20.12

Cider-with-Rosie-Friday-happy-list

Good morning, from a very blustery Ireland! Jason and I are here for our friends’ wedding, and are especially excited because neither or us has ever visited the country before! Crazy really, considering how it’s so nearby. We’re actually flying home later today, and I’m excited to share some photos of our short stay here when I get back! But before I do that, here’s a mini round up of all the things that’ve made me most happy this week…

1. Mince pies for breakfast. Mince pies for lunch. Mince pies whenever I please, because it’s advent and who on earth cares?

2. Spotting partridges whilst out walking in the woods the other morning! It wasn’t quite ‘a partridge in a pear tree’ (instead, three birds went scattering after Teddy sniffed them out in the bracken and leapt at them…), but still, it felt very festive!

3. Switching on the tree lights in the morning. Always one of my favourite things about this time of year, hands down.

4. The jar of salted caramel sauce that’s been lingering in our fridge, after Jason used it whilst baking a cake for one of his team last week. I’ve been sneaking teaspoonfuls of it when my afternoon sugar craving hits, and it’s the BOMB.

5. Visiting the puppy! The little brown freckles that’ve started to come out on her nose are too adorable. But goodness ME, the fear of having a mischievous, un-trained, boisterous pup in the house again is starting to set in good and proper now!

6. Eight hour tea lights. Best invention ever, right?

7. Pizza night. Enough said, really.

8. That Neutrogena moisturiser I raved about in this video, which has stopped my skin going all dry and flaky like it normally does at this time of year. It’s a Godsend, truly!

9. Finding my tweezers, finally. My eyebrows are grateful.

10. Finding a dress in my wardrobe I’d completely forgotten about, which turned out to be just be perfect for this weekend’s wedding! I never usually do that since I like to keep my wardrobe limited to things I wear pretty regularly, so it was kind of a treat!

Three posts I’ve loved reading this week :: Sarah’s photos of New York || this recipe for salted dark chocolate popcorn on Cup of Jo || & Carrie’s photos from the wizarding world of Harry Potter!

Tell me, what’s made you happy this week? :)

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17.12

Cider-with-Rosie-Royal-Albert-Kings-College-Carols-10

H A R K   T H E   H E R A L D   A N G E L S   S I N G . . .

A few months ago, my Mum messaged my sister and I to let us know that, as a Christmas treat, she’d booked us all tickets to the King’s College Choir carol service at the Royal Albert Hall.

We’ve all loved the King’s College carols for as long as I can remember, and they’ve been part of our Christmas celebrations always.

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We arrived into a London early in the evening, and found it to be unseasonably mild yet seasonably sparkly.

Fairy lights lit up the trees along the roadsides, and wreaths hung on almost every front door we passed as we made our South Kensington station over to the Albert Hall. Dinner was eaten on the hoof, and comprised of a selection of M&S’s finest treats…

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I always feel as though the Royal Albert Hall is kind of hidden. It seems to be tucked away so well that it only appears at the last moment as you walk towards it, lit up though it is with warm orange lights.

Though of course, the lights outside were nothing to what was within…

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We took our seats in the hall, and, like almost everyone else there, spent a good ten minutes or so gazing in awe and snapping photo after photo of the beautiful trees either side of the organ.

It looks like scene from Hogwarts, don’t you think?

Though perhaps that’s just because I’m rereading HP and the Philosopher’s Stone at the moment, and have just got to the description of Great Hall and its twelve sparkling trees lit up with golden bubbles and real fairies…

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We found songsheets tucked between each of the seats and so warmed up our voices with a little discussion about our favourite Christmas carols, whilst the Philharmonic orchestra began to warmup on stage.

At 7.30 on the nose, the lights dimmed, and the King’s College choristers stood up ready to sing in the centre of the stage, with the Philharmonic choir to their left and right.

The opening notes of ‘Joy to the World’ began, and what followed was just…magic.

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Choral music often leaves me with a lump in my throat, but hearing it live like this was something else.

The voices of the choristers, some of whom looked so little they can’t have even reached a double-digit age yet, were so beautiful and angelic and haunting that my hair prickled and goosebumps came up on the backs of my arms.

The music seems to wrap around you, in that space, especially if you take a moment to close your eyes and feel it ringing around the hall.

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My favourite pieces from the night were ‘O Holy Night’, which was played with the full orchestra and has been my favourite piece of Christmas music for as long as I can remember, and ‘The Shepherds’ Carol’ which is my Mum’s favourite piece but was a new one to me.

The evening ended with three carols for us all to join in on- O Come All Ye Faithful, Good King Wenceslas, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. As we all sang, I noticed so many of the families sitting around us leaning closer to one another, heads on shoulders and hands holding hands.

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It made my throat tight, hearing 5000 people singing those familiar songs with their messages of love and peace, and feeling the festive spirit in the room.

It truly was something special.  

After the concert finished, Mum, Cesca and I nipped back across to Embankment, and then walked the final way back to Waterloo across the river, which, as I’ve said so many times before on this blog, is my favourite thing to do in London when I’ve got a little time on my hands.

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It was a pretty perfect evening, all in all.

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Posted in CHRISTMAS, FAMILY, LONDON

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15.12

Cider-with-Rosie-Broadway-market-6

A   V I S I T   T O   T H E   M A R K E T ,   &   F A I R Y   L I G H T S   A L L   A R O U N D . . .

I thought perhaps we’d begin this week with week with a walk-through of the weekend just gone, since it was an especially lovely and joyfully festive one. That sound okay? Okay, let’s get started…

~ ~

That right there, in the cover photo, is the greatest grilled cheese I’ve ever eaten. It came courtesy of Morty & Bob’s in Netil Market this weekend, where Tania, Freya and I met for lunch on Saturday afternoon.

So good in fact, that Molly looked on longingly whilst we ate…

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The girls had been raving to me about those grilled cheese sandwiches for months, and so there was never even a question of ordering from any of the other food trucks at the market. In fact, I have no idea what else there was on offer, because we made a beeline for those sandwiches the moment we arrived at the market!

We placed our order and waited patiently (kind of…) for our lunch to arrive, waking up with coffees from the little coffee truck just next to our seats.

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The sandwiches arrived having crisped to perfection, and inside, along with the molten cheese, were garlic and truffle mushrooms that took the proceedings up to a whole new level.

I ate mine dipped in a little sriracha, and it was a dream. You *must* go, if you’re ever over in the direction of London Fields!

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The rest of that afternoon was spent cosied up on Freya’s sofa, drinking hot chocolate and tea and eating doughnuts and talking talking talking until I felt like we’d held our very own sisterly therapy session.

All this, by the light of Freya’s sweet Christmas tree and to a soundtrack of Michael Buble’s festive album. Pretty perfect, if you ask me.

~ ~

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Sunday Jason and I spent rushing around like a pair of headless chickens- buying and decorating our own lovely tree, visiting family, sorting out the house for the arrival of the puppy in a couple of weeks time, and nipping over to visit her and her littermates too!

The pups are six weeks old now and were *full* of beans. In fact, I spent most of the visit with at least three puppies mountaineering up my jumper at any one time!

Which is my ultimate favourite way of spending a Sunday afternoon, let it be known…

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We did manage to spruce up the house ready for Christmas too, in between all that puppy snuggling.

Baby poinsettias are now dotted here and there, candles are lit in every corner, and I scavenged the loft for every set of fairy lights we own to use around the house.

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And *now* it feels like we’re finally ready for Christmas! Just no-one ask me how many gifts I’ve yet to get sorted, alright?

p.s. If you’d like to see more of how this December’s been panning out, you might like my YouTube channel! Subscribe to stay up to date with my videos, if you’d like :)

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Posted in CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS TREE, HOME, LIFE LATELY

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13.12

Cider-with-Rosie-hot-chocolate-sugar-cookies-2Cider-with-Rosie-hot-chocolate-sugar-cookies-5

A M P E D – U P   H O T   C H O C O L A T E .

Christmas is the time for many things- celebrations with family, mountains of food, bucks fizz in the mornigs- but it wouldn’t be complete without a little chocolate.

I always seem to crave chocolate more than normal during December, and reckon advent calendars are to blame. Because what’s the most surefire way of developing an insatiable chocolate craving? Why, eating a mini-mouthful of chocolate first thing in the morning, of course!

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I decided this week to have a go at making the kind of super thick and rich hot chocolate you get from the likes of Said and Angelina, and it turned out to be much simpler than I’d expected.

To make, simply pour 250ml of whole milk into a pan, along with 100g of grated dark chocolate. Heat slowly, stirring the whole time, until the chocolate has melted into the milk and become smooth and thick.

If you’d like to, add in a pinch of cinnamon, sugar to taste, and a spoonful of softly whipped cream on top. The amounts listed above make one large cupful of hot chocolate, but I reckon it’s best served in smaller portions, divided between two people.

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To serve alongside the cookies, how about some homemade sugar cookies? I used Hummingbird’s recipe (seeing as it’s an American cookbook, and what better place to get a cookie recipe from?), and it worked a treat.

   

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In other news though, royal icing is FAR harder than you’d imagine, isn’t it?! My first attempts were most definitely *not* worthy of having their photo taken! ;)

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Posted in CHRISTMAS

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