December 01, 2014

Hot Chocolate Monday: Milk Chocolate and Cinnamon

I wouldn't call myself a morning person, but over the years I have gotten used to early mornings. In secondary school my days would usually start at 6am. Early, I know, especially around the dark and cold winter months. However, not as early as my dad who used to beat me to the bathroom by 15 minutes. Usually no problem, as like most man he is quick in the bathroom and by the time I got up he would already be out again. Every now and then though, he wouldn't wake up in time and so instead of rushing to get my tooth brushed, I was forced to sit on the stairs that lead from my loft room to the first floor - waiting for my turn. Of course I could have slept a few minutes longer, but then I might have overslept and missed my slot (my sister was next in the line) and besides I would have missed out on one of my my mum's greatest inventions ever. The Hot Chocolate Mornings.

On these cold, gloomy winter mornings, when the floorboard would feel ice cold under my naked toes and all I wanted was to wrap myself up again in a cosy blanket while waiting for the bathroom, my mum would get up too and make me (and my sister) a cup of hot cocoa to start our days. Amazing lady, or what!

In honour of this wonderful tradition I thought it would be fun to share my favourite hot chocolate recipes with you, and just like my mums hot chocolate brighten up your dark Monday mornings.

This one is made with melted milk chocolate and cinnamon. Serves 2.

2 (big) cups of milk
150g milk chocolate
ground cinnamon
whipped cream

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan with boiling water. Once melted stir in the milk. Season with a tablespoon of ground cinnamon. Fill in mugs and top with whipped cream and some more sprinkles of the cinnamon. Enjoy!

Happy 1. December!

November 30, 2014

Adventskranz 2014

‘Tis is the season for mix&matching our German and English traditions over here amongst the green hills – and I introduced a lot. There is the annual handmade advent calendar, St. Nikolaus Day (coming on the 6th) with all the whole boot-cleaning-shebang, our Christmas-movie-must-see-list and – our Adventskranz.

If you have no clue what I am talking about: An Adventskranz is a simple wreath decorated with four candles that are lit on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Eve. Every time another candle is lit, Christmas is just a little bit closer. It’s a wonderful tradition and a great opportunity to through something handcrafted into the decoration mix, because they are so easy to make. All you need is a wreath base, four candles and candle holders and some fun decorations to spice things up.

This year I was lucky enough to find some cut branches of a Christmas tree on our walk through Eyam Moor. I simply weaved the branches into the wooden wreath (similar) I have as a base, and then placed my four candles (mine are vanilla sentenced ones from Wilkos) even across the wreath. I had some gold-spray painted cones left over from last year’s decoration and tied them to the wreath with twine. As a last step I placed a golden bow on one side of the wreath and fixed it with twine again.

Happy 1. Advent!

*Just to let you know, this post contains affiliate links were applicable. Happy wreath making!

November 26, 2014

Parcel Adventcalendar

The Englishman doesn’t know, but this year I almost gave up on his handmade advent calendar (one of these German traditions I foolishly introduced into the household). I had this crazy idea of creating 24 little parcels – like actual parcels with little Airmail sings and everything. However, well into my third Christmas movie (Love, Actually!) and still folding, stamping and labelling like a maniac I lost my mojo. It took me a full hour hot-chocolate-and-cookie-brake to get back on track, but eventually they were all wrapped and ready.

Now, I am not fooling you into believing this is the easiest advent calendar to be made. However it is certainly very cute (in my humble opinion) and worth the whole folding-stamping-gluing-wrapping-shebang AND there are still a few days left until the 1st of December. So plenty of time!
Apart from it being time consuming it is not even difficult.

For the boxes I cut out 48 squares, 24 of them slightly smaller than the others so that the lid would fit effortlessly onto the bottom, and folded them with the Origami technique.

For the decoration I had a cute little stamp saying “Air Mail with Love” that I stamped with white ink on dark blue card stock and cut out with an x-acto knife and glued them onto the left hand corner. For the stamp and the little waves that you get from posted mail, I had some more stamps in my repertoire which I inked with black. Instead of the address I just put the number of the parcel down (you know, 1 to 24 – and yes we Germans count only until Christmas Eve). For the finishing touch I wrapped some twine around the parcel. Done!

Now for the filling the Englishman requested some chocolate treats, but really this calendar could hold so much more...

28 days till Christmas, friends. Happy times are coming!
xo, Nadine

November 24, 2014

Map Adventures: Eyam Moor, Abney and Stone Ford

This adventure had it all: Fog, rain and blinding sun; mossy woodlands, fields of red fern, bubbling streams and wet moorland. We jumped over rivers, climbed hills and mountains, fell down on the slippery grass and dangled our feet over the edge of the world. In the words of the Englishman #itsmuddygoodbusiness.

Oh, and we encountered a sheep that seemed to think it was a bunny.

November 21, 2014

My first... knit

The Englishman doesn’t know but I have big crafty plans for our life: One day I will sew our quilts and cushions, decorate our house with handmade awesomeness and our children will wear the BEST carnivals costumes ever and most important of all will run around in home-crocheted hats and scarves and will look terrible cute in their hand-knitted Christmas jumpers.

There is just one tiny problem: I actually don’t know how to do any of these things. Although I bought some wool once and inherited my grandma’s knitting needles and have a mum who resembles very much the craft goddess I aspire to become: I never really learned how to knit. That’s not to say I never knitted. I did. A couple of years ago I knitted (with the help of my awesome crafty mum) a hat for my Englishman. However the skill lasted only one Christmas season.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, but that huge gap between my abilities then and the demands of the project. Really my mum did most of the knitting. You see, secretly I already dreamed of knitting patterned hats and scarves and sweaters, because I didn’t just want to knit something that I knew I wouldn’t like or need. I wanted to knit things that were useful and cute looking.

I probably would have stayed in that limbo forever, but then last May (yes I thought about knitting even in the summer!) I found this picture online and immediately knew: that’s it! My first knit. It seemed easy enough, cute and totally useful. So after some hours on you tube researching again how to do a slipknot, cast on, do the knit stitch AND the purl stitch and how to cast off again, may I present you: my very first headscarf! (Full tutorial here)

I am absolutely totally thrilled with it. It took me only a week to finish the project and I love wearing it. I love it so much that I started to make some for other people. I am now well into my fifth one and even started some other projects (aka big snugly chunky wool cushion covers).

If you want to learn how to knit, here is my advice: Start with a headscarf. They are cute, easy enough to make and teach you all you need.

Happy knitting folks, I am off to finish another headscarf.