Secrets to a country Christmas

I have always loved the idea of Christmas, the decorating, cooking wonderful foods with my Mum and younger brother, covering my dogs in tinsel and getting glitter all over the house. For today’s blog you can find cosy recipes below for Christmas treats and a few ideas of crafting and things you can do over the holidays!

I10428414_740455142709438_5120091410953324010_n (1) am really excited about Christmas this year as it is my first ‘adult’ Christmas in my own house with Jon and Walter and we have already started making our own decorations, sorting out presents and just getting everything ready.

This year I have found myself even more in the spirit of things, most likely from having Scandinavian friends visit a few weeks ago as we talked about snow, cosy jumpers and snuggled under blankets and watched movies. It’s probably fair to say that all families have their own Christmas traditions and ideas of what makes the perfect holiday.

Because life can be stressful and full of hustle and bustle on a daily basis, it’s really nice that we all find a few days a year where we can have lots of fun and relax together, Christmas being one of them. I usually tend to plan Christmas gifts throughout the year and get things when I see them, but this year I’ve been so preoccupied with other things I haven’t managed to do this.

For Christmas this year I will be going back to the country and spending it with my family and Jon’s family which is always a real delight.

Christmas foods

Christmas CakeMini-Christmas-cakes

This is something I personally don’t like the taste of, but always try to make. When I lived back in the countryside I made mini ones and decorated them with icing flowers, wrapped them in cellophane and gave them away as gifts.

Coconut ice

coconut-ice-round-2-024Making this is so much fun and I’ve grown to really enjoy the taste of it over the years! It’s also super easy and a great way to add a treat to the Christmas nibbles throughout the day! It is also quite a festive thing for me, as my mum taught me to make this at Christmas as a child and it’s become an unwritten tradition for us.

Peppermint creams 0048d1a20d1df4e02dc5e09a0e0c6eec

I could sit eating these little sugary things all day, but they are made with icing sugar and peppermint oil (and not much else!) They’re simply divine, and perfect to give out with coffee after a large Christmas roast dinner.

Stained glass cookiesdaeaa02ddfc930f697b06e4a077286e9

These are really fun for kids to make and really yummy too! I’ve got a crown, butterfly and Christmas tree I like to decorate with these every year. They’re incredibly elegant and are something you can also create to hang on the Christmas tree. If you make a little hole in the dough before popping it in the oven you can tie a ribbon through it and watch it glisten on the tree as the colours dance about the room. Beware though, dogs and Lucys are fond of these and they wont last long!

Christmas Crafts

Felting 

oYou don’t have to be an expert to felt. A few years ago my Mum and a family friend and her daughter decided that we wanted to have a go at it! I had bought my Mum some felting kits from a trip I took away, she bought the special needles and the others provided refreshments and glittery things to add-on to our creations. We made some Christmas angels and I think they looked quite spectacular.

Decorations 

Newpinecone-b19-c5You can make Christmas decorations out of almost anything really. You can make them out of leaves, holly, pinecones and branches. A great way to glitz them up is to sprinkle them with glitter and spray them with silver or gold spray. I also like to make dough or clay decorations to hang on the tree or give away as gifts. These are very cheap and easy to make and I find make Christmas that little bit more unique.

 

Knitting 

basket-of-yarn-wilma-birdwellI have to confess, this isn’t something I am very patient with. I always give it a go at Christmas and almost always give up. My Mum and friend Kaja however are very good at this and often knit me beautiful things! I have the cutest head warmer from Kaja and some wonderful jumpers from my Mum. If it is something you are good at, I would suggest knitting some socks for friends and wrapping them with a ribbon. You can knit pretty much anything. Just don’t knit underwear or a swimsuit for someone they won’t appreciate that.

If you would like any recipes please just ask, I am always happy to share! Keep an eye out for some more cosy blogs from me and have a lovely weekend X

 

Advertisements

Homely hygge

Home is a very important word. It can mean a variation of things to different people at different times. It can be used to describe objects, places and people alike.

For me home is where I feel myself, relaxed and happy. Often somewhere I kick back in my pyjamas and drink tea!

I use it to describe where I grew up, where I had my bedroom, my parents and where my family live. But I also use it to describe my own flat with Jon our little home together.

With that in mind, I have found I bake a lot at home. I enjoy those little home comforts especially around winter, as I’m sure you do too!

The last few weeks I’ve baked: blueberry muffins, cookies, biscuits, cinnamon bread, bread and butter pudding along with roast dinners and soup!

I wanted to share my most recent bake with you to try at home. It’s very easy and a great way to use up the sandwich bread after a week of work.

Cinnamon bread and butter pudding

Ingredients and utensils you will need to make this along with the method:

Utensils:

  1. Deep stoneware (rectangular dish)
  2. Bowl
  3. Fork
  4. Knife
  5. Measuring jug
  6. Tbsp / tsp measures
  7. Oven / dragon

Ingredients:

  1. Butter / vegan spread (for the bread)
  2. 10 slices of bread preferably white
  3. 2 free range eggs or ‘no egg’
  4. 1tsp Cinnamon
  5. Half a tsp of Nutmeg
  6. 1 and a half cups of Milk / soy milk
  7. 3 tbsp of Golden caster sugar

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 / 180degrees.

The first thing I always do is butter up the bread. I like to make sure it’s buttered up to the sides and thinly spread as this is a very calorific dish, so I do my best not to add to it!

When that is done, cut the bread into triangles or leave it how it is and start to layer up the stoneware dish however you like!

After the first layer has been placed, (butter-side up) sprinkle a tsp of caster sugar and 1/4 cinnamon on it. Repeat this until complete (You can always add a sprinkle of raisins or fruit in here, but I like it plain)!

Next you need to mix the eggs and milk together. I tend to do this with a fork in a bowl. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg to the mix! When that is done pour it evenly across the bread making sure it is all soaked in. Don’t worry if you have some left over. You’ll notice once the bread absorbs it. You’ll have space to pour the rest on.

Finally sprinkle the remaining sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg on the top making it look all pretty and sparkle! Leave it to rest for 10 minutes.

Bake for 15/20 minutes or until golden. It will probably puff up. Don’t worry this is normal.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving.

Home comforts

Cosy home comforts for most of us are more or less the same.

  • Hot drinks in pretty mugs
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Warm fires
  • Cookies
  • Warm muffins
  • Wine
  • Pet snuggles
  • Friends and family …

The list goes on and on! So for this cold weekend in November, be you in England at home, Norway sledding or Canada reading a book here’s my favourite blueberry muffin recipe for everyone to try!

You will need need the following ingredients and utensils…

Utensils:

  1. Mixer OR strong arm and wooden spoon
  2. 1 mixing bowl
  3. 2 other spare bowls (can’t have enough)
  4. 1 sieve
  5. Muffin cases
  6. Muffin baking tray
  7. Scales
  8. Wire rack
  9. Spoon or three (I like soup spoons for this)
  10. Apron
  11. Oven / dragon

Ingredients:

  1. 110g butter / vegan butter
  2. 250g plain flour
  3. 250g golden caster sugar
  4. 2 eggs / vegan ‘no-egg’
  5. Splash of milk / vegan alternative
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. Half a vanilla pod
  8. A pinch of teaspoon salt
  9. 200g + fresh blueberries (more the yummier)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180ish degrees / gas mark 4. Set out the muffin cases in the muffin tray and put on the side.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the golden caster sugar, a dash of salt and mix it all together.

Eat a blueberry (vital)

Then mix together the butter / milk and vanilla pod extract until smooth.

Eat another blueberry

Pour both bowls into one and add in the remaining blueberries!

Mix all up together gently so as not to mush the blueberries.

Get yourself two spoons and scoop up a big dollop of mixture and then use the other to push it into the muffin case. I’d suggest filling them around half full and make sure there are an even number of blueberries distributed throughout.

After you’ve done this and licked any remaining ingredients off the spoon, give the bowl to a child or dog to lick of you feel generous, or like Jon and I, sit down and lick the bowl whilst the muffins cook.

Bake them for around 15/20 minutes or so. Set a timer to check them after 15 minutes as some ovens vary. My mums for example is a big range and can take minutes, it’s literally a dragon!

When they’re done you’ll know as they’ll start to crack on the tops and go a beautiful golden brown.

Leave them to cool on a wire rack, or like me an upside down pizza tray, as I left my wire rack at my friends house!

It’s vital you leave them to cool, you may end up with blueberry burns if not and trust me, that’s not something you want to be explaining to your friends at lunch the next day…

So whilst waiting for them to cool, tidy up, pop on the kettle and get ready to cosy up under a blanket and eat some scrumptious muffins!

Using my little grey cells

There is nothing better than educating the mind and learning something that has either interested you for some time, or that somehow will help you progress in the career or are of life you are looking to do well in.

 

Recently I took it upon myself to enrol in two online courses:

Psychology and Mental Health from the University of Liverpool

and

The 21st Century and Museums from the University of Leicester

I thought this would give me a greater insight into both mental health and psychology, two things that I think are increasingly important in society and so far I have discussed some remarkable things that I had not considered prior to starting the course. This week my three hour lecture is on mental health and well-being and how our lives are affected by social factors and the events that happen to us.

My second online course started today and I am quite interested to learn more about Museums and the impact the 21st Century has had on them, considering that is my current line of work!

It’s odd and I know for a fact most people get like it after graduating, but I have missed University the last few months more than ever, purely the social side of things and the self-made responsibility of doing something you truly love and enjoy. Perhaps satisfactions we don’t always get out of our day to day jobs as they can often seem tedious and repetitive. Most of us (except for the small minority) spent all day at a computer or doing quite stressful tasks for a very odd reason. I have never quite understood the mind-set of those humourless type who live to work, I believe work should be fun and invigorate us and make us feel like we are achieving something! Today for example, I learnt what a French lyre clock looks like and what it is, I couldn’t have learnt that in a corporate environment, which is why I am forever glad I changed careers when I did.

So, if you’re currently wanting to move your little grey cells (as Poirot would say) I suggest you pick up a book or start an online course just to get yourself motivated and learn something new!

 

 

Feeling all ‘koselige and hygge’

It’s become a huge thing in England to reach out to our Scandinavian friends and steal a little of their lifestyle and make our homes that little bit more cosy and who can blame us! Hygge isn’t a word that translates into English well, but I think it’s a great word relatable to England, a healthy good for the soul word and one we should embrace this Christmas!

Hygge: The art of creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.

The last two weeks I’ve had my Scandinavian friends visiting and it’s just reminded me how much I love those cosy evenings at home, hot chocolate and blankets, hot water bottles and lots of fresh muffins readily available! Our snowy cinnamon scented friends across the water really have it sussed and make the most of their dark winters by bringing the sunshine indoors and creating a cosy little space for friends and family to soak up!

A few weeks ago I bought myself a book on ‘Hygge’ which is ironic as I had been a bit uppity about them before. How can a book really help you make your house more cosy? I’ve been to Scandinavia countless times and each time I have come away with new ideas, a warm heart, (candles) and recipes to try at home. I love visiting my friends in their home countries, so much I decided to create a koselige and hygge atmosphere in my own home.

To get us into the spirt of autumn and more importantly, Christmas, I have decided to share with you all over the next week some of my own hygge tips and tricks inspired by my extended Scandinavian family. This will include: the most wonderful blueberry muffin recipe, the best candles and where to find them, crafts you can do at home, and how to hygge your house on a budget. I am also very happy to take any suggestions, so if you want to know more about ‘dressing hygge’ or other recipes to try (such as my apple bread), just leave me a comment and I will see what I can do.

To keep up-to-date with me, follow me on Instagram where you will find lots of photos and advice on leading a happy and fulfilling life.

have a wonderful day and I look forward to welcoming you back here soon.

Love Lucy X

New Beginnings

Hey guys! Welcome to my new blog and website. The focus of my blog is going to be on who I am, individuality and lifestyle which should in turn help you out with a few fun craft tips, advice and ideas on Living Like Lucy! 

I wanted to start a new blog to reflect the idea of ‘New Beginnings’ in life by starting to define myself, learn more about individuality, personal needs and interests in life which in turn I hope will give you the little push you need to claim your life as your own.

Over the last year I have spent a lot of time changing the way I live and developing who I am as a person. I have developed my social circles, completely changed my career and started to respect myself more as an individual. I know for a fact you’re probably sat at home now, or on the train, maybe even just about to pop into a meeting with a tiny thought at the back of your head ‘fifteen year old me would not have imaged I would be at this stage of my life things didn’t quite go as expected’. You might be in a fantastic sales job, married well with a delightful family or even found that you (like many friends I have) have fallen onto the successful career path younger you never even considered, But is that really success and do you feel as if you have your life under control?

After finishing my A levels in 2009, I found myself in a state of limbo, unsure what I wanted to do with my life having only ever thought about others or reading books, playing outside and quite frankly just being a teenager. After much deliberating I ended up at University studying Film, which, as a fifteen year old, wasn’t on the agenda but funnily enough turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. If you went to University, perhaps you found yourself doing a degree you didn’t enjoy or weren’t too sure about? That is completely normal and a lot of people swap in their first year, I just happened to be lucky and find something that suited me entirely.

I think most of us would admit we have made mistakes throughout life and one of mine was allowing my sensitivity to cloud my better judgement which in turn has led me to where I am today. I handed in my notice at the BBC where I had been working part-time whilst studying at Oxford Brookes and moved to West London to pursue a career in god knows what! A lot of people, probably even you, found you moved away from home with an idea in your head about what you wanted to achieve or do with your career just like I did. I interviewed at some of the world’s top media companies such as NBC Universal, The Telegraph, ITV, Sky, Google… it was quite endless and I found myself not enjoying the interviews so went back to the drawing board and decided to sit in a temporary field sales role for a few months. After finishing my role in field sales with Red Bull I found a job at a large technology company that at first, I thoroughly enjoyed! I was relatively senior and had a lot of responsibility but my heart was just not in it so resigned after a year and told myself I really needed to think of what made me happy and what I should do.

I know all the above will sound very common to you, as many people find themselves in this state of limbo after university unsure on what they want to do or finding that they cannot get a job in their degree subject. For me it was the former. I spent the summer working in a simple visitor experience role at a famous London Opera and it made me realise I wanted to work in the arts so guess what, I started to look for jobs at my favourite London museum the V&A and that is exactly where I am now.

My advice is, just because your friends look like they have their lives together, doesn’t mean they do. Often we rush into things and don’t speak to ourselves enough, spending 90% of our time looking through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter comparing ourselves to social-media-happiness-fakes which is just ridiculous. You should give yourself time and permission to claim your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re 25, 30 or 40 you can change your path and do what you want with it.

Something else to think about is, what exactly does living mean to you? Is it about having a home, family and a part-time job, it could be that you want to be the best of your profession and retire at 35 (that is possible), or maybe you just want to find that medium, something that makes you happy enough that you can have those nice holidays, a lovely house and send your children to the right school. Or scrapping all that, maybe you just want to travel the world and live off the odd job change you pick up here and there. I am not suggesting you should live for the future, but in some ways you should. Spend your days pushing yourself to succeed, be patient about progression and only surround yourself with people who enjoy living a true life.

Basically, think about your life, what does living really mean and is the current situation you’re in really making you happy.