Festive Thursday #1: Shopping, Reading, Watching, Waiting… #BloggingThroughChristmas #FestiveReads

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Welcome to Festive Thursday where I’m going to be sharing with you all my Christmas endeavours, including the books I’m reading, the films I’ve watched, gift ideas I’ve found, and any festive events I’ve attended. Because, well, I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO HARD.

I’ve decided to start my festive posts early this year because I always run out of time. And yes, I have started celebrating and preparing already! 

Last year, December crept up on me and I didn’t feel like I did enough fun, Christmassy things before Christmas itself. It didn’t help that I also took hardly any time off work. Well not this year my friends. This year I am starting early for MAXIMUM CHRISTMAS FEELS. Any ‘it’s too early’ naysayers can leave now. 

The shops are alive with the sound of Christmas music…

I have made a tentative start on my Christmas shopping, mainly spurred on by finding the most beautiful wrapping paper in TK Max that I ever did see. My friends did laugh at me when I met them in the pub in early November and made them repeatedly look at my amazing Christmas paper (which cost me £4 a roll). But it’s so pretty (the photos don’t do it justice, trust me). 

I love picking out wrapping paper and deciding how to dress up my presents each year. I’m not the best wrapper, but I make up for it in effort. I’m now on the hunt for the perfect purple ribbon/bows to go with this paper…any ideas?

Curling up with a good book or a movie…

I have, of course, already started hankering for some trashy, festive reads and terrible made-for-TV movies. Let’s face it, that began in September but I managed to hold off until we hit November (see, I have my boundaries).

On the book front, things got off to a great start with Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin and a stunning children’s book called The Book of Kringle, which I now really want a physical copy of because it looked so beautiful, but I can’t find it anywhere where it isn’t extortionate. Damn you, Modern World. 

The movie front hasn’t gone quite as well but I have enjoyed it all the same. I started with Arthur Christmas which I remember enjoying at the cinema but I wasn’t as impressed the second time round. I also caught Once Upon a Holiday on TV which was much more my style (r.e Trash with a capital T). 

Christmas Pudding Vodka & Christmas Breakfast Muffins

For the past few years I’ve made a batch of Christmas Pudding Vodka to give as presents as well as to drink myself/take to parties etc. I’ve decided not to make it this year (I will be trying different things instead, do not fret), but I wrote this post last year and never got round to publishing it (I told you I always run out of time)!

As you need to soak the fruit for a while, I thought now would be a better time to post it. 

Christmas Pudding Vodka is really easy, and really yummy. The only slightly specialist bit of equipment you need is a muslin cloth/jam strainer, but you could always use a thin cotton tea towel. All you need is a pack of the traditional festive dried fruits you use for Christmas cake/pudding, sugar, cinnamon sticks, spices, oranges & lemons, a bottle of good vodka, and some time. 

After the Vodka has been soaking in the fruits and spices for about a week it’s all lovely and syrupy and tastes like the epitome of festive, yet still has a good kick.

It’s perfect for shots (even my Nan went back for a second shot last year), or with lemonade or tonic if you don’t like it too sweet.

The full recipe I follow is here.

I’ve never bothered with the vanilla, and I leave mine for at least two weeks, stirring at least once a day. Once you’ve bottled your vodka, you’re left with delicious boozy fruit that you can do lots with instead of throwing away.

Last year I just had it as a dessert, warmed up with custard. But this year, I thought – MUFFINS. Breakfast muffins, but boozy ones – WHY THE HELL NOT, IT’S CHRISTMAS!

I used a standard breakfast muffin recipe like this one, and just tweaked it. They turned out delicious, especially warm and topped with jam, as they’re not that sweet alone. 

So there you have it. As you can see, I’m easing myself in gently this year 😉

If you’re not feeling Christmassy after that lot, there is no hope for you. 

Next Week: The Christmas lights switch-on, Winter Wonderland and more festive reads!

 

The Book of Kringle: Legend of the North Pole #BookReview #XmasReads

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Title: The Book of Kringle – Legend of the North Pole
Author: Derek Valez Partridge with Mark Packard
Series: N/A
Format: ePub, 32 pages
Publication Details:  September 22nd 2016 by Vista Clara Productions
Genre(s): Children’s Literature; Christmas Stories
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

In a magical land on top of the world, an epic struggle between light and darkness was waged between two brothers. King Kringle ruled with a harsh hand over the Elves of the North Pole, allowing no laughter, no play and no Christmas celebration.

There was only one truly kindhearted soul who could make a difference and change the course of the world. Would the Elves be able to find Santa and bring laughter and joy to the land? Manusol the Elf knows the answer, for it is written in The Book of Kringle.

Review

This beautifully illustrated children’s book is an origin story of Santa Claus. Narrated by an elf, we are taken on a journey through a tough time in the North Pole where the evil King has put a ban on Christmas, celebrations, and even laughter. 

But the Elves envisage a better future for themselves and together they set out to find the one person who can stop the King. The one person who knows the importance of the spirit of Christmas, and that is the King’s brother himself, known as Santa Claus.

The Book of Kringle is wonderful. The story was unique amongst many generic Santa Claus tales, this one had grit and adventure and just the right amount of danger, all finished off with a happy ending, of course. I only wish it was longer!

However, the star of the show is definitely the stunning illustrations. They are complex and bright and will no doubt hypnotise all children who are lucky enough to see them. This is a book worth treasuring for years to come. 

unicorn rating 4