I had it in my head that come my blogs second birthday I would try to create something special. I was thinking I still had a couple of weeks left but it turns out my blog turned two last month *Happy Birthday to Me!* How did I miss this? 2 years have flown by. I feel I have come a long way since my first blog post (and I cringe at that photo)! But I am currently struggling to find time to create and share with my dear readers. I read this post recently and it completely sums up my feelings about blogging. I love blogging and the opportunities it brings me, but I feel so much pressure to put all my time and energy into it if I want to make it ‘big’. Trying to juggle a full-time job and a blog is HARD, unless you want to sacrifice any leisure time you do have. I wanna hang with my friends, I wanna laze on the sofa at the weekend, I want to explore the land on these short winter days. I don’t always want to plan my day around daylight hours and how much time I have to get a photo in the perfect light. Posts will still be coming, so bear with me, some may have one image, some may have seven. I think keeping things different is the key to a long, happy life. So here’s to slow blogging, slow living and a long life.
The annual Christmas Market has arrived in Bath. 200 wooden sheds fill the streets, bursting with Christmas gift ideas. It gets so busy, it’s a bit hard to handle some times. But I love to walk around and check out the stalls, browse the gifts and see what is on offer.
Every year one of the hotels sets up an ‘apres ski bar’ outside their reception. A little wooden chalet adorn with all things a la montagnes! It’s so snug in there, seats covered with sheepskin rugs and cosy blankets to snuggle up in. It makes me miss my winter seasons in the alps so much.
Two friends and I decided to pop in here for a drink last week. Upon entry we saw people drinking beer from huge glass wellie boots, and mulled wine from big wooden bowls. As soon as you walked through the door the smell of cinnamon and cloves hit you.
The smell stayed with me, and while I was walking home I started thinking about other Christmas drinks. Anything with rum is a safe bet for me, especially the spiced variety. Conveniently I knew I had some back at the boat. I swung by the supermarket and headed back to the boat to practice my mixology skills.
This drink is the perfect winter warmer. Easy to make a large batch, and a great addition to any Christmas party. It can be served with or without rum.
Spiced Apple Juice with Rum
500ml organic cloudy apple juice
70ml spiced rum (I used Captain Morgans)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons Christmas Spice Mix (I combined ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, juniper berries and all spice)
2 teaspoons unrefined brown sugar
Add the apple juice, cinnamon sticks, sugar and spices to a saucepan and stir well. Turn on to a low heat.
Slice the orange and lemon and add 2 slices of each to pan.
Keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from heat and leave to cool down slightly.
Split the rum (if using) between two wine glass, slowly pour in the warm juice.
Garnish with more orange.
NB: This recipe is a surefire way to polish off a bottle of rum in no time!
The sky was so clear last night, I’ve never seen so many stars scattered across the night-time curtain of dark blue. Then, when the sun rose, there was a crisp, silver blanket spread over the city. Blades of grass turned into silver swords, puddles into mirror like circles. The mist sitting so heavily along the canal. The first frost of winter.
The condensation on the inside of our boat’s windows had frozen, and we could see our breath, it was so cold. Thankfully we have a brilliant wood burner, and it soon melted away any trace of winter.
This loaf is just what you need this time of year, run home, heat yourself up a nice mug of Chai, and cut yourself a hunky bit of this tasty loaf.
If you can resist, leave this to sit overnight, as it tastes even better the day after.
Date, Apple and Walnut Loaf
200g pitted dates
70g dried cranberries
90g unrefined light brown sugar
200g wholemeal flour
50g coconut flour
100g chopped walnuts
1 apple (peeled and cut into small cubes)
1 egg (use 1 mashed banana if you want to make this vegan friendly)
25g mixed seeds (I used sunflower and pumpkin)
3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon all spice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon sea salt
Sprinkling of sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (180 C)
Grease and line a loaf tin.
Chop the dates and cranberries and add to a saucepan with the apple pieces. Add 4 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 15 mins. It should form a paste. If you need to you can mash it a bit with a fork.
While the dates are cooking, melt the coconut oil in a pan. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the flours, walnuts, seeds, baking powder, spices and salt.
Add the melted coconut oil to the date-apple paste, along with the sugar, and egg (or banana), mix well.
Mix the wet with the dry, until just combined (don’t over mix)
Spread into your loaf tin, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for approx. 50 mins (or until a knife comes out clear of mixture)
Let the loaf sit for 15 minutes then turn out onto rack and leave to cool.