BEST OF 2017

Hey there beautiful souls,

I have seen a lot of these posts circulating and really wanted to write my own. This Christmas I wrote a letter to my friends and whilst updating them on what’s been going on in my life within the last year I realise how many wonderful events actually happened in 2017. I often allow the few bad spots to overshadow the good, but reminiscing has filled me with a happiness and positivity I now want carry into this new year. So anyway here are a few of my favourite events summed up through some photographs:

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A trip to the Peak District with my German bestie
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My best friend Emily’s Hen Do
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Newcastle Pride with my work family
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Having my French friend Nadia and her fiance visit me!
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My best friends wedding ❤
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Lindisfarne Festival with Emily
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Once Upon A Time themed Halloween Party at mine
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Visiting my sister in Edinburgh
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First Christmas in my own place

Love Carina xo

CHRISTMAS !!!

Good evening beautiful souls,

I’ve had a lovely couple of days off celebrating Christmas with friends and family. Being both German and Irish my Christmas traditions are a mixed bag and I love it. Here’s what I got up to.

I have always celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve – that’s the German tradition and I love it! This is the first year I have my  own place and am not just home from uni for the holidays, so it was the first year I didn’t have a family breakfast on Christmas eve with my parents and sister. Instead I made a yummy brunch for Jessica and myself and we had a relaxing morning watching Santa Claus, drinking coffee and enjoying a cheeky sausage on avocado & egg toast.

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After a lazy morning I packed all my things up to take to my parents later that day and got ready. I enjoyed the routine of glaming up and putting a full face of makeup on whilst listening to Christmas songs and feeling more festive with every song I sang along to. I decided to pair my LBD with a wine coloured polo neck as my parents house tends to be on the cold side compared to mine and then went for dangly earrings as a statement piece and dark lips to match the polo.

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Just after 2pm my mum and sister picked me up and we went into Durham to go to the 3pm 9 lessons and carols service at the Cathedral. We didn’t stay for the full thing however as sadly being right at the back we could hardly hear and had to stand; however we did enjoy belting out some descants to our favourite carols before we left. As we’d left a bit earlier we decided to grab a coffee before heading home to give my dad a bit more time to rest because he wasn’t feeling great. We popped into Flat White in Durham and treated ourselves to some nice peanut butter bar thing too.

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Finally it was time to head home and for me to see our Christmas tree for the first time!! I love our Christmas tree; we always get a real one and the pine just smells wonderful. After adding my presents to the pile under the tree I finished painting my nails (as I’d totally mis-planned my time getting ready earlier) and then we all sat down together for our Christmas Eve dinner. It was time for another first this year as we changed up our family traditional meal for some salmon with rice and salad. It was very tasty but I have to say I missed our usual Christmas eve meal.

 

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After dinner we read the Christmas Story and sang some carols together in both English and German before sitting around the tree to open all our presents. We always take it in turns to open gifts so everyone sees what the other received and also so the process of opening gifts lasts as long as possible. About half way through we usually pause to make some tea and enjoy some Lebkuchen and Stollen some of our favourite German Christmas goodies. I’ll do a what I got for Christmas post soon, but for now I’ll just share my best present with you. I got a cello on loan!!! I haven’t played the cello in about 6 years as I’ve never owned my own instrument so when I stopped lessons after 9 years I had to return the cello to the music school. I’ve been itching to have another go at the cello for years now and so to finally be able to do this was the best present I could ask for – and it was a complete surprise! What made me even happier was that I remembered a lot more than I thought I had!

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Eventually we were all tire and crept to bed, but not before filling each others stockings. You see with also being British we still get stockings and Santa on Christmas Day, even though Christmas eve is our main celebration. The last few years we started a new tradition where everyone in the family was responsible for one persons stocking, this year I had my mum. So the next morning I got everyone out of bed at around 9am – no more 6am wakeup calls like when I was younger, although I ma still always the first one up who gathers everyone together so that we can open our stockings together. Once opened we made breakfast and enjoyed a lazy morning. In the afternoon we went to pick up Jessica who was joining us for Christmas dinner and some games. It was a lovely afternoon which we ended with snuggling up to watch the Call The Midwives Christmas special before my sister drove Jessica and myself home.

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On Boxing Day it was our turn to host and we invited my family over and my good friend Anna from work for a yummy spread, cocktails and games evening. We got stuck into Cluedo and Settlers which were both great fun!

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So all in all it’s been a lovely couple of days relaxing and enjoying each others company with good food, drinks and lot’s of laughter. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too!

Love Carina xo

CHRISTMAS TAG!

Good evening beautiful souls,

The other day I read a great Christmas tag post written by the beautiful Hollie from https://holliesblog854.wordpress.com. It oozed festive vibes and I immediately wanted to write this tag too and answer all these Christmasy questions for you; so without further ado, here is my Christmas Tag:

1. What’s your favourite Christmas Film?

Hmm, The Holiday is pretty high up there and Love Actually of course. Those are probably my favourite two.

2. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Yes many!!! But not in a long time and I miss it soo much! For me Christmas just doesn’t feel complete without snow.

3. Where do you usually spend the holidays?

At home in Durham with my parents and sister.

4. What is your favourite Christmas song?

This one is so difficult, I don’t have a favourite Christmas song! I love all festive music; from having classics like ‘All I want for Christmas’, and ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ on repeat to belting out carols like ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ and ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, I just love nothing more than a good Christmas singsong! There isn’t really any festive music that I do not like apart from perhaps ‘Fairytale of New York’, that song just annoys me for some reason.

5. Do you open any Christmas presents on Christmas eve?

Yes, I open all my presents on Christmas Eve bar my stocking and one present from Santa. I was born in Germany and the German tradition is to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, however as my mother is from Northern Ireland, we also have Santa and stockings on Christmas day, so we kinda get the best from both worlds.

6. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeers?

Dasher, Dancer, Comet and Blitzen, Prancer, Vixen, Rudolf… and I’m stuck aha, so nope, I can not name all of Santa’s reindeers.

7. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Real. Our family tree is always real!!! I love our Christmas tree tradition. We decorate ours with mostly natural objects like red apples, straw stars, wooden ornaments and candle like fairy lights.

Saying that, in my own house the tree is fake this year. My housemate Jessica and I got given the tree from our landlady and although I don’t think there’s anything better than having a real tree and fresh pine smell in the house at Christmas, I’m just glad to have a a tree at all, even if it’s fake, it’s way better than nothing.

8. What is your all-time favourite holiday food/sweet treat?

Hmm, I don’t have a specific favourite, but I love all the German treats like Lebkuchen and Stollen. Ooh and mince pies and mulled wine of course!

9. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?

Ooh over the years definitely gift giving. I love nothing more that treating people and finding cute gifts for friends and family! Gift giving brings me a lot of joy!

10. What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

I’m not sure, about ever but I got a huge wok last year and that was pretty awesome! I use it for almost everything I cook!

11. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

Somewhere in Germany or Austria, somewhere with amazing Christmas markets and lot’s of snow and staying in a cute chalet with a real fire to cosy up next too whilst working my way through mountains of books and drinking copious amounts of tea.

12. Are you a pro-present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?

I can’t say that I am a pro, but I definitely don’t fail either!

13. When did you realise the truth about Santa?

The truth about Santa? What truth about Santa?!

14. Do you make New Years resolutions? Do you stick to them?

Of course I do, I mean don’t most people?! Aha now that is a different matter. Erm I try to stick to them and I usually do for a couple of months before things just go down hill and I fail miserably. But there is always another year and another chance to try!

15. What makes the holidays special for you?

Spending time with my family, especially now that I don’t live at home anymore and my sister is away at university. There aren’t that many chances for us all to get together, but our Christmas’ are always intimate affairs with just the four of us celebrating together, which I love. My fathers side of the family all live in Germany and my mothers side in Northern Ireland, so we don’t have big family Christmas’. I like it that way though and wouldn’t change it for the world. There is no big hassle worrying about seeing all the family over the holidays and having to cook for hoards of people or being in a chaotic noisy environment, it is just nice quiet, cosy and peaceful family time.

16. List your three favourite festive wintery activities:

  1. Being crafty and decorating the house for Christmas, making wreaths, putting the tree up…
  2. Baking Christmas treats
  3. Ice skating

And that’s my Christmas Tag done. I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you’d like to have a go at this tag then please do leave a comment below with a link to your post – I would love to read all of your answers!

Love Carina xo

MINI GETAWAY – DESTINATION EDINBURGH

Good evening beautiful souls,

I have been savouring my last two days off relaxing in gorgeous Edinburgh with my sister. For once I was lucky enough to find a really cheap first class ticket from Durham to Edinburgh and I enjoyed the finer things. Well, I tried to; I kinda messed up the first class thing never having been before and missed out on half of the breakfast I could have had. Oh well, I’ll know for next time. I still enjoyed my croissant and chamomile tea whilst gazing out at the ever-changing scenery and listening to the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

It was a peaceful journey up, and I arrived with plenty of time to have another cuppa in a cute cafe near Haymarket before going to find the German consulate to get myself a German passport. Once that was all sorted I got on the bus google maps told me would take me to my sisters, however here was me failing at my finest because I didn’t think to check in which direction I would have to get the bus and so of course I soon realised I was half way out of town going in the wrong direction. The bus driver made my day though when I told him what I’d done and he gave me a free day ticket before letting me off to catch a new bus in.the correct direction. So a good hour later I finally found my sister.

We spent the whole afternoon relaxing at hers, but it felt nice to just chill drink tea, eat good food and really catch up. We don’t get many chances to spend quality one on one time together so it’s always nice when we do.

Today after athe relaxed start to the day we wandered around Edinburgh almost freezing ourselves to death it was so icy. But it was lovely all the same as the sun was out. Once we got to the Christmas market we treated ourselves to some delicious mulled wine to warm us up. It was yummy, and I decided to keep the cute mugs too. I love walking through the Christmas markets, they always make you feel so festive. It’s good I didn’t have much cash on me either because there were so many cute stalls with beautiful goods, I’m always especially attracted to the handmade wooden things, from tree ornaments to bowls.

When we’d seen most of the market and with still over an hour to spare till my train home, we popped into costa so I could finish this blog post. I bought a large Americano and was thoroughly disappointed, it came in what looked like a soup bowl with two handles and did not taste grear either. I swear I am spoilt with coffee now aha, since getting used to good coffee, its difficult to not compare coffee to my dads nowadays. Anyway after a short but sweet stay, I am now on my way back to Durham, but sadly not in first class.

Here are just some photos from my brief time with my sister in Edinburgh, enjoy!

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Hope you’ve all had a good week!

Love Carina xo