Weekend Bits

We had a lovely cosy weekend at Will's parents house. This is certainly the perfect time of year to be snuggled in front of a fire in a thatched cottage all full on delicious home cooking. On Saturday we visited Salisbury's Christmas markets and on Sunday we bought our tree from a local village Christmas tree & craft fair. (I didn't take my camera with me so photos were snapped on my iPhone)

The stall selling these beautiful mushrooms and truffles was my favourite on the market

I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but these Waterstone's classics are so beautiful it makes me want to read them all. I hope Santa reads my blog!

Will's Mum has a very impressive and lovely collection of Emma Bridgewater china


Last Week

What a difference a couple of weeks and a couple of blustery days make! I don't know about you but this wintery weather has made me feel like hibernating this last week, the urge to hide under the duvet when my alarm goes off has been very strong. But here's some things that have cheered me, kept me going (and kept me from going back to bed!) Monday to Friday last week....

~Winter Salads~
I am a BIG fan of warm winter salads and earlier this week I made a favourite of ours - Pear & Walnut Salad with Gorgonzola. I sautéed the chopped pears in a little butter & honey; warmed some chunks of beetroot and steamed some green beans; tossed the warm ingredients with rocket & baby gem leaves along with cubes of gorgonzola; drizzled over a dressing made with olive oil, beetroot juice, lemon juice, honey & mustard and topped the salad with plenty of toasted walnuts.

~New Finds~
In my quest to buy lovely presents from brilliant independent retailers I have been discovering some awesome shops, both in person and online, that are just full of beautiful items. Don't worry, I will soon do a post with links and share the love.

~Christmas Countdown~
This year my lovely Muma made Will and I very special Advent Calendar. It is a pretty wicker basket filled with little wrapped and numbered presents. Half the presents are for Will and half for me so each day alternates whose turn it is to open theirs. We're always rushed in the morning so we have taken to opening them just before bed, it's such a lovely way to get into the Christmas spirit.

~The BEST Ice Cream~
We had our work Christmas do on Thursday, we went for dinner at The Primrose Café in Clifton Village. The whole evening was lovely - the restaurant is an adorable bistro and the food there is truly incredible but you guys my Christmas pudding came with CINNAMON ICE CREAM. I don't think *anything* I eat over the festive period is going to beat that!

What things keep you cheery during the bleak midwinter?

~ ps ~ New followers always cheer me up. You can follow Nothing New on Bloglovin here


Gift Guide: A Pie Kit For The Foodie In Your Life

As a foodie myself I love receiving cookbooks. Cookbooks make good presents but accompany a cookbook with gifts of utensils to make the recipes within said book and you've got a fantastic present!

 ~photo source here~

Pieminister are an awesome Bristol based company whose delicious pies you can find across the UK at their restaurants, festival stalls and even in supermarket aisles. Their cookbook 'A Pie For All Seasons' is gorgeous and as the name suggest the recipes see you passed the winter months with pies you can make all year round. Gift this alongside some pie making essentials to give someone all the tools they need to get baking - just be sure to invite yourself round for dinner in January.

Here are some lovely items for inspiration....
~ one ~

~ two ~

~ four ~

~ three ~

~ five ~

                                                         ~ one ~  Pie Set by Falcon
                                                         ~ two ~  Rolling Pin by Raymond Blanc
                                                         ~ three ~ Handcrafted Pastry Brush
                                                         ~ four ~  A Pie For All Seasons - Pieminister Cookbook
                                                         ~ five ~   Le Creuset Pie Funnel

Credit for this fab idea goes to Will as a member of his family will be receiving a similar collection of gifts on Christmas Day ~ I have a feeling they're going to love it.
Strangely we have given the Pieminister book to a few people as a present now but still don't own a copy ourselves! (....puts book on Christmas wishlist)

~ ps ~ you can follow Nothing New on Bloglovin here 


My December Traditions

There are some things I feel just have to be done during the run up to Christmas to get me into the holiday spirit. There are all the obvious things like decorating the house, mulling vats of wine, eating mountains of mince pies but I'd like to share some of my own personal traditions and things I am planning to do this month....

Shopping for Presents - Every year I say it would be nice to get all my shopping done before December even starts so I can enjoy the festive period without the hassle of traipsing around busy shops....I don't think this will EVER happen! I think this year I'm off to a good start (meaning I have bought at least 3 presents). I have set myself a personal challenge of buying as much as possible from independent shops and finding gifts which are made by local artists & crafters, so I am really going to enjoy wandering around all the wonderful markets and pop-up shops Bristol has to offer.

Music - Now don't get me wrong I'm all for the cheesy guilty pleasures but there is so much more to Christmas music for me than the rubbish they play on repeat in shopping malls. Unsurprisingly I'm a big fan of vintage singers Christmas albums; Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra (can't beat a bit of big band at Christmas!) If you have Spotify search for 'Vintage Christmas' there are some great playlists on there or better yet create your own. More recently there have been some great alternative Xmas albums  - Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler's 'This is Christmas', Aimme Mann's 'One More Drifter in the Snow' and 'A Very She & Him Christmas' by Zooey Deschanel's band She & Him have become firm festive favourites of mine.

A Very She & Him Christmas

Films - Speaking of everyone's favourite quirky girl Zooey, if you don't watch Elf at some point this month then your doing Christmas wrong! Other favourites of mine include Bad Santa, The Grinch,  also the Harry Potter films & books make me feel Christmassy, oh and I always end up watching Love Actually - like I said guilty pleasure are fine at Christmas. My hidden gem is Olive The Other Reindeer which is a great animation about a Jack Russell dog who thinks she should be a reindeer, it doesn't seem to be very well known but it is on TV each year so check it out. This year I'd really like to see some Xmas film that I've not watched before - I've never seen classics like 'White Christmas' and 'It's A Wonderful Life' and Arthur Christmas which was out a couple of years ago looked really good.

Olive the Other Reindeer 

Crafts - I always long for more time in December to do all the crafty things I'd like to. Whether it's making food goodies for hampers, sending handmade card or hanging handmade decorations, I really have to do something crafty at Christmas time to feel I'm worthy of being on the good list! This year I especially plan on making gifts tags for my presents and having a go at making a reef for our door. Food wise I want to make some scrummy caramalised nuts like the ones I love at the German markets. Also I keep seeing lovey recipes on blogs for homemade marshmallows but we see what time permits.

Do you have any of your own special traditions or are there any Christmas crafts your itching to try this year? I'd love to hear about your special plans for this month.