A Christmas Miracle | Blogmas Day 22?

featured image from boldcupofcoffee.com

I’ve been out of action for a while, but I take zero responsibility for it. Zeus threw a hissy fit of epic proportions, resulting in an electric storm that shocked our home PC, several power stations, and a major reservoir. Not your average second sentence.

We’ve been without power for a while, and our friendly neighbouring suburbs (jk i have no clue if they are friendly) have been without water. It’s been a fun lead up to Christmas!

It really hasn’t.

The Christmas tree is, according to my brother, “loaded”, and everyone’s gifts are -haha- present. [insert picture I 100% did take because I did not lose my camera AGAIN]

I received an email from one of my prospective unis today, and pretended to work on the scholarship essays that I really need to be working on. I feel like these posts have had a similar theme?

What’s in store for me is a massive anxiety attack concerning the fact that THE FUTURE is in a little over a week. When 2015 is over, my schooling career will officially be as well? I don’t know, it’s just a strange set of circumstances for me to come to terms with. I also don’t yet have a planner for next year, and I am that planner person. UGH.

In any case, I have a friendioni coming over tomorrow (i don’t know what friendioni means) and I plan to get my Love Actually fix before the festive period is up. I need a tea in a Christmas mug ASAP,because Lord knows my festivity is wearing thin.

Please note: SUPER festive. (also, that poor tiny dog!)

Love and light,
shalom xo

none of the photos used in this blog post are mine – all credit goes to the official owners!

Dashing Through The Snow Tag | Blogmas Day 19!

DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW TO GET THIS POST DONE BECAUSE I HAVE THIRTY MINUTES UNTIL IT IS TOMORROW GO GO GO

Rules:

  • Thank the curator
  • Tag 5 other people to spread the Christmas joy
  • Have fun!

Thank you to the magical Sydney who tagged me in this except not really! I’m tagging Maxine, Em, Guilia, Maddy and Kaila!

Name a book you would like to see under your Christmas tree

To be perfectly honest with you all, I haven’t done nearly enough reading as I wanted to this year.I think my foreshadowing was correct. Eugh. I would however love to see Emma by Jane Austen? Also, The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir?

 A book you’ll be reading during the holiday season!

BEING AND NOTHINGNESS BY JEAN PAUL SARTRE BECAUSE I AM A PHILOSOPHY NERD. I’ve also got my hands on a copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, with some of the original illustrations, and I love it.

Favorite Christmas movie?

I actually don’t watch that many Christmas films! (Do I get my festivity card revoked now?) I do, however, watch Love Actually almost every year, without fail (and giggle at the “massage them” part. I was seven when I first saw it, okay? I blame it on nostalgia.).

Do you like snow?

I’ve never seen snow (that I can actively recall)! It snowed in 2007 in South Africa, but I was in Nigeria at the time, so I missed it. I did see snow when I was a tiny tot in America, but I can’t remember that. I do like snow, though. I love the cold more than anything else (I’m looking at you summer, you awful season you) and I hope that when I do see snow, I will like it.

Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with

MMMM tough one. I’m going to break this up into a character from a show and one from a book – TV Show Webseries wise, I’d say the gang from Carmilla (without the crazy demon time and all that), and in terms of books, I’d say The Golden Trio from Harry Potter in the Great Hall. I just feel like nothing really says Christmas like MAGIGALLY APPEARING FOOD does.

To give or receive?

Can I say both? Giving, for me. I like wrapping gifts and making people excited and hearing “oh this is exactly what I wanted!”. I really like giving. I wish I wasn’t so broke all the time.

What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?

Hogwarts. Hogwarts, or The Burrow, or a snowy version of London. A snowy somewhere.

Fondest Christmas memory?

I haven’t really got one! But last year, my family and I did a secret santa gift exchange for the first time, and everyone got really festive, and the asshole bit of my family wasn’t present (haha, present) and it was really a lovely time.

Can you say Christmas tree ten times fast, while pronouncing it correctly?

No. I said “shitmas free” twice. I’m not trying this again.

MERRY SIX DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS AJEUKFDSJGFJDSHFIYGHKGTHDG

love and light,
shalom

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe | Blogmas Day 16

Today has been trying to tire myself out so that I’ll manage to get some rest. Apart from an hour’s long economics course, I didn’t succeed.

That aside, the lovely Miki from jumpingintothefog asked me ever so kindly for the recipe I used for yesterday’s gingerbread cookies. Does this make me a food blogger? Baking makes me obnoxiously happy, even though I’m usually such rubbish at it.  Hence, this my post for this week’s The Happiness Project, created by the lovely Sydney from Love, Sydney.

image courtesy of roseandlea.com

Gingerbread Cookies

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup golden syrup/ maple syrup / honey/ molasses (we never have molasses, so I used syrup)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

NB: the measures of the spices can be altered to your taste. You can also just as easily use, say a tablespoon and a bit of allspice?

  • 3/4 cup of softened butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoons of milk (of your choice, just for binding etc)

How to do it:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F.
  • Sieve flour, spices, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, cream butter, milk, and sugar.
  • Mix molasses/syrup into the butter-sugar mix.
  • Gradually combine the flour mix into the butter mix until a dough is formed.

NB: If the dough is still hard at this time, add a little more milk until your desired consistency is reached. If the dough is too soft, consider adding a little bit of flour to the dough and then letting it chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

  • Roll out dough onto baking paper / parchment sheet (or onto a flour dusted surface) , and cut shapes. Make sure not to roll the dough out too thinly, or the cookies will be quite hard.
  • Place cookies onto baking trays and bake at 180°C or 350°F for anywhere between 8 and 15 minutes, or until the cookies are browned to your liking. Keep an eye on these as the edges can burn quite quickly!
  • Once done, allow cookies to cool on a wire rack.

Now, the thing about these cookies is that they can be lacto-vegetarian or  vegan (for my sake). They don’t have any egg, which may contribute to their snappy-ness: the longer these are left out, the become progressively more snappy and less soft on the inside. If you want to try to avoid this, I’d suggest adding an egg to the butter mix before mixing in the flour.

The number of cookies that this recipe makes really depends on the size of your cutters.

In terms of icing, it’s just coloured royal icing which can be made in several ways, but the easiest being the following:

  • Combine a cup of icing sugar (powdered sugar? confectioner’s sugar? ring a bell?) with 1/3 cup of water.
  • Mix until the consistency is smooth, then use your own judgement to decide whether more water, or icing sugar is needed.
  • Separate the icing into [as many different colours as you want] parts, and add the required food colouring.
  • Pipe the icing onto the gingerbread cookies once they are cool!

Other recipes call for an egg, lemon juice, milk and confectioners sugar.

You should be left with some delicious cookies that probably won’t last longer than a day. I ate six today. I have no shame.

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Good luck with these! Be sure to let me know if you try them, and how they turn out!

Merry almost Christmas! 9 days left!

This is one of my favourite creepy-Christmasesque songs. It sounds a little like something out of a Tim Burton movie and I LOVE IT. Props to The Bird and The Bee!

Love and light,
shalom x

Christmas Cookies | Blogmas Day 15

As you may or may not have picked up from my last two posts, I’m fairly shit at anything cooking wise. Not really, but my misadventures aren’t usually enjoyably edible. However, I can do eggless gingerbread cookies. That I can do.

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With help from the Christmas spices and Dean Martin on repeat, I managed to not cause a complete disaster in the kitchen! There were a lot of “nonononoNO a TEASPOON” and “ohmYGOD that’s not butter” moments, but I got through them. And all on three hours of sleep! [NB NB NB DON’T ROMANTICISE UNHEALTHY BEHAVIOUR PLEASE GET THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF SLEEP I.E A BARE MINIMUM OF 5 HOURS]

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Despite being a little crumbly initially, the dough worked itself out and I managed to take zero pictures of the cookies before they were baked. At this stage I should note that we have not a single cookie cutter in our house. Not even one. So, my humble butter knife and I did what we could.

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The icing was a bit of a process, and I got the help from my little sister who was more keen on spreading intermittent fear rather than the joy that comes with the festive season.

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“hey shalom, we should call this one the child of lilith.”

 

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All is well. Merry almost Christmas from me, and the chamomile tea that’s supposed to put me to bed tonight. 10 days til Christmas!

this is one of my favourite christmas-goes-punk versions of a christmas song. it’s also, in my opinion, ridiculously random.

Love and light,
shalom

Christmas on tumblr. | Blogmas Day 12

Discoveries: I missed the deadline for Christmas delivery for most of the online gifts I wanted to get for mia familia. Worse discovery: I missed it by ONE DAY.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sleep at all last night, resulting in me seeing the sunset, on-off rain for about 5 hours, and the sunrise. The day has been, for lack of a better word, tiring.

Tomorrow should be better as I am blogging from bed which never happens. I may well get to sleep before tomorrow! I plan to vlog the day at the Christmas Market we’re going to, and hopefully manage to get over this crazy life jetlag I’ve been feeling – it;s just like regular jetlag, except I haven’t traveled anywhere.

TODAY IS CHRISTMAS ON TUMBLR LET’S GO

yES THAT IS A CAP EDIT

And for good measure, Dan and Phil’s 2014 festivities:

EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET IS SO. DAMN. FESTIVE. None of the above photographs belong to me, and full credit goes to the content creators on tumblr.

For today’s cheesy af Christmas tune:

Love and light,
shalom x

Fandom Festivities | Blogmas Day 11

FYI, I have Blue Neighbourhood on repeat. “What’s Blue Neighbourhood?” you ask? Well, it’s Troye Sivan’s album and I’ve written about it here and here.

I’m quite a die-hard Harry Potter fan, despite starting quite late for reasons I’m not entirely sure of. I’ve been thinking about Christmas at Hogwarts for a while, so here’s my HP post. Really, it’s just my favourite images of Hogwarts at Christmastime. It’s happening. Let it happen.

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Merry 14 days until Christmas!

Love and light,
shalom


 

(also i feel like absolute shit today, so. yes.)

Tinsel Town | Blogmas Day 4

I woke up unbelievably sick today – stuffy nose, crusty eyes and more snotty tissues than I’d seen in a long, long time. In any case, I made some miracle tea out of cinnamon, honey, lemon, ginger and rooibos, and saw myself ready to go in less time than I had expected.

Tonight I went out for sushi with two of my lovely friends. While eating the sushi, my bad blogger skills showed up and the photos that were supposed to be taken, were not. I did get emergency snaps of the mall, though! After yelling, “BLOGMAS! PHOTOS FOR BLOGMAS! CHRISTMAS!” these happened:

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I did, however, get pictures of ice cream. Because — ice cream.

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There’s always time for chocolate, though, and sleepover culture dictates  that there needs to be some crying over  expensive chocolate. Obviously.

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Today was a success, overall. I’m exhausted, re. going out while SICK AF, but I’m glad I got to see the Christmas decor. The logical thing to do would be to sleep, but Zoella’s Vlogmas Day 3 video is calling my name far too loudly.

Love and light,
Shalom

Banner Manor | Blogmas Day 3

I was quite pleased with myself today! I managed to get up before 1 PM (which doesn’t sound like a feat, but I’m on school holidays, give me a break!) I cleaned my room, and watched SO MANY Vlogmas videos that my family is probably going to roast me on the spit for using so much of the bandwith.

Today we decided to try to be as crafty as we were yesterday. Initially, we succeeded! We strung the banner from yesterday’s crafting experience, and despite the lounge wall still looking quite very empty, I’m happy with how it turned out:

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After this and well placed misplacement of an old tree-topper, we took a leaf out of Sydney’s Christmas Decor post – or at least we tried to. The snowflake project didn’t quite turn out, but the mess of paper that I’m left to clean sure did.

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Tomorrow, I’ll be headed into tinsel town! Not really, but I will be going to dinner with a couple of my loves, and I’m almost 100% certain that the mall will have outdone itself for Christmas. Stay tuned!

Love and light,
Shalom

Get Festive | Blogmas Day 2

It’s the second day of Blogmas and I’m feeling decidedly more festive! Perhaps it’s because I slept a total of 11 hours today (hello six hour nap). In any case, the festivity got real today. I proved my allegiance to the phandom by adhering to the creed: Don’t cry. Craft.

(Please can at least ONE person get my ref?)

Today we put up the Christmas tree – or, rather, what’s left of it. In a house of five children, I don’t think it’s wise to keep a Christmas tree for 6 years. (Note: in South Africa we don’t buy real trees.)It’s looking a little wonk, but we shoved every Christmassy thing we could on there.

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In the spirit of Craftsmas, we also made the first ever Christmas banner our house has ever seen! It was quite fun, apart from the paint on the tiles. Not fun.

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I’m glad my scrooge-ness is ebbing away. I’m 100% ready  for what will probably be the warmest Christmas South Africa has ever seen (I see you, El Niño), or at least that’s what the 23 8tracks Christmas playlists I’ve listened to today are telling me.

Merry December 2nd!

Love and light,
Shalom

Existential Crises & Non-Festivities | Blogmas Day 1

featured image from mxndingo.tumblr.com 

On the first day of Blogmas, my true love gave to me… A NASTY EXISTENTIAL CRISIS. The crazy lack of festive feelings has led me to consider changing my name to Ebenezer.

Hi there, guys, gals & non-binary pals! I’ve some news: I tried to vlog today, and ended up being just complaining, wondering about the world and my terribly uncertain future (What is the future? Does it actually exist seeing that it hasn’t happened? Do I even exist?) and making mac & cheese. That’s essentially it. So, no vlog today, but I’m thinking I’ll do a weekly Vlogmas vlog? Perhaps perchance? Who really knows?

Today’s Blogmas topic is: Introductions.

Pshhh. Definitely not a totally vague topic on which I could say everything and nothing at the same time.

I feel as though today was the least Christmassy day of December. Our tree isn’t up. The heat was ridiculous, and then it was crazy overcast, and the weather was just having a terrible day. Kinda like me.

If this was supposed to be an introduction to Blogmas, then here: Welcome to Blogmas! Here, you’ll find festive festivities from a place where Christmas happens in the heat of summer, amidst college applications and the void that comes with finishing school. Merry Christmas!

I’ve played three Christmas playlists today and I’m STILL not feeling this. Perhaps tomorrow? I think I’m going to succumb to the Pinterest user stereotype and fairy light the heck out of my room. After I dig it out from the pile of papers it’s under. My room, that is.

 Happy Tuesday, folks! And happy day one of Blogmas! Cheers to more festive days than today, and the hope that I can get these apps in by the US-time deadline. Yeesh.

Love and light,
Shalom