a fair few alcoholic drinks. Nothing starts a breakout for me, more than alcohol. The more sugary, the worse the breakout. I’ve learnt the best way to counteract this, is to drink as much water as possible from arriving home – going to sleep. (FYI – This also helps massively with the hangover! as does a good meal and some paracetamol before you go to sleep!) Anyway, from there I cleanse with my all time favourite moisturiser! Burts bee’s chamomile and soap bark creme cleanser. It smells like refresher sweets, lasts forever – not literally, obviously ha!- and seriously is the BEST cleanser I’ve ever used! Another brill tool to use is a Facial Cleansing brush. If your half asleep trying to take your make-up off, this takes away most of the effort. Just close your eyes and let the brush do the hard work!

 

That is pretty much my daily routine. I dont moisturise (It messes up the balance of my skin), I dont tone, or double cleanse, or use some super exclusive – eye wateringly expensive product, nothing high maintenance. Just a simple- yet super important cleanse.

Twice a week I use the body shops Himalayan Charcoal mud mask – which has an added exfoliant and is the best mask I’ve found since Lush took their Love lettuce of the market – still SO sad about that! And on the off chance I do get a spot, usually either hormone related or I’ve consumed too much sugar. I add a touch of sudocrem over the freshly cleansed area and leave it overnight. Repeat for 2 nights, one night off – that usually does the trick.

 

 

Simple as that!

I’m sure you were expecting this post to be piled high with ‘must buy’ products, but the truth is as decent cleanser and a hydrated life, is all it really takes to keep my skin happy.

 

 

 

How do you keep your skin happy? Any little tips or secret formulas that keep it in tip-top condition?

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

Level – A bloggers night out.

I remember The Guild hall when I was growing up, it was always a little shabby – but the gateway to the bus station (Preston bus station that is, if you’re not clued up on my home town.) With its Grahams for cheap Charlie deodrant, Hydes shop – the perfect spot to spend your pocket money! Gabbots farm shop, which was THE place to get a little cheeky Chinese chicken snack before catching the bus home and not forgetting the weigh shop – which was basically a shop full of bins, the bins were full of everything from sweets to washing powder, Bombay mix to dry dog food – a real eclectic mix. You’d scoop what you wanted into plastic bags, weigh them and buy them. I think that was probably my favourite – you’d get to use the machine and print of your sticker – it helped me live the dream of working in a sweet shop!

Anyway, life moved on – quickly and then one day after living out of Preston for quite a few years, we returned and ended up taking a little trip through town. The guild hall was derelict to say the least. I know there’s been a big problem with shops closing in town/city centres, but this was just so far beyond this. The once fully occupied mini-shopping centre was just empty, nearly every shop front dark, about three people just scurrying through, trying to get through to the bus station. It really was grim.

Flash forward to now, and earlier on in the week attended a pretty amazing launch of a complete new leisure complex in there. Level, holding a bowling alley, interactive darts, crazy golf course, karaoke booths, Later tag, Children’s and adults assault course.

The whole of The guild hall has been transformed by local business man Simon Rigby. From Review the bustling metropolitan cocktail bar, Villa Italia restaurant, there’s coffee shops, a Tapas restaurant, a newly opened ice cream parlour and now of course this new venture.

 

 

 

Though the entire unit isn’t fully finished yet, it still is pretty marvellous. The Bowling alley is really something special! Our only other local place to bowl Isn’t up to much, but this place is shiny and new. With its neon lights and leather seats, its high tech player sheet is pretty cool too – with a selfie function if just writing your name is a little to mainstream for you.

 

 

One of the more luxurious aspects to this as a bowling alley, is its private bowling party option. Entering through your own entrance, you have two lanes just for you, as well as large chesterfields to lounge one, fridges ready to be stocked for your party, a small stage, plus the option to connect your phone up to the sound system – if you fancy getting your own playlist on. It really is a treat.

 

Its not all about the bowling, another cool feature to this place – and actually so far my favourite activity here – is the interactive dartboards. Set in a more relaxed environment, just off the main room. You’ll find a cosy little section. The walls lined with warm wooden panels, holding a row of dart boards at one side, the rest of the room filled with a pool table and shuffleboard – which is also a lot of fun! And though the ‘interactive’ aspect is a little tricky to set up – the staff here can help you figure it out – once you get going, it is actually really simple. Even for a complete novice like myself (who actually ended up winning the game with a bullseye!!) its so much fun to play, the room itself is a much more relaxed area, somewhere you’d come after work for a quick drink and a de-stress with your mates.

 

 

And last but not least. The main hall. And I call it a hall, because it is just HUGE!  I didn’t actually get a number on how many people this place can seat, but I’ll just say its a lot. There’s seating everywhere, including a raised little diner style setup overlooking the bowling alleys. The food served here is from Mundo’s Street Kitchen – which if I’m not mistaken is a side business from the Mundo’s tapas bar – also in The guild hall. We were treated to a lovely selection of bites, I was a massive fan of their garlic & chilli prawns. YUM!

 

 

The decor of the place is hard to fit into any one box. It’s a little industrial, but soft. Its playful with some incredible wall murals painted by the very talented local Artist Shaun Sharpe, but its still got a grown- up vibe. Most importantly is that when you combine all of these elements together, you end up in a place where you can relax, enjoy yourself, wether its a family day out or a date night. After work drinks or a children’s party. This place caters to it all.

 

 

 

 

We really did have such a good night trying this place out, the only bad thing I can say, is that I want to see the rest of it! I’m most excited for these karaoke booths! But the adult assault courses that will be filling the top level is definitely going to be something special! I’ve had word that everything on every level is expected to be up and running by the 15th – or there abouts – of December. And its open today, if you fancy having a pop in to see what all the fuss is about first hand.

It truly is such a brilliant addition to the city.

 

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

If you want more information on the place you can find it over on their website or facebook page.

 

 

Home life project: December edition.

Its the very last month of 2017!! December, already! Seriously, the year is pretty much over! – I’m going to stop now, before I fill this entire post with exclamation marks.

But, here we all ready to finish up another year. I’ve really enjoyed taking part in the Home life project this year, I know the blogs been fairly quiet these past 12 months, but its just been so difficult to try and get this stuff organised, when my personal life has been so ridiculously chaotic. One of the constant things over here though has been this project – some months is been the only post. But truly its been a pleasure to shoot in the first weekend of every month.

Anyway, this months edition, I did have big plans to shoot our Saturday at the Manchester Christmas markets – but it turns out the first weekend after payday in December is absolutely not the time to go! It was so packed apparently, so we just gave it a miss. Instead – I just stuck to what I know best.. how to record a Sunday.

And thats what we did! We lazed, we watched cooking programmes, we ate delicious carb packed food. We did some Christmas crafts and the girls made a start on their Christmas lists. We didn’t really do much of anything, other than embrace the slow Sunday. This coming week is so beyond hectic with work, I knew I really needed to get the most. out of this lazy day.

Anyway, here it is… Decembers edition, complete with fairy light backdrops and all.

 

 

So, thats it. I’m not certain wether Clare will be continuing with this link up in 2018 – though I really do hope she does. Either way, I’ve been doing this project for 2 years now & I’ve learnt so much and captured so many memories. Its wonderful to look back on. Hopefully, I’ll back next month – which will also be next year! Do I say ‘ see you next year?’ ha, I’m such a child. – to start the #Homelifeproject 2018!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

The first day of Christmas.

Happy 1st December!

Its this time of year already, and though I’ve struggled to get into the festive spirit recently, today that all changed. Its like I woke up this morning and everything was different. Instead of grimacing under the stress of to-do lists, today I’ve been a cheery little elf, its been all about Christmas songs, organising, ticking off those to-do’s and finishing up the decorating.

I’m actually ready to enjoy this month, and I have got a fair few things coming up to enjoy – but more about that next week.

This year, I’ve broken a record, my own record. This year I haven’t bought one single new Christmas decoration. not one. But yet everything looks different. This, I know is down to the radiator cover re-style a month or so back, and the chair re-paint I did back in the summer. Everything feels much more together this year.

And while I’m talking things I haven’t done this year – be obsessive about the decorations is another. When I dragged everything out on Wednesday night, the girls were of course very excited. Instead of the usual “Its okay, mummy can do it” I just let them crack on. Granted I have had a teen, tiny faff about with those baubles since. but not a lot, really they did a good job!

As always, I’m embracing the traditional style this year.  Its just the style that gives me the most cosy, comforting, Christmassy feeling. I don’t think I’ll ever change it.

 

 

Happy first day of Christmas!!!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.