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The Cake That Made Christmas | Whitworths

Tuesday, 20 December 2016
My favourite part about Christmas, is always being around friends and family, being surrounded by the people and things you love is exactly what Christmas is all about. It can be such an overwheleming time of year for so many people, what with the whole Christmas rush, buying presents, cards and trying to keep everyone happy, I think so many of us forget it shouldn't be that way. Sometimes we need to take a step back and see what really is important..

With that being said, today I'm working alongside Whitworths as part of the new #sharethelove campaign, to share with you their first Christmas e-book! Combining two of my personal favourite things, Christmas, and of course food to bring the family together in one easy to read book! 
Whitworths have been one of my go to baking products for years so i had no hesitation in getting involved with this project!

The Share The Love campaign is here to bring together families by, instead of buying a gift this Christmas #bakesomeone happy and take them a cake. All you need to do is upload your delicious concoction on to the Whitworths website for your chance to win a trip to London! Full details are over on the Whitworths website!

We were lucky enough to also land ourselves a hardback copy of the book, which has slotted in nicely with Abbie's current book collection! She's not one to sit still for too long so the fact it's a pretty short book works for both of us!



The Cake that made Christmas is a refreshing and festive read for the whole family, with some adorable illustrations and a precious storyline, not your typical Christmas book at all, it even taught me a little lesson and reminded me just what Christmas is suppose to be about, and stopped me stressing about presents and rushing around! It's definitely become our favourite book this Christmas!

And of course it wouldn't be Whitworths it there wasn't a recipe involved, right at the very end you can make the story come to life by baking up the exact cake inside, yummy! And don't worry, it's a super easy recipe for everyone to join in with!

For some more baking inspiration, pop over to Whitworths and see what you fancy!

To download The Cake that made Christmas e-book yourself, just click here
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Happy Christmas!

December

Monday, 12 December 2016
I can't believe we are coming to the end of another year! Feels like yesterday when I was writing up my new years resolutions, now i'm about to do it again! To say its been a crazy year would be an understatement, but it's also been one of the best in terms of productivity. I know how boring that sounds, but believe me, this year has helped me to begin a journey I've wanted to start for so long now!

I've been out and about lots this month already, to Christmas fairs and on days out, so I wanted to bring all my photos together for one big round up!

So as you now know, I came back from my trip to America at the end of November, and was reunited with my little beauty, who couldnt wipe the smile off her face for the next few days, so we decided to take some photos together which have turned out to be some of my favourites ever! I don't very often take them of us together, i'm usually the one behind the camera but I realised how much I need to be part of them too! Oh and we also had some of the coldest days in bloody years, getting down to -6! I'd just come back from it being normally cold, so it was a bit of a shock, but so pretty!




As soon as the 1st of this nonth hit, Abbie & I put the Christmas tree up, she wanted to be involved a lot more this time round and helped as best she could, we made the house look lovely and festive ready for the rest of the month! Although I keep finding new things to hang on the tree, firstly we made some Twirlywoo treedecorations from Abbie's magazine, then I bought a new glittery star for the top, then decided it needed candy canes, I then grabbed some £1 gold garland to wrap around the stairs and to sit on the fireplace, then the other night I decided we needed paper snowflakes to stick all over the walls, so I made a bunch of those too..necessities, obviously.



Last week I popped over to Bristol for the day, I forgot just how much there is to do there! I actually had my very first Pizza Express experience, that was after we'd wandered around the centre of Bristol looking for a particular restaurant, only to find they weren't open, before heading off to find another one using the crappy google maps app, which didn't even seem to exist..
So we decided to head back to where we started and it was definitely the right decision, the whole meal was delicious! Plus got to have a nice catch up with the bestie, which was needed!



Get ready to salivate..




How I didn't just dive in head first here I don't know..



Took my little munchkin out to one of her favourite parks too, what I love about the colder months is how we usually have the entire place to ourselves, Abbie gets free reign and even I get a turn on the see-saw with her ;). It was bloody freezing on that day, Abbie was wrapped up in all her layers and hat, but her little eyes were watering and my hands kept shutting off my iPhone because they were so cold! Anyone elses do that?



My diet for the past few weeks has mainly been chocolate, shortbread biscuits and hot chocolates, trying to be good FOR Christmas Day but things aren't going well on that front, January 1st I will be good as gold again, yes I will...



Last week I asked Abbie if she wanted to try on her Christmas dress, which was met with pure enthusiasm, so I took full advantage and grabbed my camera for a little photo session! It's so hard to get photos of her nowadays as she's always moving around but I did manage to get some sweet ones of her, definitely going in the photo album!




The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy again so I'll be updating my Instagram daily (click the little icon on the left of the screen). In the meantime I have a baking post and reviews to pop up here :).
Oh and before I leave..look who's on the main Butlins Facebook page..
My little babe!


Jess x



Travel | America

Saturday, 10 December 2016
Hello!!

Gosh it feels so strange to be blogging again, i've had a pretty crazy few months so blogging has been pushed to the very back of my mind! Sometimes you just need to take a few steps back for a while and give yourself a little break, putting pressure on yourself to write passionately when theres so much going on around you and you're ridicously busy, is not something you can force! 

I've been away for just under 3 months now, it's been a whirlwind 3 months but I am feeling motivated and festive with Christmas coming up and have lots of exciting things coming up which I can't wait to share with you!

So, a few months ago I wrote about stepping out of my comfort zone, which involved getting on a train with Abbie and going away for the night, a really big deal for me then. 

But almost 2 weeks ago, I completely outdid myself. 
I hopped on an airplane to my favourite place in the world, America, for a whole week! Not only was it my first time travelling completely by myself, but it was also my first time ever leaving Abbie overnight, but I knew she was in the best hands! 

The trip had been planned for some months, but due to recent unplanned events, I wasn't able to go, that was until two days before I was due to leave, when a bunch of my awesome friends and family encouraged me to go still! To be honest, the break was well overdue and despite all my anxieties, I knew I really did need to do this. What made this trip that little bit more special was finally meeting one of my oldest and best friends for the first time, ever! 10 years ago we first started talking so it was such an awesome and overdue thing to do!

So Saturday morning I made the decision to go still, and on the Monday morning I headed off to Heathrow! Eeek.




Things weren't smooth sailing going over there, the first flight was pretty turbulent, and I can't even talk about the food, I ate my bread roll, and luckily I'd bought some cakes for the journey so devoured those instead! Just as I was planning my next step, I got pulled in at customs and quizzed for an hour and a half by Homeland Security...Now, I've seen Homeland, so my expectations were pretty bloody scary, but of course it wasn't really anything like that at all, thank god. Naturally I was anxious, despite the fact I knew I'd done absolutely nothing wrong, they searched through all my luggage, also handed me a permit so they could look through my phone and also tried contacting the person I was staying with, just to make sure my story added up. Although they were all pretty stern I must add how lovely they were too (just adding that incase they read this...) haha but no seriously, they were genuinely just looking out for me and even helped me to my next flight...

Because of all that, I almost missed my connecting flight, I had to run to my gate, somehow lost my boarding pass along the way, managed to get it reprinted just as they announced we were boarding, phew right? No. Got on the plane, only for it to circle the runway for half hour before being told maintenance were coming as there was an issue with the plane, were then told they couldn't fix the issue, so we all had to get off the plane and wait, at this point I'd been awake for about 24 hours (couldnt sleep on the plane annoyingly), so I was grumpy and a bit spaced out, turns out i'm pretty fiesty when i'm super fricking tired, so apologies to the flight attendant and 4 airport staff I moaned and snapped at..Luckily we were all called back on our little plane, where my body finally gave in to the deliriousness and I slept until we were just about to land!


I don't know what it is about America, I just feel such a connection to it, I've mentioned in some previous posts, ever since I watched Home Alone 2 back when I was 9, I just wanted to be there. That's why visiting New York back in 2009 was a dream come true for me. But this time I was in a completely different area and it felt just like home!

It took me a day or so to get used to the time difference, for some reason I get jet lag going places rather than coming back.. But once I'd adjusted, I did what any parent without their child did, I SLEPT! ALL NIGHT, I didnt think that was possible for me ever again. God it felt good! Zzzz

I got a little too excited about going to Walmart and Target, such typical American shops you hear people talk about, it's odd though because if someone from over there got excited about going into Asda, I'd be a bit taken aback..You should've seen my face when we walked into one shop, Christmas decorations galore!! It's pretty much what I imagine heaven to look like! Shelves from top to toe with wreaths, fairy lights, Christmas trees, Santa's, candles, literally everything. How I didnt buy one of everything I don't know! I mean the highlight for me was the huge jars of Nutella, never in my life have I seen such beauty..


I celebrated my first ever Thanksgiving! Boy, Americans sure know how to make you feel welcome and warm and fuzzy! The food was delicious, the people were amazing and I haven't laughed quite so much in a long time! Oh and I also had my first glass of wine in years, went straight to my head, great job Jess! Plus I made some Oreo Truffles for everyone which I have to say, were bloody delicious..



Have you ever been to an American cinema? 
Well this was my first time but LOOK, look at those seats! I swear I felt like a rich celebrity sitting in my own private cinema room in my house, red leather seats, that RECLINE, can you tell how excited I am about this? I practically led down for the entire movie, which by the way, was amazing, if anyone is thinking of going to see Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, do it, it's the best film i've seen this year! So definitely go! Also, the size of the drinks..I know we ordered large but blimey, you kinda needed 2 hands just to carry it!




FOOD! Everything tastes so much better over there, even down to the bread, the amount of peanut butter sandwiches I had was ridiculous! I know it's not as good for you as the food over here but sometimes it's so nice to relax and eat whatever you want!
We popped out to a proper lovely pizza restaurant, the whole atmosphere just lifted you right up, the football was on the TV, the people were so jolly and bubbly, and the pizza...my god the pizza, the cheese, i'm actually salivating just thinking about it again..If it was acceptable i'd probably just eat there every single day I was there..


Have any of you ever heard of something called disc golf? It's exactly what is sounds like! Basically you have frisbees, you're on this large green which branches off into the woods and past brooks, and you have to launch your disc and try and get it into the basket at the other end..Obviously I was utterly shit, something like 24 over par, (it's the taking part that counts thank you..). I did think it was gonna be easier than what it was, turns out I have no arm strength whatsoever so took me twice as long to get it anywhere near the basket, however I'm pretty sure I did hit par on one, so I call that an achievement. Hopefully i'll be better next time, although lets be honest, I can't get much worse..
It was also the perfect spot for some lovely autumnal looking photos, any photographers heaven!





I think what I enjoyed the most was being able to completely relax, something I've not done for 4 years,   this year i've really started to find myself again, and it's been such an amazing thing. To be able to just sit and watch TV, stroll out of bed whenever I wanted to, and to put myself first, I'm so content just curled up on the sofa, watching Netflix and doing absolutely nothing, which is exactly what I did on a few days. Oh and can I mention how nice it was to have a bath or shower without having a child shoving all her toys in there and/or jumping in with me? I also didn't have to share any of my food either...



And as quickly as the holiday started, it came to an end, it was pretty bittersweet having to leave, it went far too quickly! Luckily the journey back to England was much smoother, even if I did walk the entire course of the airport in Atlanta to baggage claim, only to be told my luggage had gone straight to London and I didn't even need to collect it..thank god for there being a train or I would have missed my connecting flight! 

Considering it was pretty much bedtime on the plane, I managed to sleep for a good 4 hours, meaning I wasn't arriving home feeling like crap! Again the food was questionable, the sticker on my meal stated "Pure veg" but upon inspection I wasn't convinced...cucumber stuffed bread roll was my evening meal that night! Yum....



I had such a lovely time away, it's given me the motivation I really needed, one of my new years resolution for 2016 was to go abroad and say yes more, so I'm so proud of myself for actually doing this. I know this is gonna sound a little cheesy but I feel like me again and it's amazing. Surrounding yourself with positive and happy people really is all you need, from there you really can do anything. 

For those of you wondering, Abbie had a blast without me, not only did she sleep through every night but once (yes she still wakes up for me), she had the greatest time with her favourite bunch of people! I'd decided that unless she asked for me or got upset, we weren't going to FaceTime or anything, I didn't want her to be fine then possibly get stressed seeing me, as it turns out she didn't ask for me once, and greeted me with the biggest smile and cuddle when I got back, it was just awesome!

Until next time America..
Happy Christmas!

Jess x


4th Birthday, Peppa Pig World & Being Poorly

Saturday, 24 September 2016
I have a FOUR year old, I can't believe it, this year has flown by!
I remember counting in weeks how old she was when she was first born, couldn't believe how slow time was going on my sleep deprived state and wished time would hurry up just a little bit so I could start to get just a little bit more sleep! 

Saturday night once she was in bed, I decorated the fireplace and living room as I do every year, balloons, bunting, presents, more balloons and made sure everything looked perfect for her! After a busy few days of planning before too, I actually got into bed myself at 9.30 and that was it till the morning!

As always she woke up with a smile on her face, we had our usual morning snuggles and she asked if we could go downstairs, I asked her if she wanted to open some presents and see all the balloons, she was VERY excited about both! And for the first year EVER, she actually opened ALL her presents herself, the pure happiness on her face as this is the first time she's understanding this is HER BIRTHDAY! She got so many lovely presents, including a Woody & Jessie doll, Ukulele, many many puzzles and her current favourite book she's watched on CBeebies story time, Frederick, she's able to read the whole thing out to me too!

She played all day, with her toys and games and had such a lovely time! Little did she know we were off to Peppa Pig world the next day to carry on the fun!

Monday started off well, we hopped on our train to Paultons Park, traffic was a nightmare on the drive to it too, but we did it. We were expecting it to rain a little bit, turns out it was going to rain the ENTIRE time, a bit of a pain in the arse actually, but what can you do? So in true Peppa spirit we embraced the "muddy puddles" and got completely soaked, yay?

Abbie's mood suddenly changed and I wasnt sure why, so we decided to get the train an hour earlier than planned as she was clearly feeling poorly! We sat in the waiting room where she then threw up, I totally wasn't prepared so just held my hand out for her to be sick into, a lovely guy then came over and handed me a load of tissue and some baby wipes too (there really are some lovely people out there!), and we headed home on the train!

To cut a long story short, took her to the doctors who were actually really lovely, they guessed it would probably just be a bug but to keep an eye on her...so off we went, back home where she then decided to nap for over 4 hours! It's now Saturday and she's just beginning to be Abbie again, poor thing, it really did take the wind from under her. Hopefully we won't have one of these for a long time (or possibly ever, please) ;) Despite the poorlyness, Abbie had a fab Birthday and got lots of lovely presents, next year she will be celebrating her 5th Birthday at SCHOOL ahhhh!

I'll write another post specifically on an update on Abbie, theres quite a few differences since her third birthday so will be fun to compare the two ages!

In the meantime, here are a bunch of photos from Abbie's birthday weekend!



























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