Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

This is the recipe I use for a really quick and simple sugar cookie. Perfect for Christmas, Birthdays, baby showers or any occasion or holiday.

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Ingredients

  • 100g butter (room temp)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 275g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC/ 170ºC fan/ Gas 5. Line a baking tray.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.
  4. Sift in the flour and mix until it forms a dough.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1cm thick.
  6. Cut out your shapes and place onto the baking tray.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until pale golden.
  8. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
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Movies Made For Comfort

During this time, I want to help keep people’s spirits up as much as possible. Since we’re all stuck inside with more time on our hands, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this COVID-19 chaos, doom and gloom. We could all use a little mental escape and what better way than curling up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a good movie. The type of movie that doesn’t require thought. The type of movie that transports you to a simpler time. Something that makes you smile, laugh a little and brings a little bit of light in the darkness.

I was born in the late 90s so most films I find comforting are from the 00s. They just take me back to a simpler time of watching movies on the sofa during rainy days or cinema trips with my Mum. Back when my world was a little smaller. So here are my top 10 comforting films.

1. Legally Blonde

I know, I know, super girly but this film was a constant favourite of mine as a child. Not only is the soundtrack upbeat and fun but the message is empowering. You can do anything you work hard at, despite what people say or think about you. If you keep going through all the struggles and backlash of other people, it will pay off even if no one is on your side. It’s also a good reminder to help people along your way. Elle Woods has lapses in confidence and sense of direction in her life but ,throughout it all, she is kind. She is nice to people who are continually cruel and helps anyone. I think we could all use this reminder right now.

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2. Cheaper By The Dozen

This is another one of my ‘regularly viewed’ from my childhood. I know Steve Martin can be a crowd divider but I just can’t help but love this movie. This also has an awesome soundtrack (can you tell I’m a sucker for musical montages?) and is upbeat and easy to watch. A family of 12 kids and their parents go on holiday together. What could go wrong? It’s filled with typical PG physical comedy (and some adorable kids) it will definitely give your mind a break.

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3. Bridesmaids

A CLASSIC! This film holds so many memories for me. I remember watching it in the cinema with Mum for the first time. We shared many a cinema date just us two and they were so special to me. We’d go while other kids were at school so the cinema was practically empty. It was those times it felt like we were the only people in the whole world. On our drives home we would reminisce about our favourite moments and laugh together all over again. 
I also remember watching this film after my first (and last) night out clubbing. My friends and I collapsed on my sofa and put this movie on. We kicked off our heels, got under blankets and giggled together. I’d take that over clubbing any day!

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4. Practical Magic

Another one of mine and my Mum’s favourites. I can’t remember the first time I watched this but I remember being about 7 or 8 and trying to get my spoon to stir in my cup or trying to get flower petals to fly in the wind. Maybe it was this movie that made me so wary of men? It definitely made me suspicious of a beetle’s squeak. It has everything I love wrapped up in one movie: witches, love stories, revenge, sisterhood and family. This is not just a Halloween movie. 

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5. Hocus Pocus

Staying on the witch theme. This movie is one I normally save for Halloween season but desperate times call for desperate measures. It is an absolute classic and I think I know this movie word for word. It’s one for the whole family and really puts me in a cosy mood. And, yes you guessed it, it has a musical number that I recreated in my bedroom when I was 8. As a kid, I wanted to be Sarah. The funny one, the one who wore purple and the one who all the boys liked, lol! Not sure that happened for me. Sorry 8 year old me!

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6. Christmas With The Coopers

From one holiday to the next. Yes! A Christmas film. Even though it’s spring, I see no harm in recreating the ambience of Christmas. Christmas just seems to be a happier time for me, a cosy time and I can’t help but feel safe in a way. I know that’s not the case for some but it’s a time I really treasure. This film in particular is humbling and beautiful. Not to mention it has an incredibly cute dog. It’s just one happy reminder to love your family, even if they drive you mental or aren’t perfect themselves. So if you’re in quarantine with your family and need a little convincing to love them, this is the movie for you.
P.S in other countries this movie is called ‘Love the Coopers’

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7. The Mask

My friends and I used to watch this round my house all the time. Jim Carrey is a true talent. This was the first movie I saw that combined live filming with animation. I think  this was my first Jim Carrey movie too and it sparked my love for his work. Like all good movies, it has an excellent dog in it too! Oh, and a musical dance number or two!

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8. Bad Moms

This is a perfect time for every Mother in isolation with their kids to watch this. This movie always reminds me that it is okay to not be the perfect parent. The most important things you can give to your kids are love and happy memories. Spend time with them, listen to them, teach them things they will need in life like how to apologise or take care of their mental health. Show them how to unwind, be a good person and just be kids. This movie also highlights the different types of Mothers out there and that it’s okay if you don’t iron your kids underwear like Becky down the road or have 15 million colour coded worksheets. If you’re a good person, you’re a good Mum.

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9. Wine Country

This is more of a recent discovery of mine. It’s about a group of friends going on a weekend break together for one of them is turning 50. They go on a girls trip and tour vineyards but it gets a little messy. They show getting older as something to look forward to and true friendship as something to treasure. I can only hope that my life looks a little like this when I turn 50.

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So there we go, they are the top 9 films I find comforting. I hope they give you some comfort too. Now, please remember this is personal opinion. You may not agree but please feel free to share some of your favourite and comforting movies!

Stay safe. Be kind.

 

 

The Best Gingerbread Biscuits

I think my most favourite part of this festive season is the baking. One of the best things to bake, that will most definitely get you in the Christmas spirit (and make your house smell amazing), is gingerbread. I recently made a batch and I forgot how much I love to bake and decorate biscuits. I got fully immersed, to the point where I didn’t realise hours went by. This is only because I was doing really intricate decoration and I’m a perfectionist. The average person will do this in way less time. Especially when each batch only takes 10 minutes in the oven!

These biscuits are perfect to make with kids. You can make the dough ahead of time. Just allow 10 minutes after taking it out of the fridge for it to de-chill and simply roll it out onto a floured surface. You’ll want to roll it out to about 4 mm thickness. If you wish for your biscuits to be crunchier and have a snap, roll them slightly thinner. Similarly, if you wish for them to be more chewy, roll them slightly thicker.

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When it comes to decorating, I always favour a simple plain white royal icing. Royal icing is harder than water icing so your design is more likely to last longer. I prefer not to colour it as I think the white looks so elegant against the dark brown gingerbread. If you’re decorating with children, I recommend lots of different colours and perhaps using a simple water icing. I get a lot of enjoyment from piping so I spent a lot of time preparing my designs and getting them perfect.

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Below you will find the gingerbread biscuit recipe I use and also the royal icing recipe.

Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 180g Butter (soft)
  • 125g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 125g Black Treacle

Method

  1. Sift flour, bicarbonate soda and spices together into a large bowl.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and treacle. Mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture gradually as you mix until it is all combined and forms a loose dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 and wrap individually in cling film.
  6. Chill overnight – 2 days.
  7. When you’re ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to de-chill for 10 minutes.
  9. Roll out dough onto a floured surface 4 mm thick.
  10. Cut biscuit shapes out and place on a lined baking tray.
  11. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer onto a cooling wrack.

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Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

  • 325g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Method

  1. Sift icing sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Whisk egg whites in a stand mixer or hand held mixer with lemon juice until frothy.
  3. Slowly add icing sugar until all combined.
  4. Whisk until it forms soft peaks.
  5. Pour into a prepared icing bag if you wish to pipe your designs. Otherwise, you can store in an air-tight container in the fridge for a week.

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Then, start having fun! You can get the family involved or use it as some therapeutic me time (like I did). You can add sprinkles, edible glitter or sweets. Go wherever the Christmas spirit takes you! I would love to see your creations so please share them!

Merry Baking!

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2019 Christmas Decor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, again! I could not be more excited. I’ve always loved Christmas since I was a kid. It’s not the same excitement, obviously, because as you grow up, Christmas Day is just not as good. Let’s face it. However, I am still excited for the lead up to Christmas. I love watching the same Christmas movies year after year, writing cards to people and, of course, the food.

I kick off the festive season with a tradition-filled December 1st. On the first day of December we decorate the house, walk into town to see the spectacular Christmas lights and visit the church’s Christmas tree festival. More than likely, we will also grab a Pecoro pizza on the way home. This year was no different.

We started the day by blasting Bublé on the TV while unpacking the mass of decorations. This year was particularly fun because not only do we have Cody to ‘help’ but Olivia has reached that age now where she can also ‘help’. She wasn’t as intrigued by the decorations as I’d hoped but rather she wanted to use the boxes as a climbing frame.

I always really love getting the decorations down from the loft and rooting through the boxes, looking at decorations of Christmas past and seeing what excuses I can come up with to buy new ones. It’s a sickness. I also have way too many garlands, lights and baubles. I mean, is there such a thing? So you can find them throughout my house.

I have baubles going up my stairs, in a glass dish and my special Swarovski ones on a special Swarovski stand. There’s something so pleasing about a bauble. Aesthetically pleasing, elegant and magical.

My garlands stretch from windows to hallways to the kitchen hob. And lights? Well, they’re on the tree, above the TV, in the kitchen, up the stairs and around our bed frame. Is it even Christmas if you can’t light your whole house using just Christmas lights?

After the hours of decorating (and redecorating until everything looks right to me) we get all wrapped up in coats, hats and scarves and walk into town. There’s one particular house, which is famous in our local community, that do a huge Christmas lights display to raise money for the air ambulance. It is a must-do as they are the best lights around.

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A more recent tradition is to go to a local church to look around their Christmas tree festival. Every year the church is filled with different and creatively decorated Christmas trees. They are all decorated by local businesses, schools and charities. Each one has a different theme and I really look forward to it because I thrive off of other people’s creativity.

There was even a tree with a few familiar faces. The Shuttleworth tree featured my handsome fiance, a few members of his family and the late Fred Harris. Topped with the Shuttleworth bear.

As we stroll home in the dark, we always happen to pass Pecoro, our local Italian restaurant. They do the best pizzas and the tiramisu is to die for! Steve and I always struggle to pass it without getting something. So this time, we got the Monti pizza to take home with us. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Olivia was asleep in bed, we had warm pizza with a glass of wine and watched the last series of Gavin and Stacey in preparation for the Christmas Special! Who else is excited for it?!


And so, the tree is on, the halls are decked and the dog is asleep under a festive blanket. Christmas has begun! Have you decked your halls?

 

 

I am the owner and creator of all images in this post.