Why I’ve Fallen in Love with Winter | #ThisGirlEats

I used to really hate the winter. When getting out of bed feels like stepping into the Arctic, the dark evenings that draw in early and leave you with so little sunlight you might as well be a vampire, and the rain – well, to be honest that one still sucks.

While winter might not be as uplifting as it’s summery counterpart, there’s something about these colder months that, as an adult, I’ve grown to appreciate much more than I ever thought. I never thought I’d say this but I’ll just come right out with it: I’ve fallen in love with winter.

Perhaps it’s the clothes; fluffy jumpers, comfy jeans, snuggly coats, thick tights, furry boots, I’m living for it. I’m not really a booty-shorts-and-crop-top kinda gal, so the clothes we wrap ourselves up in to brave the elements is more up my street.

Or maybe it’s the idea of cosy nights in. Sounds boring, I know, but since I’ve moved out the thought of a quiet night in with a bottle of wine, takeaway pizza and a great movie is so appealing. Doing that in the summer feels like a waste of a beautiful day but in the winter, when you can hear wind howling outside and you’ve got the heating cranked up, it is perfection.

But I think the main reason I feel an affection for winter is everything associated with it. I love Halloween parties and I still get excited for Christmas every year, no matter how old I am (especially now I’m not working stupid retail hours!). I love festive food, seeing lights twinkle above high streets, coming up with gift ideas and the buzz everyone has in the run-up to Christmas Day. And even after that’s all over, New Year’s Eve, my favourite night of the year, is right around the corner and I’m a January baby, so there’s always something to look forward to.

So forget moaning about broken umbrellas and lost gloves and cold feet – I’m loving winter this year!


RECIPE: Christmas Tree Cookies | #ThisGirlEats

I might love to cook, but I’m generally pretty rubbish when it comes to baking – and yes, they are very different things!

With cooking, you can just play around with flavours and be a little free, throwing in an extra pinch of this or another handful of that if you fancy. But when you bake, things like measurements and timings have to be dead on, otherwise things just fall apart. Well, they do in my experience anyway!

Every now and again, though, I feel spontaneously inspired to get my bake on, especially this time of year. It just feels festive, doesn’t it?

I knocked up these crunchy Christmas tree sugar cookies and, as you can see, they didn’t exactly turn out beautifully – but they tasted pretty great! Anyway, homemade food isn’t meant to look perfect…


What helped me out with this recipe is the use of this fantastic book, ‘1 Dough, 50 Cookies’ by Linda Doeser. The basic cookie recipe from this book is something I’ve used every time I’ve made any kind of cookie or biscuit. So really, the credit goes to this book! Check it out if you’re looking from some baking inspiration.

INGREDIENTS (makes 10 cookies)

75g Unsalted Butter, Softened
50g Caster Sugar
1 Egg Yolk, Lightly Beaten
1tsp Vanilla Extract
95g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
Multicoloured Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, this is how I did it…

1. Mix together butter and sugar in a bowl, and slowly beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.

2. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

3. Wrap the mixture in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.

4. Remove from fridge, shape the dough into balls and flatten them out into discs. Then use a Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter to cut each disc into tree shapes.

5. Dot the multicoloured chocolate chips into the tree cookies to create baubles for your tree.

6. Line a tray with baking parchment or greaseproof paper and bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Leave to cool fully on a rack.

Tips & Tricks!

  • These cookies are really easy and fun to make, so get the kids involved too!
  • Use colourful icing to make the trees pop even more – outline them with green icing, add a yellow star on top, etc..
  • If the mixture is wet or gooey before it goes into the fridge, add more flour until the mixture becomes more firm.

Veggie Christmas Party Treats For ALL Your Guests to Enjoy! | #ThisGirlEats

Christmas always comes with at least one inevitable party or social gathering and, if you’re unlucky, you’re stuck hosting it. Coming up with new ideas for party food is tricky; you don’t want to be boring but you don’t want to make things too stressful for yourself, and you’ve got to find some sort of middle ground to cater for everyone. It’s a minefield!

Something we need to consider more these days is providing some delicious vegetarian and vegan options. I’m sure we all know someone with these dietary requirements – or are that someone ourselves! – and no host wants to let any of their guests go hungry, so coming up with simple, fun, tasty ideas to suit everyone is essential.

Below are five different ideas with links to some great recipes, all of which are either vegetarian or vegan and TOTALLY delicious!

Mushroom Rolls

Mushroom rolls are a great alternative to sausage rolls, the classic party buffet food. A finger food spread just wouldn’t be the same without them, and to make a delicious vegan substitute all you need to do is swap out the meat for thinly diced mushrooms, onions and a splash of soy sauce. Watch out for the puff pastry, but I find Jus Rol is a safe bet if your local supermarket brand uses dairy.

I’ve actually got my own recipe for these ones, which you can check out here.

Nachos with Fresh Tomato Salsa & Guacamole

The great thing about nachos is that the effort you put into them can be as minimal as you like. You can make your own salsa with fresh tomatoes, onion, chillies and coriander and you can whip up guacamole by mashing together avocado, red onion, garlic, lime juice and, you guessed it, more coriander. Or, if you can’t be bothered, you can pick up ready made versions from the store and just throw it all together at home. Either way, you can’t go wrong with chips ‘n’ dip!

Jamie Oliver’s Classic Tomato Salsa

Simple Guacamole from Loving It Vegan


Fried Halloumi Sticks

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am OBSESSED with halloumi, especially halloumi fries. There are two main kinds of halloumi fries; strips of halloumi that have just, literally, been fried, and halloumi in a crispy, crunchy batter that more resembles a chip. These might not be so great for a cold buffet, but if you’re happy to serve hot food straight out the kitchen these would go down a storm!

Crispy Halloumi Fries from Scrummy Lane

Joe Wicks’ Halloumi Dippers 

Mini Veggie Taquitos

Taquitos are like Mexican spring rolls stuffed with a spicy filling, usually fried but can be baked too. You’ll often find chicken taquitos as a restaurant appetiser, but there’s absolutely no reason you can’t wrap up a veggie-friendly version for your guests. I love Mexican flavours, and the versatility of these is fantastic – I’ve only listed two recipe options here, but have a quick search online and you’ll find dozens of different filling ideas.

Vegetarian Baked Taquitos from Weelicious

Vegan Taquitos with Chipotle Sauce from Vegan Heaven

Antipasti Skewers

Antipasti (or antipasto, I’m not entirely sure which is correct and I do apologise!) is an Italian appetiser which usually combines a variety of ingredients. I’m sure you’ve seen antipasti platters with cured meats, olives, cheeses, pickled vegetables, etc. and, to be honest, serving up a huge board full of Italian treats is a pretty good party idea by itself. But to be more finger food friendly, you could layer up a few ingredients, such as sundried tomatoes, olives and mozzarella balls, onto a toothpick and create mini antipasti skewers.

Easy Vegan Antipasto Skewers from Sweet Simple Vegan



These Are a Few of My Favourite Things (Christmas Edition!) | #ThisGirlEats

Christmas is now officially on its way, with only a few weeks left before the big day is here. I’m super excited (duh!) because I love this time of year – and here are my favourite things about it!

1. Food markets in every town. Doesn’t matter what size, there’s a food market popping up on every corner and they’re full of delectable treats to indulge in.

2. The local Christmas fair. Everywhere has a local Christmas fair, right? They’re great for gift ideas, crafts, food, drink and just general festive cheer.


3. Prosecco on tap. As soon as December hits, it seems like there’s no reason too small to pop open tho prosecco and, to be completely honest, I am down with that.

4. Presents – for other people. Sure, receiving presents is great, let’s not lie. But I actually prefer coming up with awesome ideas for other people and when I stumble across the perfect present for someone it really makes my day.

5. It’s always dark enough for candles. Now it’s pretty much always gloomy we can have candles on all day long. Gingerbread, cinnamon, cranberry… think of the scents!

6. Wearing novelty jumpers is compulsory. I don’t even mean Christmas ones, necessarily – just an excuse to wear any fun, loud ones is good enough for me!


7. Rotating my 1,007 pairs of boots. I’ve honestly got so many pairs that are forgotten about half the year, but now it’s time for them to come out of hiding and be shown in all their glory once again!

8. Decorations. Tacky or classy, I don’t even care. Christmas decorations are the best and I’m so excited to see everyone’s homes covered head to toe in them!

9. London at Christmas. My nearest city is London so I’ve done lots of Christmas shopping there and I just adore it this time of year. The lights, the window displays, the general vibe – oh, and Winter Wonderland, of course!

10. Parties (and party outfits). Christmas always comes with parties, or at least some fun get-togethers with your nearest and dearest. And you know what that means – new party clothes!


11. Christmas dinner. Need I say more? I mean… really?

12. TV specials. We all binge watch a load of telly over the festive season, right? I love lounging on the sofa nibbling leftover pigs in blankets and finding out who’s going to die in this year’s Christmas episode of Eastenders, this time of year just isn’t the same without it.

8 Reasons to Love Winter This Year! | #ThisGirlEats

It’s colder, it’s gloomier, the days are shorter and the weather is harsher. I’m afraid the days of summer are behind us for another year and winter is truly starting to settle in for us Brits. It’s pretty easy to get down about that.

You might not feel like it right now but, trust me, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about winter coming around again! From comfort food to comfy clothes, cinema dates to TV binges, winter definitely has its own unique upsides.

If you’re feeling a little glum about the approaching months, I’ve got a few reasons to look forward to winter this year!

1. At this time of year, TV is like a cuddly comfort blanket. There are some staples of British wintertime telly that just remind us of the season, year in, year out, and it’s like greeting an old, familiar friend every time they come around. Family favourites like Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor and all the soaps building up to their Christmas storylines might not be BAFTA-worthy watching but they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside each year and I love watching them!

2. Grab some popcorn and your 2 for 1 cinema tickets, because there are some fantastic movies coming out in the next few months! There’s something for everyone – the latest Marvel character is being introduced with ‘Venom’; the life of Freddie Mercury is explored in Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’; Lady Gaga takes a turn in her first starring movie role with Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star is Born’; we’re on the next train to the wonderful wizarding world with ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’; another addition to our Disney collection is on its way with ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’; and we’re going back to our childhood with the sequel to one of my all-time favourites, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’. I’m excited, are you?!

popcorn gif

3. Now that festival season is over, loads of bands and artists are going out on their own headline tours in the winter, and this year sees some cracking tours making their way up and down the country. Personally, I’ve got some awesome gigs coming up which I’m super excited about – Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish, Dashboard Confessional, You Me At Six and Enter Shikari are just a few! Are any of you heading out to any tours this winter? I’m open to recommendations!

4. Possibly my favourite thing about the cold weather is digging out my winter wardrobe! Summer clothes are beautiful but for me – someone who’d wear black in a heatwave and prefers to hide her wobbly bits than parade them on the beach for all to see – winter clothes are my preferred choice. Cosy knitted jumpers and killer boots accessorised with stylish scarves and funky jackets… I just can’t wait! Many high street stores are already advertising their latest range for the new season.

winter coat

5. Christmas markets are on the way and, as far as I can tell, that can only be a good thing! My favourite Christmas festival is London’s Winter Wonderland, which has been announced as returning for yet another year to the gorgeous Hyde Park. It’s an amazing free festival and I’d recommend it to anyone in the area, but there are plenty of local Christmas markets up and down the country that will be opening up in the next couple of months and they’re always worth checking out for gift ideas and yummy festive food and drink.

6. Let’s face it, from Sunday roasts to midweek stews, comfort food reaches its peak in winter. There’s nothing better than a plate of hearty to food to warm you up on a cold day – check out these recipes for slow cooked pulled pork, veggie chilli with baked potato and carrot and coriander soup for some great winter recipe ideas.


7. It’s the festive season, and that means it’s also the party season. An excuse to dress up and drink up, whether it be the office Christmas party or getting together for New Year’s Eve, is definitely on its way. Winter invites parties and if you love socialising, dancing, getting dolled up and painting the town red, this is your time to shine…

8. … and if parties aren’t your cup of tea, that’s fine too because winter is absolutely perfect for staying in! Cosy nights indoors, with the heating whacked up and the glow of the telly lighting up the dark nights, nursing a mug of hot chocolate and filling your belly with warm food to protect you from the wind and rain outside… Honestly, is there anything better?!

How Changing Jobs Finally Allowed Me to Enjoy My Christmas | #ThisGirlEats

Shout out to all the frazzled retail workers: I feel ya. This time of year is awful for you guys – until very recently, I was one of you guys! After my time as an Xmas sales assistant, three distinct experiences spring to mind…

1. The queues. Oh dear God, the queues…

2. The questions. Just so. Many. Questions.

3. The very rude, inexplicably angry customers. “Why don’t you have this in stock?” “I’m actually in a rush, I don’t have time for any of your offers.” “5p for a bag?! Outrageous!” “Why can’t I return this without a receipt? I know my rights, you know!

It’s shit. You get zero time to yourself. You’re expected to work crazy hours that give the bigwig CEOs – who sit in their comfy offices and work nice, normal hours – cartoonish dollar signs in their eyes. You’re there at the crack of dawn for the early shoppers. You’re there until late at night for the after-work buyers. You’re there on Christmas Eve for the last minute-ers. You’re there on Boxing Day for the sales fanatics. You’re literally always at work.

There’s no build-up for you. No lovely festive shopping trips, no pre-Christmas get-togethers, no cosying up on the sofa for a day of mulled wine and Christmas films. Grabbing a spare few hours between shifts to purchase, wrap and deliver presents is a military mission. You get one day, ONE DAY, to celebrate – Christmas Day. My ‘one day’ had to be split between mine and my boyfriend’s family, so I ended up with half a day to see my ‘rents, my grandparents, my extended family (who I bloody love)… everyone!

It makes getting into the festive spirit really, really hard.


This year I left retail at the very last moment – I was Indiana Jones, rolling under the store shutter and snatching up my trusty hat just in the nick of time. I switched to my first office-based role in December and, thanks to the time of year, I’ve instantly felt the benefits.

The Christmas party, for one. When you’re a retail worker in a shopping centre or central city location, it’s impossible to arrange the perfect time for a Christmas bash – someone, somewhere, is always working and, inevitably, we’re told the party will just have to wait until the New Year… Again. But the office Christmas party – much like the recent Jennifer Anniston flick – went all-out and, for the first time, work felt Christmassy to me.

The computers are decorated with tinsel. Treats sit waiting for you on the desk – a secret santa gift, a thank you from your manager. Everyone wants to go for pre-Christmas drinks after work because, why not, it’s only 5pm. Not to mention actually knowing in advance which festive days you can spend with your loved ones – including Boxing Day and the glorious feeling of not facing the crazy ‘o’ clock shoppers first thing in the morning!

I don’t at all envy those who are stuck in yet another year of Christmas retail. I sympathise – no, I empathise – with you. Who knows, I may well end up back there again one day, the office might not be the place for me after all. Only time will tell. But for now, I know for sure that I’m so, so glad I left my retail job when I did because I finally feel like I can enjoy Christmas, just like everyone else.


Cute Christmas Gifts for Your Inner Foodie | #ThisGirlEats

This weekend, I spent yet another afternoon perusing a local Christmas market – just try and keep me away from the damn things! This time I found myself in the middle of Canterbury, where the high street has been transformed into an adorable Santa’s grotto, with traditional huts, twinkling lights and cutesy stalls selling all sorts of unique gifts, tempting treats and lovely liquid delights.

I came across countless bits and pieces as I wandered about – mostly completely useless but charming trinkets that would help create the boho boutique decor I one day dream of showering my home in without having any real practicality whatsoever – but, alas, my budget wouldn’t allow such frivolous spending. These are just some of the knick-knacks I stumbled upon that made my inner foodie squeal with excitement…

This lavish sweet treats stall, decked out with literally hundreds of mouth-watering nougat, fudge and cake bars, decorated marvellously with tasty decorations and fun, novelty themes, not to mention sliced and wrapped beautifully.

cake stall


This quintessentially British stall, featuring traditional family board games such as Monopoly and Cluedo on one side and copious amounts of unique alcoholic beverages on the other. Christmas ales, mulled wine flavoured gin, marmalade vodka, you name it, they had it (and they let you try it as well!).

drinks stall


This totally f’ing adorable bloggers journal which, no, isn’t technically a foodie gift and, no, isn’t something I found on one of the market stalls, but it’s something that this particular foodie would love for Christmas (guys, take note) and, you know, it came from a shop on the same high street, like right next to the market, soo…

bloggers journal

The Do’s + Don’t’s of Navigating Christmas Hangovers | #ThisGirlEats

With this time of year, hangovers are almost an inevitability. From my experience, these are some ultimate do’s and don’t’s when it comes to getting through a seriously bad Christmas hangover.


Keep a packet of paracetamol handy at ALL TIMES. No matter how many scrunched up half-packs you end up having littered between bags, when you wake up on your mate’s sofa in yesterday’s clothes barely able to crack open an eyelid thanks to last night’s mascara, you’ll be incredibly grateful for that scrunched up half-pack.

Gather your trashiest TV boxsets and go nuts. Desperate Housewives? Get stuck into suburbia. Glee? Sing your heart out, baby. Gossip Girl? xoxo. Whatever you like to indulge in when the world gets a bit tough, this is your moment. Binge to your heart’s content, because it’s probably the only thing that can take your mind off of how bloody gross you are.

Try to avoid, at all costs, any remnants of the night before. Just try to ignore it, let it all wash over you and do your best to pretend it’s not happening. None of it. Not the crumbled up pants you tossed aside before drunkenly crawling into bed. Not the ugly-ass photos that are starting to creep up on social media. Not even the unexpected person you may have found yourself with in the morning (now that’s a night out!). Just close your eyes and kid yourself into believing you’re a perfectly functioning human being.


Basically anything that I’ve done today, which includes…

Going to work the day after your Christmas party. Alright, we didn’t have a choice – they arranged the party on a Thursday for heaven’s sake. You can’t exactly call in sick pretending you’ve got the flu when the whole office knows the real reason for your sore throat is the lethal cocktail of singing and sambuca, which they all bore witness to. Be smart, plan ahead and never organise a night of Christmas drinking when you’ve got work the next day.

Watching Titanic. You might think, like me, that curling up in bed with one of your favourite movies, one that you haven’t watched for ages but you know will still make you feel all kind of feelings, is the perfect remedy for a hangover. And, like me, you’d be mistaken. My fragile state wasn’t prepared to watch Jack’s beautiful, frozen face disappear into ocean while Rose hogged that door all to herself. I felt even worse after all the emotional turmoil.

Overdoing the Chinese food for lunch when your stomach hasn’t quite decided if it can handle it yet. I work right next to a Chopstix, a Chinese fast food outlet I never knew existed until recently, and I carefully selected today – with my poor, weak, alcohol-infused body crying out for sustenance – to go for it. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong. But I really, really, really wish I’d waited for my tummy to settle down before I stuffed it to bursting point. Now I don’t know if I’m hungover or just greedy.