12 Days of Christmas|Day 12- The Perfect Christmas |2018

So here we are, Merry Christmas! Can’t believe how fast December has gone, actually can’t believe how fast the year has gone. It’s the last day of 12 Days and I couldn’t think of a better way to end it than to share with you all how to have the perfect Christmas. And when I say perfect, I really mean imperfect because I believe perfection lies in the imperfections of everyday. I’ve put together all my recipes, tips and tricks to having the most magical day ever.

The Perfect Christmas Morning:

You know that quote, “I’m only a morning person on Christmas”, well that could not be more accurate. Ever since my sister and I were tiny humans, we would run into each others rooms early on Christmas morning and then run downstairs to see what Santa had left us in our stockings. Our excitement would eventually wake our parents and grandparents up and we would sit around the living room by the tree opening our stockings. After that, we all head into the kitchen to make our Christmas breakfast, pancakes, fruit, hot chocolate and egg nog. Once the dishes have been cleared and washed, we’ll go back to the tree and open all of our presents while sipping on more egg nog and listening to Christmas music. It’s always the most chill, relaxed but exciting morning of the year.

Christmas Traditions:

Each family always has their own Christmas traditions, and I think that carrying those for generations hold so much meaning. But I also think that coming up with new traditions to pass on to your kids and grandkids are so special. Every year for Christmas my grandma made her special ‘holiday nugget’ cookies (our family recipe), and as I got older I began to carry on that tradition as well. My family has all the little things we do on Christmas that we’ve pretty much done my whole life, and carrying on those traditions no matter where we are always makes the day extra special. Traditions are rooted in family, remember to be thankful to have been blessed with your family, Christmas is rooted in family.

Fun Things To Do On Christmas Day:

  1. Play a big board game with your family
  2. Watch a Christmas movie (Santa Clause and Love Actually are always SO GOOD on Christmas day) and cuddle up with Christmas cookies and peppermint hot chocolate
  3. Play with all your new presents. I know this sounds like something kids do, but I promise everyone wants to sit there and try/check out all their new goodies
  4. Go look at all the Christmas lights and decorations around your neighborhood (or wherever you are)
  5. Shop!! I know this sounds crazy, but post-Christmas sales are the real deal
  6. Cook dinner…and try out a new recipe while you’re at it (festive recipes down below:)
  7. Festive crafts and DIYS- make paper snowflakes, homemade ornaments or DIY decorations… and you’ll be getting a start for next year
  8. Build a gingerbread house, bake some Christmas cookies, get your sweet tooth ready
  9. Lounge around all day in your Christmas PJs or ugly Christmas sweaters… you deserve it!

Festive Recipes:

The Perfect Cheese Platter: 

Is there any other way to start a Christmas meal than with an over-the-top cheese platter?! To start off, grab a large board. Pick out 3-4 cheese of your choosing. My motto when it comes to cheese is the stinkier the better, but to each their own. Get different kinds of crackers or slices of a baguette and lay out on the board. Now arrange the blocks of cheese in the center. Fill up the open spaces with slices of fruit, bunches of grapes, jams or honeys and nuts. Always have a sweet and salty element on your board. And of course… serve with wine:)

Tapas Varieties:

One thing my family has started doing over the past few years is different kinds of tapas during festive meals. Tapas is the Spanish word for small plate/appetizer. Usually, we do these on slices of baguette or simply on crackers. Our go-to is a thin slice of baguette, garlic yoghurt, caramelized onions, grilled red peppers, prosciutto, a slice of camembert with sugar and bruleed with a blow torch (absolutely to die for). Others we have done are a slice of chorizo with asparagus and aioli, crab salad with avocado and caviar, as well as prosciutto, blue cheese, pear, honey and black pepper. These are so easy to make ahead of time and in bulk and are always the first to go at any dinner or gathering.

Grilled Garlic Prawns:

Ingredients:

Large/tiger prawns

6 cloves garlic

Flat-leaf parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Carefully split the prawns in half, you can leave the head on or you can remove it and use it to make a prawn head oil.
  2. Season with salt, pepper and any other desired herbs.
  3. In a large pan, heat butter and garlic on high heat until butter bubbles. Put prawns in the hot pan (meat side down). Cook 2 minutes, flip, and cook another two minutes.
  4. Serve hot with fresh parsley to garnish.

Roasts:

Roasts are always the perfect center piece for a festive meal. Whether it’s turkey, chicken, pork belly or ribs, theres always a way to make it a little more Christmassy. Try spices like clove, all-spice, ginger, star anise, nutmeg and cinnamon as your dry rub. If you have access to it, using fresh spices (like whole cinnamon sticks) can do wonders. Adding a little bit of sweetness using oranges or cranberries is another way to amp up your roast.

Easiest-Ever Tiramisu:

One of the desserts I made this year was a tiramisu. I always thought that it was a technical and difficult dessert to make, but it couldn’t be easier. This boozy, creamy dessert will be a hit!

Ingredients:

Lady fingers or pound cake

1 1/2 cups strong coffee

1/3 cup Kahlua (coffee liquer)

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup marscapone

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Cocoa powder, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Start by whipping the cream with the powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla essence. Once soft peaks are formed, fold in the marscapone. Set aside.
  2. Mix coffee and Kahlua in a shallow tin. If you’re using pound cake, cut into strips the size of your container.
  3. To assemble: Start with a thin layer of the cream at the bottom of a clear class container.
  4. Dip your cake or lady fingers in the coffee mixture and form one layer.
  5. Add cream on top and spread evenly. Repeat this process until you’re done.
  6. Refrigerate for a few hours or over night. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder.

Brandy Snap Canoli (A take on Jamie Oliver’s recipe):

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

5 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup Hennessy (brandy)

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup marscapone

1/4 cup dark chocolate

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup candied nuts (pecans or walnuts work best)

Orange, to zest

Directions:

  1. To make the shells of the canoli, bring the brown sugar, butter and syrup to boil in a pan (until it becomes a silky caramel).
  2. Pour the caramel into a mixture of flour and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Add brandy and mix it in.
  3. Scoop spoon full of the mixture onto a baking sheet (with lot’s of space in between) and bake at 375 degrees for 7 1/2 minutes.
  4. Once baked, leaved to cool for exactly 90 seconds, then shape around a wooden spoon or rolling pin until set.
  5. Set the shells aside until ready to fill and eat.
  6. For the filling, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Then add marscapone and gently fold in.
  7. Add chopped chocolate, cranberries and nuts to the mixture and grate in half of the orange zest. Gently mixed.
  8. Right before eating, put the filling in a piping bag and fill the shells.
  9. Serve topped with powdered sugar and orange zest.

And with that I’m signing off for 2018. Thank you for an amazing year, can’t wait to see all the next has to offer.

Happy new year and I’ll see you in 2019!! xx

12 Days of Christmas|Day 11- Winter Favorites |2018

Hi lovelies! Can you believe we’re already at day 11 and that it’s almost Christmas…CRAZY! For the second to last day of 12 Days, I thought I’d put together my winter favorites, everything I’ve been loving this season. These are all things that have gotten me through this crazy (but super fun!!) holiday season. Enjoy!! xx

 

Favorite NEW product- Jade Roller from Sherrie Matthews

Favorite clothing item- Reindeer Ugly Christmas Sweater from Amazon

Favorite store- Cotton On, H&M and Forever 21 have been my go-to’s for all my winter clothes

Favorite nail polish color- Glittery gold!

Favorite accessory- Kate Spade ‘Glitter Is My Favorite Color’ bracelet

Favorite beauty product- Doucce Beauty Luscious Lip Stain in Dark Lust

Favorite haircare product- Marrakesh Oil from Marrakesh

Favorite skincare product- Tarte’s Maracuja Oil has been my skin’s saving grace

Favorite scent- Daisy by Marc Jacobs

Favorite movie- Love Actually

Favorite TV show- Fuller House (season 5!)

Favorite song- ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ by Pentatonix

Favorite app- Head Space and Recovery Record

Favorite drink- White peppermint hot chocolate or Matcha latte from Starbucks

Favorite food- Christmas cookies!!

 

See you on Day 12 (how crazy is that…)!!

12 Days of Christmas|Day 6- Holiday Pamper Routine |2018

Hello lovelies and happy Day 6! The holiday chaos getting to your head, finals driving you crazy or just in need of a Tuesday night recharge sesh by yourself, I’ve got you covered! Today’s post is my current pamper routine. I’ve done quite I few pamper routines in the past (I honestly just love writing these and reading other people’s, and who doesn’t love a little self-care), but this one is my official 2018 Holiday Pamper Routine, full of products I’m loving that will get you in the true holiday spirit.

 

I always start off by changing into some cozy Christmas PJs or a nice fluffy robe, really anything as long as I’m comfy. Before I start anything else I’ll try to set the mood in my room. I love scents so I’ll either use my diffuser with lavender and citrus essential oils or I’ll burn one of my favorite candles which is Champagne Toast from Bath and Body Works. And of course I’ll turn off the main lights and throw on some fairy lights. After my room’s feeling nice and relaxed, I’ll go use my MakeUp Eraser (I’m so obsessed with this right now) to take all my makeup off and then hop in the shower. I talked about these in my last pamper routine too, but I’ve been loving the Herbal Essence Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner for my hair, especially during the drier winter months. If I’m feeling like I really need it, I’ll also do a treatment using either the Briogeo deep conditioning mask or the Moroccan Gold Series treatment mask. I’ll then go ahead and use a good body scrub everywhere (it’s winter, we all have dead skin cells) and shave using the Eos shaving cream. After I shave I make sure to moisturize right away. I bought the C. Booth coconut fig body lotion over Thanksgiving and have been living for it.

If I’m at home and have my beloved bath tub I’ll take a bath after I’m done showering. I’m ridiculously obsessed with bath bombs, so of course I’ll use one of those. I absolutely love all the Lush Christmas bath bombs, so those are always a good go-to, but I also found these really cute Christmas ones from The Body Shop (so freaking affordable!) which I really want to try when I’m home for Christmas. When I’m in the bath, which I could literally sit in for hours, I’ll make sure the lights are off and have some chill show or vlog playing. If I’m really wanting to treat myself, I’ll also light a bunch of candles to really set the mood. And if you’re really really wanting to treat yourself, pour yourself a nice lil glass of wine (if your of age of course), because you deserve it;)

After I’m done in the shower (or out of the bath), I’ll dry my hair super quick with a towel and put my PJs or robe back on. During the winter my hair gets brittle and dry really easily, so I use both the Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine leave-in conditioner and the argan oil from Marrakesh Oil. If I have something to get dressed up for the next day, I’ll straighten my hair. But more often than not I just let it air dry.

Now it’s facial time! I’ll start by washing my face with either the Grown Alchemist polishing facial exfoliant or the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate. During the winter my skin can get really dry and flaky (as it does for a lot of people), so it’s really important to use a good exfoliator to get rid of all the dead skin cells and prep your skin for a face mask. On a real pamper night I’ll usually use two face masks, one purifying and one hydrating just to make sure I’m not drying out my skin too much. For the first mask I love the Indian Healing Clay with apple cider vinegar or the CVS dead sea mineral face mask. If you’re looking for a more luxurious mask, the Boscia Charcoal mask or the Glam Glow Bubblesheet are also amazing. I’ll leave that mask on for about 12-15 minutes and then wash it off/take it off. For the hydrating mask I have a ton of different Korean sheet masks that I’ll usually choose from, but I also found these really cute Christmas hydrating sheet masks at CVS which I think are perfect for a holiday pamper night. I typically leave sheet masks on for about 20 minutes so while I have that on I’ll put on either a Christmas movie (check my last 12 Days post for my fav holiday movies) or some vlogmas. Since it wouldn’t be Christmas without peppermint hot chocolate, I’ll make myself a cup of that, and maybe even top it off with some peppermint whipped cream if I’m feeling extra special.  And of course I’d make sure it’s in a cute Christmas mug.

After I take off the second mask I’ll go in with the rest of my evening skincare routine. During the winter I use heavier moisturizers, especially in the evening. I start with the Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizing lotion and go over that with the Tarte Maracuja Oil. If my skin is super dry, it usually soaks that all up within a few minutes, so in cases like that I’ll go in with another layer of the oil. I personally am not a huge fan of sleep masks, but I do love the Ahava Sleep Cream for an overnight facial. Another thing I’ve started using lately are under-eye masks because let’s be honest life can be super stressful and cause bags and circles under your eyes (I’ve started getting them and I feel like a Grandma now). But they honestly just feel so good and refreshing too.

Now that I’m feeling all clean and relaxed I’ll usually end the night in cuddled up in bed finishing off a Christmas movie or watching more vlogmas. I love spending nights out with friends, but sometimes a quiet night in taking care of yourself is just what you need (and trust me, everyone needs this once in a while).

Happy pampering! xx