Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Things I Love About Christmas

Christmas is one of my fave times of the year, it's also the only time I actually like darkness, snow and the cold weather ;). 

There are so many things I love about Christmas, here the are: 

Christmas means family. I get to spend time with the people I love and I get to thank them for being awesome. It's wonderful to have everyone together and just enjoying the atmosphere. 

Christmas also means food, lots of food. I love baking Christmas cookie and of course eating them. Mulled wine is the best drink every and it keeps you warm. We always eat Fondue Chinoise (meat fondue) and of course there is lots more. Christmas is basically the excuse to eat a lot and I'm totally fine with it. 

The music and the movies. I like them and I get to listen to them day in day out and when it's over that's ok, because there have been a lot. After a 10 month break though, I'm happy to have them back. I like all kinds of Christmas songs and my fave movies are the Hallmark movies. It's actually a tradition to listen to Christmas music while decorating the tree. It's always so much fun. 
The movies I usually watch while baking and wrapping presents. 

I adore all the lights outside, they are so pretty and then I don't mind the darkness. The decorations inside just add to this. There are so many possibilities and I just love looking at them. 

I get to sleep in and enjoy my time off. 

I'm not really a winter girl, but snow around Christmas is fabulous and makes everything more festive. 

I get to wear my Christmas jumpers, yay!!! And no, mine are not ugly ;). 

What are your faveourite things about Christmas?!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Christmas at the Candied Apple Café - by Katherine Garbera

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb:

There’s nothing so magical as Christmas in New York… 
Santa is coming to New York!
Snow is falling, excitement is high and the delicious scent of chocolate drifts along Fifth Avenue – the Candied Apple Café is ready for Christmas! And no one is busier than publicist Iona Summerlin. With so much to do, she doesn’t have time to think about men, dating, or the fact her last boyfriend ditched her for her brother… Relationships are off the menu!
Hotel boss Mads Eriksson is not looking forward to the first Christmas since losing his wife. His six-year-old daughter Sofia has lost her belief in Christmas magic along with her mother, and he has no idea what to do. But an unusually festive business meeting at the Candied Apple – and meeting the beautiful Iona – starts to defrost Mads’ frozen heart, and suddenly life seems full of light and sparkle again.
If only they dare to believe, maybe all their Christmas dreams will come true!

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is the perfect book to get you into the Christmas spirit. It’s set in beautiful New York and the characters are adorable!

It follows Iona Summerlin, who is a publicist and works at Candied Apple Café with her friends Cici and Hayley. She doesn’t want to think about men or dating, she is busy enough with work.

However, Mads Eriksson comes along and everything changes. He is a hotel boss, his a six-year-old daughter and lost his wife after Christmas last year. It’s a lot for him and he also sees, how his daughter Sofia struggles. Sofia is absolutely adorable and gets along with Iona very well. She calls her dad “papa”, which makes it even cuter and I alove all the moments she shares with her dad and after a while also with Iona. Sofia definitely adds a lot of sparks to the story.

Iona and Mads share a lot of deep and exciting moments as well and the chemistry between them is on fire. However, there is still his grief and it kind of stands between them.

Candied Apple Café is fabulous and so full of heart. I really liked the place from the start. Katherine Garbera captured this wonderful and festive atmosphere of the café and of New York beautifully. It’s like being there with the characters.

I loved the storyline, but at times it wasn’t authentic enough for me and things moved pretty fast, that’s a bit of a shame, because the idea around it all is great.

A lot of traditions are part of the story and that was marvellous to read about. It’s the perfect holiday read, very uplifting, sweet and wonderful.


Katherine Garbera on Twitter: @katheringarbera

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Places I Want to See Around Christmas

There are so many places out there, which are full of Christmas magic, here are the ones I really want to see. 

- London: I have seen London with all the Christmas lights before and I'd do it over and over again. It's so pretty and I definitely haven't seen it all. 

- New York City: Do I need to say more?! This is definitely on my bucket list. Imagine strolling through Central Park, the Rockefeller Placa etc. 

- Florida: I know, I have been to Florida several times, but never around Christmas. I mean there is the sea, it's still warm. How does it feel to celebrate Christmas there?! 

- Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland: It just screams Christmas to me!

- Prague: Lots of squares and markets! Yes, please :). 

- Quebec City: It's so christmassy and pretty on pictures and I wanted to go for a long time anyway. 

- France: Lots of cities with magical Christmas markets: Strasbourg, Colmar etc. 

- Australia/New Zealand: Similar reasons to Florida, plus I have never been and it's warm!!!

- Vienna: Pretty city, great Christmas market, yay!

- Boston: Would love to visit Boston and it's famous to visit around Christmas. 

- Germany: Like France they have lots of great cities for Christmas markets: Cologne, Nurmberg, Munich etc. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Christmas at School

As promised I tell you more about Christmas related things we do at school. 

The first thing is our Christmas Musical. We have two musicals per school year. One in December and one in June. The one in December is usually themed around Christmas. This year we did "The Little Star". I'm responsible for the drama part of it all and our music teacher does the musical part. It's always lots of fun and the kids really enjoy it. After the show we always have a Christmas dinner together with the parents. 

Our whole primary school has a Christmas Crafts morning in the last week before the holidays. Each teacher decides on an activity and the kids can then sign up. I sometimes make Christmas cards with them or we make baubles, trees, stars etc. 

Santa visits us as well, actually first to forth grade. He then tells the kids how they have been doing and they get a "Grittibänz", chocolate and oranges. 

In my class (6th grade) I have an Advent Calendar with chocolate and we play the Secret Santa game. I also decorate the classroom with the students and they last day before the holiday is usually dedicated to watching a movie and playing games. I always get little present for them as well. 

Friday, 8 December 2017

Guest Post - Christmas Markets by Katey Lovell

For me it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a trip to the Christmas markets.  I love the traditional wooden cabins that pop up in city centres, overflowing with foods, gifts and handicrafts, but it’s the atmosphere that really gives me an injection of the Christmas spirit.  People are happy, enjoying gluhwein and churros and choosing out gifts for loved ones, as they’re wrapped up against the winter weather.  A mixture of scents dance on the air and fairy lights cast their magic spell.  It’s a full-on sensory experience.

In my latest novel Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown the pair visit the UK’s largest Christmas markets in Manchester.  Manchester isn’t far from my adopted home city of Sheffield so I’ve been to these markets a few times myself and always had a good time.  Although I’ve never come across a slightly strange candle-maker called Miranda like Joe and Clara do, I have wondered whether the Father Christmas over the entrance to the Town Hall is purposely designed to look like Zippy from ‘Rainbow’, so I guess you could say my experience influenced that particular chapter!

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Lincoln’s Christmas market, but that was also a lovely day out.  There were so many fabulous stalls and I remember a particularly creative stall that had upcycled aluminium cans into gorgeous hanging decorations.

I’ve also enjoyed the Christmas markets in Rome’s Piazza Navona, Birmingham city centre and Sheffield and regardless of the city they never fail to get me in the festive mood.  If you’re going to a Christmas market this December I hope you have a fabulous time and I’d love to see your photos – you can contact me on Twitter and Instagram @katey5678 or via my facebook page www.facebook.com/kateylovell.
Merry Christmas!

Katey Lovell is the author of three rom-com novels.  Her latest release, Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown, is available now in ebook and paperback, published by HarperImpulse.