I am not usually one to wish the snow to arrive – its hassle in this country is more than its worth. But there is always something missing in the air if there is no snow at Christmas – don’t you think?
The most perfect hot chocolate I have ever tasted is from the New York City Bakery called City Bakery (also home to the very best chocolate chip cookies!). It is rich, creamy, and with the perfect amount of chocolate – complete with a drowned handmade marshmallow the size of the cup (practically).
Southern Living Magazine has found a recipie that is the closest I have ever come to duplicating City Bakery’s secret recipe.
Rich & Thick Hot Chocolate
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 cups milk, divided
2 (3.5 oz) dark chocolate bars (at least 70% cacao), chopped
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Whisk together cornstarch and 1/2 cup milk until smooth.
Cook remaining 3 1/2 cups milk in a large, non-aluminium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan (about 4 minutes). Whisk in chocolate, honey, vanilla extract, and salt until blended and smooth. Whisk in cornstarch mixture.
Bring milk mixture to a light boil, whisking frequently (about 4 minutes). Remove from heat. Let cool slightly.
Serve immediately (with a large marshmallow if desired).
Recipe from Southern Living
Photo by Karsten Moran from the New York Times.
This one is for my mom – the sole lover of the Grinch until the end. I am still a big fan of the more recent Jim Carry version, however the original still takes the gold.
“We elves try to stick to the main four food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.” Nuff said.
A classic animated film from the ’60s. ‘Happy Birthday!’
4) Santa Claus
I love this movie – and the sequels aren’t so bad either. It is very feel good and has a good storyline to follow.
Another wonderful stop-animation classic.
6) The Holiday
I saw this movie nearly four years ago, the night I met my wonderful British man. This is a classic for me at any time of year now.
My family grew up on these films. This one always scared me because of the abominable snowman.
Great film that is much better with a part-puppet cast then with all humans.
I first saw this film with Ben outside of the holiday season but as it is one of his favourite Christmas flicks, it must be included
12 hours in France – Paris to be exact. What a whirlwind! A place as vast and beautiful as Paris deserves more then a mere few hours to discover… However, that is all we had on this cold Friday in November.
The Seine was rapid and churning, not unlike the Thames this time of year. And the skies were cloudy and yes, it did rain. But it was a lovely time filled with so much food my colleagues nearly rolled each other out of the EuroStar at the end of the trip (including myself!)
We had an incredible lunch at the place pictured above – where we ate escargot, chestnut soup, fresh fish, and chocolate tarts. Plus devine cheese puff pastries that I desperately wanted to take home.
I took home other French cheese instead.
We walked around the city stopping at the great home store Merci and grabbing fresh cheese and baguettes to take back to England. By the time we got back on the train, we were exhausted but well fed.
Did I mention I got to practice my French and was understood!
I will be returning very soon (if only just to practice my French further!) x
Bits of memories from my long weekend in Dublin.
We poured pits of Guinness, wandered around the streets of the town, and had a beautiful country walk in Howth.
I was disappointed to not spend more time in Ireland – Dublin was a cool city but very small. I would have much rather taken the time to discover more countryside.
Next up – a day in Paris x
With nearly all of the Croatia Crew reunited, we headed down to Cornwall for a few days of the half term holiday for good eats, good walks, and some fresh air. What a wonderful time we had exploring the coasts, eating clotted cream and pasties, drinking tea, and seeing the coast! It was the most wonderful four days – and despite the horrific long drive (6 hours!) I’d go back in a heartbeat.
What a wonderful group of friends I have! X
At half term, Ben and I went on the most wonderful holiday to Chester and Liverpool. We had planned for a spa day just outside Chester, with a day to explore the city, and then a jaunt to Liverpool for some exploring and a comedy night.
We had a fabulous time at the spa day (I had a Dermalogica facial and Ben had a massage). Complete with an amazing dinner of duck and red wine.
Weather was not the greatest – but Chester was definitely worth a visit. I loved its Tudor style character and unique shops (we loved this interiors shop so much).
Liverpool was a great time, especially at this comedy club where we got called out for sitting in the front row. We stayed at the great Z Hotel and binged on late night grub. Fabulous.
Until next time north west! X
Last weekend Ben and I went to the most amazing dog show – it was called Discover Dogs. Over 200 different breeds were there to ‘meet and greet’ (aka ooh and aww over). We went in thinking we would just visit the dogs we have always fancied, but came out with at least 4 new breeds that we have added to our list of potential dogs to one day own!
Although, seeing our favourite dogs for a bit of a pet and cuddle wasn’t too bad either.
It is still 3-5 years away, a very long time, but oh we both cant stop thinking of one! X