Hiya, I’m back

‭I may or may not have gone a little AWOL over the past couple of weeks, but I think I’m ready to blog again.

Sad news on this end – on the 11th December, 2015 at 23:07, my Dad took his last shaky breath in his bed at home. Turns out when the tumour in your throat has had enough and really feels like wreaking havoc there’s not an awful lot you can do to stop it. He was 52; cancer is and always will be a complete arse.

To make up for the complete lack of Christmassy content that the blogisphere is currently brimming with, here’s my little contribution. On Saturday I actually managed to leave not only the house but also the country – I hopped on a train to Cardiff to see Polly and explore the Cardiff Christmas market.

It really didn’t disappoint! I’m so used to Christmas markets being too much of a hustle and bustle to properly get stuck into (Birmingham, I’m looking at you. Broad Street is barely wide enough to fit the usual flurry of people) but Cardiff’s markets felt friendly, warm – despite the rain – and full of really interesting nick-nacky bits and bobs. This weekend marked the end of the market, but if you can get yourself over to the capital next year it’d be worth your while.

I came away with only two things from the markets themselves – some lovely looking elderflower wine that I will be cracking into for Wednesday night’s festivities, and a hot pork, stuffing and apple baguette. £5.20, but a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do.

Once we’d marketed ourselves out (we’d tried some leek and white wine cheese, and struck up a deal with the loose tea man and his wonderfully festive teas) we headed to the shops. My most dignified moment of the whole outing came in Lush – picture me, eyes wide and hands absolutely covered in Lush’s The Comforter shower cream while an eager sales assistant told us that she was feeling really tired because she’d stayed up til 3am wondering what it would be like if her dog could send texts. Barmy. But apparently good at her job, because I bought the bloody shower cream and it smells fantastic. Just like Vimto.

After a quick trip to Polly’s flat for a camomile tea and more of a chat, she dropped me back at the station and I was on my way home. When I wasn’t nearly falling asleep in my seat I got most of the way through Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, which I’m really enjoying and will most likely tell you all about as soon as I’m done with it.

All in all, a very Christmassy kinda day! A big thank you to Polly for giving me a fun ‘escape’ day (and also paying for parking).

Until next time,

Emma x

I’m cancelling Blogmas.

For me, not the rest of the world. Hold onto your hats.

It’s already plainly obvious that posting something Christmassy every day is a task which I’m incapable of finishing. I need to make this post for myself, really, because if I don’t it’ll constantly be hanging on my mind that it’s been X days since I last posted and aren’t I awful etc. etc. etc.

Reasons why? There are many reasons, the main one being that I’m really, truly not in the festive spirit this year. There’s not much in our life worth celebrating. Dad’s disease is progressing, there’s a constant rain cloud hanging over our heads and the mental exhaustion of the past six months has finally caught up with me. All I want to do in my free time is lie in bed and watch YouTube videos! As such, it’s come to December and I haven’t made a Christmas list, I’ve barely listened to any Christmas songs and I can count the amount of times I’ve socialised outside of work in the past month on one hand.

That’s it, really. You’ll be happy to hear, on the other hand, that I’m still opening and enjoying my advent calendar, and the novelty of the Christmas gingerbread muffins we’ve got in at work still hasn’t worn off. Father Christmas isn’t stopping here this year, but I’m keeping optimistic.

I’ll still be posting things, but just as and when I can. You won’t get rid of me that easily.

Hope you’re well. Until next time,

Emma x

Beef & Chorizo Stuffed Peppers | Blogmas Day 2

Good evening good evening, one and all!

It’s been a not-so-festive day this end because I’m really not feeling that Christmassy just yet. When your Mum and brother’s birthdays both fall in December, and putting up the tree is something that is done – traditionally – no earlier than the 17th, getting into the groove so early in the month is a bit difficult.

So, instead, I’m bringing you a new recipe I tried out this evening which went down a treat. I found it in the community section of Nigella.com, posted by user CakeMuffinPie (so, to give credit where credit is due, thank you very much!)

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Beef and chorizo stuffed peppers (with extra gubbins on the side, because my portion control is anything but controlled). Lovely, lovely stuff, and so easy to make!

You will need…

  • 6 large peppers
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I used rapeseed oil, any cooking oil is fine)
  • 500 grams minced beef (I actually used pork, because we had some that needed using up, and it worked just as well)
  • 150 grams chorizo (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100 grams rice (again, I switched things up here and used a pack of microwave rice. Lazy, I know, and it was waaay too much rice, but if you’re looking to cut corners just follow your heart…)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 75 grams cheese (grated)

Once you’ve got all that together, here’s the method! This dish takes just over an hour from start to finish, if you chop quickly.

  • Preheat your oven to 220 degrees.
  • If you’re boiling your rice the *proper* way, get that underway to start with. If you’re using a packet, like I did, you can make the filling first and come back to this later.
  • To make the filling: Heat your oil in a pan, add onions and garlic and fry until they’re nice and soft. Add the minced beef (or pork!) stirring until it has browned.
  • Add the chorizo, stir in and fry for a few minutes allowing the juice and flavours from the chorizo to come out. Add the chilli, cumin and oregano next, stir them up a little bit then add your chopped tomatoes and allow it all to cook together for about 5 more minutes.

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  •  Getting the peppers ready: chop off the tops just below the stem and put them to the side, but keep them. Place the peppers in a bowl with the seeds and membrane removed, dont forget to include the tops.
  • Pour over freshly boiled water and allow to soak for 5 mins.

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  • Remove the peppers from the water and place upright on a baking tray.
  • Mix the rice in with the filling, and stuff the peppers with the mixture. Replace the tops on to the peppers.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, remove the pepper tops and sprinkle the cheese on to the mixture and return to the oven until the cheese has melted.

Long-winded, I know, but if you’re interested they’re definitely worth giving a go! In the words of LessAmazingPhil, and something I try to live by myself, try new things?

Until next time,

Emma x

Blogmas Day 1!

December has finally decided to show its face, which can only mean one thing – Blogmas has arrived with it. You know the drill, bloggers (and vloggers, which you’re probably familiar with too) post content on every day of December in the run up to Christmas.

A bit of a virtual advent calendar, if you will.

I can tell you ahead of time that I won’t be able to post every single day because, of course, I wasn’t organised enough to schedule some posts in advance and, of course, work will become hectic as we approach the big day because the weather will inevitably take a miserable turn for the worst.

As it’s the first today, I thought I’d start my Blogmas as every December begins – with advent calendars!

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I am *that* person who takes advent calendars really seriously. I’ve never eaten the chocolates in a botched order or all at once, and I’ve never had to play catch up for being away (I transported my advent calendar backwards and forwards – sometimes with a few squashed corners – for all three of the years I was at uni). Growing up, my brother and I had a Nativity advent ‘calendar’, where each day we would add a new character or animal to the stable, and by Christmas there’d be a proper 3d card Nativity scene on the mantelpiece.

This year I’ve gone for something a little different – the Yankee Candle Advent house. I’m always on the lookout for ways to be healthier and while scouring the Internet in November decided I didn’t want a chocolate advent calendar this time round. Not that it’s going to make the world of difference – I’m sure 24 little chocolates aren’t going to have that much of an impact on my already full-of-Quality-Street Christmas body – but I just fancied something a little different. Plus on Christmas Eve the front door opens to reveal a ‘Christmas Eve’ scented candle – *how* amazing is that!?

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Here’s my raw Snapchat reaction. This candle is Snowflake Cookie scented, it’s subtle and sweet and has been burning beautifully in my bedroom while I’ve been trying to declutter.

Happy advent, all!

Emma x