Baked: Christmas Cupcakes

 Can you believe it's Christmas Eve already? Today two of my best friends came over for a couple of hours. It's became tradition for them to visit on Christmas Eve when we were at sixth form and we kept it up when everyone left for uni because sometimes it was all we got to see of each other for months. So today we had a nice catch up and they both awed at my mum's handy work with the Christmas tree (she's Queen of Christmas Decorating!)

I love Christmas. This year I've been trying to get Callum in more of a jovial Christmas spirit so I decorated his house and made him watch Christmas films and listen to Christmas music (he obliged, I didn't have to tie him to a chair in front of the TV or anything...) I also convinced him to bake some Christmas cupcakes with me! Here's the recipe, it's just a simple vanilla cupcake recipe but we had fun baking them (and I had tons of fun taking the photos!)

We bought the cupcake cases from Home Sense, which came with the little decorations too. We also bought a new piping gun, a bit like this one. It was fun to play around with and we were able to do the really big buttercream swirls on top (finally, like a proper cupcake!) I love how festive they look! 

Now I'm going to go enjoy what's left of Christmas Eve with a big hot chocolate and a Christmas cupcake! Merry Christmas everyone! 

Winter Night Reads

I'm really disappointed with how much reading I've done this year. Usually I read about 15-20 books a year. This year I've read about six, not including all the books I've started and failed to finish. Even now, I'm reading about 4 books at the same time and it's not looking like I'll finish any of them by New Year. 

Lucky for you, since I've been sticking my fingers in all sorts of book pies (weird), I have a few to recommend to you that are perfect for these long winter evenings. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone | J. K. Rowling I've read this a few times, as I'm sure you have too. But in October an illustrated version of the book was released. The illustrations are beautiful and I have to try really hard to not skip ahead to see the next double page spread. It's a large hard cover book so it's ideal for coffee table/bedside reading. I leave mine by the bed so when I crawl under my duvet at night I can read a chapter or two before I go to sleep. And let's be honest, who doesn't want to read about magic at Christmas?

The Wizard of Oz | Frank E. Baum It's a book, who knew? Reading children's fantasy books at Christmas has become a bit of a tradition for me. Last year I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This year I went for the Wizard of Oz. We all love the film so that book has to be good too, right? It's a quick read, ideal for a Sunday afternoon in with a cup of tea and a blanket. 

Stardust | Neil Gaiman Just to continue along this magic/fantasy Christmas (but not really) theme,  number three on my 'currently reading' list is Stardust. Stardust is one that has been collecting virtual dust on my kindle bookshelf for a while now, like years. I bought this just after I watched the film because I enjoyed it so much but I've only just got around to reading it. If you like fantasy/romance novels then you might want to give this one a go. 

Next year I'm challenging myself to read more. I have stacks of books on my shelf that I'm yet to read and I can't wait to get stuck in. Hopefully my reading habits will pick up again next year. Please feel free to leave a comment on any winter/christmas reads you like or want to read!

Merry Christmas!