Tuesday, 22 December 2015

It's Games Night! Which game shall we play...

I absolutely love staying in, having a drink and playing games with friends. We have a little selection of games that I'm hoping will grow this Christmas. As it's the festive season and we will all be seeing more of our family and friends I thought I'd bring you some ideas of games you can play with different numbers of people.

Games to play with friends and family - board games activity

Games to play with friends and family - board games activity

First up is large groups, and by this I mean ten people and up. I've picked Cards Against Humanity, Taboo and a game which doesn't really have a name, so let's call it 'Describe'.

If you've already played Cards Against Humanity then you'll know it's a pretty awful game, so I wouldn't play it with family, by awful I mean its quite rude, also totally inappropriate and borderline offensive. It is, however, a really fun game that will have you creasing yourself for hours. The basic idea of the game is that you all get five white cards and then there is one black, one person reads the question or statement with a missing word out to the group and each person then picks there best, the most hideous answer from the white cards they have. The black card reader then has to read everyone's answers anonymously and their favourite. You certainly get to know people's sense of humour when you play this!

Taboo is a great game. I get so competitive with this but as I get drunker I become terrible at it. You basically have to describe the word without saying the other words listed on the card. I have a special version which has four ways to play including using 'Bendy Bob'.

Last is 'Describe'. This is a game I was taught round a friends house. Basically, everyone writes about five words on different scraps of paper, folds them up and puts them in a bowl which is mixed up. Now you have a bowl full of words ready to use. The first round is a describing round where you can say whatever you want in order for your team to get the word on the paper. When you're done you total your score and then put all the paper back in the bowl ready for round 2. This round is the acting round. Just like charades, you act out the word on the paper. If you are good at remembering you'll be able to pick up words you've heard in the first round. If you are on the drink, then maybe not... The last round is one word! This is where you can only say one word to your team in order for them to guess the word you are describing. Again you can use your memory to help yourself! The team that wins is the one with the most points. We usually play boys V girls! I must say the girls are always better at this as they pay attention in the first round!

Games to play with friends and family - board games activity

Up next are games for small groups. Here I'm thinking if you have another couple round or maybe two couples, these games would be good. I've selected Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and Heads Up!

Everyone knows Cluedo! It's a murder mystery game where you take it in turns to find the killer, the location they did the deed and what weapon they used. I've actually got the Simpsons one but it's the same thing. You can't play this with only two of you and three is a bit boring so I think this is great for a couples night or an evening in with the family.

Another classic game is Trivial Pursuit. A game of answering general knowledge questions in order to fill up your 'pie' with colourful bits of 'cake'. I'm obsessed with quizzes so this game is perfect for me. I think this game is good for all the family, especially the version I have as it has adults and kids questions.

Last up is a game that will have everyone laughing. Heads Up! is an iPhone game (not sure if you can also get it on Android) which is like the game we all played as a child where you stuck a post-it note to your head with the name of someone and you had to guess who it was. This is more sophisticated and involves picking a category, of which there are quite a few free ones, then you have to guess as many as you can with others describing who you are. You normally put the iPhone to your head and then tilt it up or down depending if you get it right or want to pass. It's fast-paced and fun. There is also a charades round where your friends and family have to act out what you are. When you are tipsy in a ferry bar acting out words, this game is hilarious.

Games to play with friends and family - board games activity

Last but not least, games for two people. Whether you have your friend popping over or you want a cosy night in with your partner, these games are for you. We have Connect 4, Scrabble and card games.

Connect 4, what a classic ey. Such a competitive game where you try to psyche your partner our and get in their head in order to win. We only have the travel size one but it's still a lot of fun.

Scrabble. Everyone's played it. It takes a while to get through I think, only because I can't think of any good words. All I can come up with is three-letter words. I suppose it's better than nothing. This is a great game to play cosied up around the table, or on the floor with a blanket, and a glass of wine. Although don't drink too much or you'll forget how the letters go together...

Last is cards. Now yes I hear you saying that cards are better with more people than just two and this may be true. However, there are a few games that only require two people of which I've played a few including; Crazy Eights and Go Fish. It's just nice to be able to sit on the sofa together and do something other than watch TV. Cards have you on edge trying to win before the other does.

I hope this post has given you some ideas for games to play with your friends and family.

If you have any good game suggestions please let me know in the comments or tweet me.
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Monday, 21 December 2015

Blogger date at Canteen and Cocktails, Norton

One of the things that I love about blogging is that you get the chance to meet lovely people who share your interests and likes and eventually become your friends. One such person is Kloe from Skulls and Kisses. We've known each other for at least a year now and I love organising a time to meet and have a catch-up. Most of the time we like to do this over food. Our last 'blogger date' was no different.

We'd both heard of a local burger joint that had opened up called Canteen and Cocktails and like the bloggers we are, we knew we had to try it out. You know, for blog purposes...

Canteen and Cocktails - Norton Restaurant Review Teesside Burger

Canteen and Cocktails - Norton Restaurant Review Teesside Menu

Canteen and Cocktails - Norton Restaurant Review Teesside Interior

When we eventually tracked down the restaurant on Norton High Street, we went in and were quickly seated. The decor of this place is very much my style. Lots of wood and rustic metal furniture, exposed beams and eccentric industrial lighting. We were quickly given a menu and asked if we'd like a drink. Let me tell you, their cocktail menu is extensive! I wish I wasn't driving or I would have definitely had one. Although I'd probably have been there all day choosing which one to have. On the bar, they even had their own infused vodka brewing in big glass jars with flavours like melon and chilli. I chose a coke... whilst Kloe got a frozen strawberry daiquiri...my favourite.

We quickly decided on food, I chose my usual, a cheeseburger with chips, whilst Kloe decided to get two sides, mac and cheese and a portion of chips. When my burger arrived, as you can see on the pictures, it had a Canteen and Cocktails brand burned into the bun which I thought was a great touch. The burger itself was amazing. I was really dubious that it wouldn't be nice but once I'd taken out the red onion (ew) I got right into it and it was delicious. I wasn't a fan of the chilli slaw but I did really enjoy the chips. They weren't very crispy but they were lovely and squidgy.

Kloe had a different experience with her food as she was bemused as to what was in her mac and cheese. On the menu, it hadn't stated that it was anything special but when it arrived it looked like it had all-sorts in including meat and vegetables. She powered through it and said she enjoyed it although it was confusing.

Canteen and Cocktails - Norton Restaurant Review Teesside Burger

Canteen and Cocktails - Norton Restaurant Review Teesside Mac and Cheese

Canteen and Cocktails - Norton Restaurant Review Teesside Chocolate Brownie

As Kloe had decided she would be having a dessert I knew that I had to join her. They don't have an extensive dessert menu but it was big enough for me to find something that I liked. I chose the chocolate brownie with ice cream whilst Kloe picked the caramel sundae. My brownie was so nice but so rich. It was squishy in the middle with a crisp top, perfect with the vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and Dairy Milk buttons (I'm sure they were Dairy Milk!). I could only manage half as it was so rich but it was soo good!

Going into Canteen and Cocktails I was very worried that we wouldn't like it as other people had told us they'd had bad experiences. From trying this myself I would definitely go back. I can't believe that a place that sells such good burgers has opened so close to me. I would recommend it to anyone in the area.
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Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas time at Beamish

Last Friday night myself, Matthew and our friends piled in the car and set off to Beamish, which for us takes about 45 minutes. We were going to experience Christmas at Beamish which we were all very curious about.

We weren't sure what to expect. We wondered which parts would be open and what would be happening. When we arrived we were all very cold and windy. We went into the cafe in the entrance building and luckily they were giving everyone mulled wine which was lovely and warmed us up.

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

Beamish Museum Christmas Evening Night

We walked down to the tram stop and luckily one had just arrived so we jumped on and headed down to the Pit Village. There we had a look in the school and had a general wander about, stopping for a hot chocolate and a biscuit. When we'd had enough of the Village, we set off walking to the Town.

Everywhere was super Christmassy with colourful lights, festive wreaths and lots of paper decorations. On our walk to the town we passed the carousel and around it was a some Christmas stalls, a small ice rink and other rides. It wasn't massive, but it was cute.

When we got to the town all the shops and houses were kitted out in Christmas gear. There were people playing music on the bandstand and inside the houses which was lovely. We decided to go for a sit down in the pub so we could warm up. It was a cosy atmosphere in there with everyone popping in to shelter from the cold.

We looked around the other shops, stopping at the bakery to pick up a snack. When we'd had our fill there it was time to head back the entrance as the museum closes at 10pm. Although it was bitterly cold, it was a great evening out. If you like Beamish and enjoy being out and about at Christmas time, I'd definitely recommend a visit in the festive period.
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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Midweek meal ideas.

A few months ago I came across a post about ideas for midweek meals and it inspired me. I always seem to cook the same food week after week perfecting the recipe and only adding new dishes once every month. I thought it would be a good idea to share the meals that I always turn to in the hopes it will inspire your meal planning.

Chilli con Carne
Chilli is such an easy meal to make. It's so warming and filling, perfect for the Winter! Rather than use a jar of sauce I always make my own which is just as quick but its better for you as you know what's going in. The recipe is here.


Chicken fajitas
This is my go-to dish. Seriously I'm so lazy. We have fajitas like once a week. I just can never think of anything else as easy, quick and nutritious to put on my weekly meal plan. Same as the Chilli, I make this from scratch with no help from packets or mixes. You can obviously add what you like to your fajitas but I like chicken, mushroom, and peppers cooked in my spice mix (which is here). Then I add fresh avocado (or pre-made guacamole if I'm being lazy), some fresh tomatoes and Greek yoghurt.


Bacon and kale pasta 
I love pasta. It is so quick to make and you can add whatever you like. This recipe is not the healthiest but its yummy and it does have kale in so... winning. All you do is cook some pasta (I use wholemeal), oven cook your bacon whilst the pasta is on and then cut this into chunks. When your pasta is done, don't tip out the water just yet. Add the kale in (if it won't fit just squash it down, it will wilt) and when this is cooked drain the water. Add the bacon to the pan, put in a pot of ricotta cheese and stir through. There you go, a yummy warming winter pasta dish!


Lemon chicken pasta
Another pasta dish, can you blame me? This one is filled with chicken, lemon, cheese and spinach. I use this recipe which I found on Pinterest. It's really easy to follow and again quite a quick dish!


Chorizo, cabbage and bean broth
I'm always banging on about this broth but it is one of my favourites. Whenever I put it on the weekly meal plan, I can't wait to make. It so yummy and very morish. Seriously you need to make this. I've posted the recipe here.


Chicken wraps 
The humble chicken wrap. Similar to the fajitas but fresh and full of salad. I usually grill some chicken on my George Foreman grill and pull it apart, as you can see below. Then I cut up lots of lovely bits of salad including tomato, lettuce, cucumber and avocado then dollop some mayonnaise on the wrap and create a delicious meal. I love making wraps, they make me feel like I'm getting some real goodness.


Courgette boats
This dish takes a little more effort and time than the others but it is very yummy. Basically, all you do is cut a courgette in half, spoon our the middle and fill with cooked rice, tomatoes, cooked mushrooms (you can whizz these in the microwave first to cook them) and chorizo. Sprinkle with cheese and then put in a baking tray filled with chicken stock. Put them in the oven for 40 minutes and when they come out they will be soft and crispy on top. YUM! I've listed some other recipes featuring courgettes here if you fancy a nosy.


I would absolutely love for you to share with me some easy meals that I can make midweek as I'm always up for adding to collection of recipes. Comment below with any links to recipes or ideas for midweek meals.

Hope I've given you some ideas of meals you can make.
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Monday, 14 December 2015

Homemade Lavender Sugar Body Scrub

This Christmas I've really been enjoying making homemade gifts for people. I've already posted about the personalised mugs and hot chocolate blocks I made and to add to these I've got a homemade sugar body scrub recipe. Inspired by Stephanie's blog about body scrubs, I've made this lovely lavender body scrub to give to my friends and family.

Homemade Lavender Sugar Body Scrub

Homemade Lavender Sugar Body Scrub

Homemade Lavender Sugar Body Scrub


Homemade Lavender Sugar Body Scrub

Homemade Lavender Sugar Body Scrub

To make this scrub is super easy and requires little ingredients:

- 20 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1/3 cup of almond oil
- 1 cup of sugar

Other items:
- Glass jars with seals
- Wooden spoon
- Mixing bowl (Make sure you use a fresh bowl and spoon that you won't be using again for food.)

First, put your cup of sugar into your mixing bowl. Add the 20 drops of essential oil and mix thoroughly. When you are satisfied this is mixed well, add the almond oil a bit at a time giving it a really good mix. When your scrub reaches the consistency of moist sand it is done. 

I then scooped this into my jars, sealed them off and decorated with a strand of Christmas string and a label letting my friends/family know what ingredients are in the scrub, how long it should last, that they should mix it before use and also do a patch test first to ensure no irritation.

Homemade Lavender Sugar Body Scrub

Homemade Lavender Sugar Body Scrub

If you are keen to make a homemade scrub but don't fancy the lavender sugar one, I recommend you check out Stephanie's site as she has different varieties using different ingredients and has lots of information on essential oils. Make sure to read up on the essential oils before trying out your own!

What do you think? Would you make this?
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Friday, 11 December 2015

New to my candle collection.

For anyone who doesn't already know this, I'm obsessed with candles. I honestly have a cupboard full of different scented candles and whenever I'm out shopping I always seem to add another candle to my basket to join the others. Candles make the room feel so cosy, homely and warm. I've got a number of different scents including sweet and fruity but also I have a lot of plain ones like a small pillar and tea lights for burning amongst the smelly ones.

So recently when I've been out and about Christmas shopping, these few candles have found their way to my house. I thought I'd do a rundown of the new scents I've picked up in case you are as obsessed as me. I can't wait to start burning them all.

Candle Review - Crabtree & Evelyn - LilyFlame - Avon - Our own candle company - shelley louise

Crabtree & Evelyn - Sugar and Spice Large Poured Candle Review

Crabtree & Evelyn Sugar and Spice Large Poured Candle - £29.00 (I can't find this scent online, so linked to similar Noel one.)

At £29.00 this is quite an expensive candle, especially compared to the other candles in this post but the smell was so alluring that I had to get it. I will add I bought this on black Friday so there was 25% off! Bargain. Myself and Mum first smelt this at the Crabtree & Evelyn at Dalton Park. I was drawn to the shop due to the cute gingerbread graphics they have on their Christmas packaging. It was actually Mum who said she might buy this first, but we decided to leave it at Dalton Park due to the cost. When we were out at Leeds on black Friday and it was discounted we thought it the perfect opportunity and both picked one up! Unlike normal spicy Christmas candles, this is lovely and sweet. Due to the clementine, it has a lovely undertone of orange with a hint of spice from the clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. Crabtree & Evelyn approximate that this will burn for 50 hours, so that's a good bit of time for the price! I haven't burnt this one yet, I think it might be one for Christmas day.

Lily-Flame Parma Violets Candle Review

Lily-Flame Parma Violets - £8.95

I LOVE anything that smells like parma violets. For my birthday I received the Diptique Violet candle and I love it. This is really just a cheaper, sweeter version of it. Like all Lily-Flame candles, it has the chunky pieces of wax on the top making it very aesthetically pleasing and the smell is just amazing. I seriously can't wait to burn this and I feel like I need to stock up on it already.

Noel Warming Spice Tin Candle Avon Review

Noel Tin Candle - £6.00

I bought this one from the Avon catalogue after scratching and sniffing the scent on the page. It was half price at the time which was great so I snapped it up. It comes in a cute little tin with red labelling making it feel very festive. Its a very warming Christmassy scent with definite hints of spice but it isn't too overpowering as I think it has a slight hint of orange. It's a great Christmas candle for people who can't handle too much spice.

Our Own Candle Company - Mmm Melons, Smell My Nuts, Mulberry Review

Our Own Candle Company: Smell My Nuts, Mmm...Nice Melons, Mulberry - Large: £9.99 & Small: £3.99.

When we visited Wynyard Hall's Christmas Fair this year there were two stalls selling these beautiful candles. I'm pretty sure I got one of these last year at the fair but I can't remember what scent. They come in these cute jars with screw top lids which are perfect for storing. The scents are as follows: Smell My Nuts - This one is gorgeously sweet with a hint of nut. As it's a three scent candle with Banana Nut Bread, Toasted Coconut and Hazelnut, I'm sure it will change as the candle burns down. Mmm..Nice Melons - This is another three scent candle with Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melon. This one is very fruity and sweet-smelling just how you know a melon to smell. These large candles last for up to 100 hours so I'm sure the scent will change as I burn through the whole jar! Lastly, I got a small Mulberry as this was the only size they had left in this scent. This one is a more of Christmassy scent, distinctly smelling like berries but less fruity than normal. It is understated but gorgeous.

Shelley Louise Pink Grapefruit and Mango Candle Review


I bought this one from a Spring fair earlier this year and it quickly became one of my favourites. When I found out the stall was going to be at a Christmas fair we were attending this year I knew I had to stock up so I bought two. I can't remember how much they were, and the lady that runs the shop doesn't do online sales so I can't find the price. These candles are mostly sold at markets so there isn't somewhere I can go and pick one of these up which makes me sad. They are super great quality, packaged in a lovely glass jar. The smell of this one, pink grapefruit and mango, is very fresh but also quite fruity.

Candle Review - Crabtree & Evelyn - LilyFlame - Avon - Our own candle company - shelley louise

So do you like the sound of any of my new candles? Which one do you think would be your favourite?

Do you have any candle posts up? I've love to read! Link below...
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