UK Lifestyle Blog

24 December 2017

Christmas with the Harts | Week 3

Saturday 16th December

Today we got up and set off to Stamford in Lincolnshire. It's only around an hours drive and I've been wanting to visit for a while. We were originally going to go on Tuesday but due to the bad weather we waited until today.

When we arrived we parked up the car and headed in search of a hot drink before we began exploring. We stumbled across so many lovely cafes and ended up at Café au Chocolat, for none other than a hot chocolate! I swear my blood is purely hot chocolate now with the gallons I've been consuming. I had a raspberry and lavender hot chocolate and it was seriously tasty.

We did a bit of planning, and then headed off in search of cheese for our Christmas Party. We walked along some gorgeous roads, with pretty houses whose front doors were donned with gorgeous wreaths. The ultimate house goals. We then stumbled across the Cheese Cellar, and made a very festive purchase. Cheese with cranberries and festive spices, which we cannot wait to tuck into! I also admired their amazing gin selection, but managed to restrain myself.

We carried on to the shops, which there are so many gorgeous ones to choose from. Chez Soi is incredible, specialising in modern country interiors it looked so beautiful. There were tables adorned with delicate trinkets, and vintage shelves lined with lots of goodies. I could have bought everything.

We also popped into Sophie Allport, as I have been following them on Instagram for a while and when I saw they had a store in Stamford I knew we had to go in. I loved their window displays, so Christmassy!

Taking a little break from shopping, we wandered down over the bridge to take some pretty photos looking back at Stamford. It seriously is such a beautiful town.

We doubled back, popping in and out of a few more stores, even making a purchase at Hoptroff & Lee antiques. I couldn't resist this dainty pheasant bell, he now takes pride of place on our living room book case, and I have joked to my husband that I'll use it when I want a tea/gin from him!

To round off our short trip to Stamford we finished at Cloisters Italian for some scrumptious pizza's. Before heading back to the car for our journey home. We are definitely going to be coming back here again, maybe for a weekend break as I really want to visit Burghley House too.

Sunday 17th December

Today we went to do some shopping in Derby. It was extremely busy and lets be frank not very successful! I had gone for a few bits and bobs but didn't actually end up getting that much. Instead we did have a very yummy dinner in the Cosy Club, which if you are ever in Derby I would recommend visiting. Their food is incredible and the interior décor is something to be marvelled at!

Instead I retired to the sofa in the afternoon to do a spot more online shopping. Our oven seems to be on the blink which is extremely annoying the week before Christmas! Good job my parents are cooking this year!

Monday 18th December

I headed into Nottingham with my family for a mooch around and grab some last minute bits and pieces. I could not believe how busy it was for a Monday morning and the buzz of Christmas shoppers going about their day was interesting to watch. It makes me glad that I've finished my gift buying!

We had a quick potter around the Christmas Market, but I am going back again tomorrow evening with Stephens family to get some food and have a better look around. Instead we stopped and watched the ice skaters before heading on for some dinner.

We did a food shop to see us through this week, as on Thursday we are doing our 'big' shop. Luckily this year as we aren't cooking Christmas dinner we just need party food. We are hosting two parties, one with all of our friends and the other Christmas night with our families. So for now we just got some bits to see us through until then. I may or may not have added a Terry's Chocolate Orange to our basket because, is it really Christmas if you haven't had one of these? I'm saving it for a cosy night in later this week.

The rest of the night was spent curled up on the sofa after finishing the last of the Christmas wrapping.

Tuesday 19th December

I spent this morning giving the house a good clean and tidy from top to bottom. We are hosting twice in the next few days and I wanted to make sure that the only things I have to worry about on the days are food, drink and entertaining.

In the afternoon I met up with my MIL and FIL and headed off to Nottingham Christmas Market. We met my husband there and started the afternoon with a quick Costa. I had the Black Forest Hot Chocolate, it's one of my favourites in their Christmas range.

We then headed for a mooch around the stalls, it was even better than last year, they had fake snow spraying from the roof tops, music filled the air. It was lovely.

I had spied a Yorkshire Pudding Wrap stall, that I knew I absolutely had to try. It was filled with roast potatoes, stuffing, gravy and mint sauce. I can confirm it was delightful, just like a sunday dinner in wrap form. I could definitely eat another one!

We finished by grabbing some giant sweet cables, which we pick up every year and then had a cheeky gin before we headed home.

Can you believe that it's less than a week now until Christmas Day!

Wednesday 20th December

Today we got our oven fixed, hoorahhh! No cold food for Christmas haha. That wasn't just the high light of our day though, we also went to Chatsworth House today to marvel at their Christmas Decorations. Every year they choose a theme to decorate the house in, and this year was Oh Dickens! Celebrating all of Charles Dickens' work.

The house itself is incredible in design, but the festive décor made it even more magical. I was trying to think what my favourite room was, but to be honest, I loved them all! There was a spinning Christmas tree, decadent table, and the most incredible chair donned with fruits.

We also had a quick potter around the gardens, as there is something magical about seeing the rolling hills in the mist of a winters day. All the plants are depleting, ready to hibernate over winter. It was lovely to get some fresh air.

This evening we went to the local pub quiz, which had a Christmas theme this week, so I actually knew some of the answers!

Thursday 21st December

Today we entered the chaos of the Christmas food shop. First though, we hit Ikea for breakfast, because £3.50 for 2 coffees, 1 veggie breakfast and toast is seriously the ultimate bargain. We also bought a knitted throw for the sofa, in preparation of long nights ahead curled up in front of the TV.

Then we moved on to Waitrose. Spending a grand total of around £90 on party food, drinks and baking supplies. To be fair, it wasn't as busy as expected, and we managed to do two laps getting all the things we think are the must have party foods (cheese, cheese, cheese). I'm hoping to share with you some of it in one of my final blog posts for 2017,  so keep your eyes peeled for that one!

We then headed over to Aldi to grab a few more bits and pieces. Bought a new TV stand, as I have gotten sick of the sight of our cheap one that we bought when we first moved in. It just didn't go with the rest of the room and needed to go, ASAP. Now we only have the blinds to change in our living room and that is the first room to be completed. It's only taken us two years..

We finished our night, attempting to bake cookies. Attempting being the word, the first batch were too runny and ended up forming one giant cookie blob. It tasted delicious but looked atrocious. The second batch were too hard, you could break teeth with them. So at that point we gave up, its a task for another day! Maybe by next year I might have mastered it!

Friday 22nd December

Today we had a morning at home, and then I met up with my friends later in the afternoon for dinner and drinks. We stayed local, having a few cocktails in the pubs and then had a Thai for dinner.

I had a fair share of cocktails, which probably wasn't my greatest idea, as we are hosting a party at ours tomorrow! It was a lovely evening of catching up over delicious food and drink.

I was home by 11:30, and can definitely tell I'm getting older as I was tired by then! (though in all fairness I always seem to be tired).

Just like that another week over!

I will be putting together a little photo montage of our Christmas sometime before the new year, but until then I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas making lots of memories.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas


16 December 2017

Christmas with the Harts | Week 2

Saturday 9th December

Tonight we went out for our Quiz Team Christmas meal. Every other Wednesday we go along to a local pub quiz and the winnings get put in a pot for a Christmas night out. This year we headed to the Horsely lodge in derby for a 3 course meal and drinks.

We had the whole conservatory to ourselves, which was made even more magical by the snow falling outside. It was lit with delicate fairy lights, and had a huge square table for us all to sit around.

The food was incredible, I had fish and chips for main and a chocolate and orange torte for dessert which was simply divine. I may or may not have had a cheeky gin too!

Monday 10th December

We had a very lazy day today, staying in bed until well into the morning, like all good Mondays should start! We then tackled wrapping the presents, armed with mince pies, hot chocolate and Christmas tunes at full blast. We actually nearly finished it all, which I was super impressed with as we had a lot to get through. I definitely think that all the hot beverages helped.

We may or may not have nipped to Ikea for dinner too, because it seems to have become a Monday tradition that when we are off work we go there for dinner. The Veggie Balls are delicious.

We popped round to see my family in the evening and have a catch up. I hogged their fire as it has just been so cold here these past few days, I cant seem to warm up!

Tuesday 11th December

We were meant to be heading to Stamford in Lincolnshire today, however they had warnings of icy roads and thick fog, so we decided to postpone our trip until Saturday. Which means that it will probably be a lot busier but hopefully the weather conditions will be better by then!

Instead we spent the morning tidying up the house, doing a few chores and then headed to a local Plant Nursery for a spot of lunch.

Pip Tree Café is so cute, I loved all the décor and after going for a bite to eat, I came away with lots of ideas for our house. Their bathroom is gorgeous too!

We spent the rest of our evening watching films and relaxing on the sofa. It's my last week at work this week before I break up for Christmas, and I cant tell you how ready I am for lots of lie ins and festive socialising!

I hope you've all had a good week! Only 9 days to go!


10 December 2017

Christmas With The Harts | Week 1

So December is finally here! I am so excited for the festive season ahead, and I had such grand plans (like every year) to do Blogmas. The truth of the matter is, I just don't have enough days in the week to do it, unless I pre-wrote all of it in November! I have so many lovely plans that I still wanted to share them on here, as I love to look back on all of it. Therefore, I thought I would make it easier for myself and do a weekly type of Blogmas, Christmas with the Harts, sharing all our festive fun in a weekly bitesize format. Some days won't be accounted for because I work full time, but all the days I have off, I will be sharing on here.

Saturday 2nd December

Today we went on a chilly winters walk around Longshaw with our friends. We came prepared bundled up in our warmest knitwear, scarves, hats and gloves. Longshaw is around an hour's drive from where we live and is part of the National Trust, we just scanned our cards and it printed us a ticket to park all day, which is perfect for those long days spent walking.

There was so much beautiful scenery, and even a bit of snow on the ground still! It was beginning to feel very festive indeed, especially after witnessing an ice skating duck!

We had a reservation at the Fox House for dinner, which was lovely and snug, definitely what we needed after being out in the cold fresh air.

The food was delicious, I opted for a veggie burger and triple cooked chips which was divine. Stephen went for the Diablo Pizza which he said was good. I went all out and had a gin too, it's 5 o clock somewhere!

Sunday 3rd December

We had a lovely lie in, like all Sundays should begin with, before getting up and getting all our Christmas dec's out! 

Today was the day that the tree was finally making it's appearance. Despite my pleas for a real tree, we have stuck to our old faithful fake one for the time being. We lovingly adorned it with all our baubles and took a few festive photos too. We even treated ourselves to Christmas songs on repeat and a mug of hot chocolate. Can't get more festive than that can you?!

Well actually.. our afternoon got even more festive with a scrumptious afternoon tea with all of my in-laws. We went to our local garden centre, where we had tables set up with crackers and Christmas napkins.

I had another hot chocolate, surprise surprise.

Our afternoon tea was packed with scrumptious treats, sandwiches, mince pies, mint chocolate cake, it truly was a feast.

We finished our night watching Christmas with The Kranks, which I actually really liked!

Monday 4th December

Today was the spendiest day of December yet. Me and my husband should not be allowed days off in the week together, as we end up going all out and spending a small fortune, egging each other on. What was meant to be a day of finising Christmas gifts, went a little wild. We visited the Range, B&M, Asda and Ikea, yep all in one sitting, and ended up some how buying new bedding, a light up star and a real Christmas tree. I'm not sure how this happened, I blinked and there they were in my basket..I think we should be banned from spending for the rest of December, but we all know that's not happening!

In all seriousness though, there is some child like joy of picking out your own tree. Scoping it out for the perfect height and width, compairing it to all the others until you find 'the one'. Again I stated that I only wanted a little one, maybe 4ft, we somehow ended up with a 6ft one..which will soon be taking pride of place in our dining room. The décor is nearly complete and I cannot wait to share it with friends and family over the festive season.

This evening we visited our friends to welcome their new baby and have a catch up, which was a lovely end to the day.

Tuesday 5th December

Today we put up tree number two in our dining room. It's our first ever real tree so we wanted to make it look extra special, an emergency trip to B&M for a few more baubles occurred, and I have to say it makes the whole room look so cosy.

I can see it becoming a tradition for us to have a real tree in our dining room, well until we have little hands that can find it!

Later today we popped round to my parents house for a catch up. All in all a very chilled day at home, just what we needed.

Wednesday 6th December

Today was a bit of a mad rush in the morning, I had a hairdressers appointment booked for 10 am and ended up missing my bus and having to wait for the next one, which made me 10 minutes late. Probably why I should get myself moving, and start up with my driving lessons again.

I did make it to the hairdressers though, and bit the bullet and had roughly 4 inches chopped off! Which for me is the most I've had cut off in a long time. My hair went through a phase a few years ago where it just wouldn't grow, but the last year or two it has started to grow a lot quicker, therefore I thought now's the best time to do it. I actually really love how it looks, and you heard it here first, I might have a bit more cut off next time! If there's a time for a change in hairstyle its when the festive season arrives, lots of social activities and the change in weather. I always love that fresh hair feeling you get when you walk out of the salon.

After I nipped to the shops and grabbed a few last minute gifts, and once my online order arrives I have officially finished Christmas shopping! Isn't it such a satisfying feeling being able to say that.

I hope you've all had a lovely festive week!

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