Considering i’m not keeping on top of posting, I thought ‘Blogmas 2016’ would get me into the blogging festive spirit!
I realise that, yes, we are nine days into December, and, yes, that means I am nine days too late, but guess what? I’m catching up with the first few days in this post!!!
So, you’re getting no outline. It’s going to be a surprise (unless you aren’t as lazy as me and decide to follow the above link).
First things first, DAY ONE: ‘Shopping local’.
This one, as hinted at in the title, is a little blog about five local retailers that you love. For me, these are all cafes, because we don’t really have anything else locally.
My first suggestion would be ‘Ocean Bells Coffee’ on Watford High Street. It’s an incredibly friendly environment with a very artsy interior and incredible coffee. The perfect place to meet you friends, especially if you’re a little board of generic chains (which, don’t get me wrong, are, too, wonderful). The service is very quick and friendly and a natter with a stranger is encouraged if you’re alone; Something my mother did not let go amiss. They also serve beautiful food at a reasonable price- I’ve tried their spinach and ricotta frittatta, and chocolate orange cake before and loved it.
‘The Kitchen’ in Croxley is also the most homely place known to man. Now on the rise after making ‘Casualty’s 30th anniversary’ cake, the local business still needs local support and I always turn there, if I can. A good cup of coffee and a slice of hummingbird cake is all I need to perk me up. I have had many good experiences there- from chatting to a staff member pre-audition when I was in a slight state of panic, from meeting a local teacher-turned-author with an inspiring story, to having them make my 18th birthday cake, no service and customer range is friendlier than that of The Kitchen’s.
The LP cafe, once more, serves as a quiet indie coffee shop where relaxing is easy. In exam period, I even revised in the small, familiar music themed cafe. As they are also a record shop (and now sell vintage clothing items, too!) it is perfect for me. I hunt for musical theatre vinyls, which are frequently found on the 50p rack, which makes me very happy. The staff members are very personal so I’ve got to know them, and I adore being in there. The coffee is also reasonably priced and of a high quality.
‘The Pudding Stop’ in St Albans is my absolute favourite place. Why would you not want to go to a place that serves apple crumble all day? Everything they sell is magnificent and despite only having been twice, it’s heavenly.
My fifth and final suggestion, if this counts, is ‘The Theatre Cafe!’ In piccadilly, this is essentially still local, as how else would I be a regular? If you’re a stagey, GO. The name says it all.
So, there’s my tedious day one. DAY TWO actually has the theme of Secret Santa, but since my friends and I are doing secret santa, I don’t want to expose anything and think this post would be more fun after the gift exchange.
Today, I am meant to share a favourite recipe with you. Since, aside stress baking, I don’t have much time to make anything, I’m going to share a meal idea with you.
Rice, Pinto beans, Bulgur Wheat, and egg. It is a very easy dinner and full of protein, to keep you going. The first three can even be bought together, from Tesco!
DAY FOUR: The Christmas market question.
Love them, or hate them? That’s a bit of a silly question, of course I love them! The festive vibe is inimitable, and the festive aesthetic makes me feel so at home. Don’t you love the smell of hot spiced apple as you browse wooden huts filled with fairy light? I think that does it a bit of an injustice! However, I do get frustrated by them. Aside this idealised Winter Wonderland, they are anxiety riveting to say the least. They also tend to be either extremely overpriced or sell luxury, and therefore likely unaffordable gifts.
Concluding, I do love them as a rule, but there are some negative aspects that jump out beyond the grand displays.
DAY FIVE: Favourite Christmas advert.
Oh come on, whose isn’t the John Lewis one from a few years ago? With the cartoon animals? I think that was the year Lily Allen sung a cover of the Keane song, but I can’t 100% remember. The only bad thing about that is the fact that my classics teacher ruined Christmas for us, by pointing out that the bear should be in hibernation and would, in fact, die, if it was outside like the advert suggested. Hearing this did not amuse me and i’m sure will not amuse you.
Generally, though, the John Lewis advert is a winner every year.
DAY SIX: Favourite present.
When I was in nursery, I missed the end of the school term to venture off into a magical land. For Christmas, my grandparents took me to Lapland. Despite me only being small, I remember many details vividly- The tea in our room, the restaurants where me and my friends got up and danced, the cookie baking, the sledging, the present from Santa… It was an unbeatable gift and the most incredible experience, especially as I was of such a young age.
The challenge is actually to post five festive jumpers, but I only own two, so those two I shall post. The first one is a Minnie and Mickey mouse jumper, and the second, a ‘Hamilton: An American musical’ jumper.
I love them with all my heart, and they embrace both my favourite things and my favourite season. Here they are:
As you can see in picture 2, I’m slighly damaged at the moment. My body hates me and hypermobility is an arse.
DAY 8: Charity at Christmas.
This year, I’m personally hoping to work in a soup kitchen, but I don’t know if I will be able now due to my injury. Aside that, I always give what change I can to charity so will continue to throughout the festive period.
However, a literary Christmas event is being arranged in school. I won’t say much about it on here for now at least, but proceeds of the day will go to a very worthy local charity. Being able to help enrich younger students with a passion for literature and allow them to contribute to charity is a dream, and i’m so happy to be a part of this upcoming day.
DAY 9: TODAY’S BLOGMAS!!!
Today is the day I state my favourite festive foods and drinks, and on the top, it has to be Costa’s gingerbread latte. Nothing is cosier than a gingerbread latte, especially made by Costa. The sachets you can buy in tesco aren’t bad either, if i’m honest, and Starbucks also serves a lush festive coffee, but Costa comes out on top. They also do the most buff orange hot chocolate in the world, and it’s odd for myself, someone who is not a huge fan of hot chocolate, to love it, but I do.
Drinks wise, of course, I also have to highly recommend Starbucks’ toffee nut latte (my Starbucks seasonal go-to). Even though I am not a fan of sweet coffees and frequently drink strong black coffee, this seasonal treat is right up my street. Rhyme intended.
Festive drinks are honestly one of my favourite parts of Christmas, but I have recently delved into other types of seasonal confectionery.
For the first time in the 18 years I have been alive, I tried a mince pie!!! Despite my borderline-fear of the sweet pastries, the fruity pie exceeded my expectations and I will definitely be having more of those this festive season. A big fat festive YES PLEASE to mince pies!!!
So, I am now up to date with Blogmas!!! I know this is an unconventional way to do it, but I am disorganised and wanted to finally do something like this.
I hope you’ll enjoy the daily posting, rather than thinking ‘Oh god, not her again’. If you have any blogmas suggestions, my plan is not strict so please let me know via twitter (@laurbethany), instagram (@c.laurenbee), or the comments. You may see a few bonus posts, or additions to a post this month, too!
Merry Christmas! Love always, Lauren xxx
If you know anyone else doing Blogmas/Vlogmas, let me know