Christmas Movie Night: Hot Chocolate & The Best Treats

Hi, loves! Christmas movies are my very favourite type of movie to watch, and honestly the cheesier the better! They just bring me so much joy, and I really want Matt and I to watch as many as we can possibly squeeze in over the rest of the holiday season. If you’re anything like us you’ll agree a movie night (Christmassy or otherwise) is not complete without delicious treats, and I thought it would be a fun idea to share our favourites with you all! If you’re as obsessed with chocolate as much as we are I then I’m sorry you’re going to want to eat all of this, and also… you’re welcome! Tis the season, after all 😊

Disclaimer: I am absolutely NOT saying to eat all of these things together, nor do I recommend it. This is just a selection of Matt and I’s most favourite treats and there’s a very chocolatey theme. Which is the best kind of theme, right? They are treats for a reason… to be enjoyed in moderation. 

I wanted to share with you our two favourite snacks we make at this time of year; they’re super quick and easy and would also make for perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbours or co-workers! If you want to spread a little holiday cheer this season, homemade treats tied with a cute ribbon are a great way to go. 

Peppermint Bark

I shared this recipe on my blog last year, but I’m giving you the run down again in 2019! This bark easily refrigerates for a few days so you can make a huge batch in one go and store in Tupperware. Although in our house, this is eaten in literally minutes.

Shopping List:
Milk chocolate (Galaxy is the best to melt)
White chocolate (we like Milkybar!)
Coconut oil
Peppermint oil
Candy canes

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
  2. Place candy canes (we use around five per baking tray size slab of bark) into a zip loc bag, seal and break up lightly with a rolling pin. Make sure to break the bigger chunks down as much as possible so it is easier to eat!
  3. Melt milk chocolate in microwave or over boiling water on the hob – we just melt in the microwave as it’s so quick. I find microwaving on full power for 40 seconds, stirring then repeating until the chocolate is fully melted is the best way to do this.
  4. Add four to five drops of peppermint oil into melted chocolate, stir well and spread over the lined baking tray. It’s personal preference if you’d rather have this layer thick or thin, it just depends how much bark you want to make. 
  5. Melt white chocolate in the same way as before, then spread thickly over the top of the melted milk chocolate. Sometimes we drizzle it over to create a pattern, or we just smooth over to make a second layer. Again, this is just personal preference. 
  6. Scatter crushed pieces of candy cane over the top whilst the white chocolate is still melted and warm. 
  7. Place the baking tray in the fridge for around 30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. 
  8. Break up into chunks and enjoy!

If you’re based in the UK and don’t fancy making peppermint bark this year, you can finally buy it from Costco! Ghiradelli isn’t usually sold in Costco but for some reason this year they are stocking PLENTY and I am here for it. Ghiradelli is my favourite brand of chocolate and usually something I stock up on when I’m in the US (and beg my friends/family to do so, too!) so I was beyond excited to find it in store. *jumps in the car to buy all the bags*

*Image from Pinterest. I haven’t had time to make any to take photos, but I’ll definitely be making some this week which I’ll share in my Feelin’ It Friday post!

Pretzel Bites 

These take less than 20 minutes to make – including ‘cooking’ time – and they are truly little bites of heaven. I got this idea from a Bethany Mota YouTube video about six years ago and have made them ever since, they’re a Finn family favourite! I also think these bites would be so easy to make and have little children ‘help’ you. Matt and I LOVE sweet and salty flavours mixed together, and this treat combines both!

Shopping List:
Small salted pretzels
Chocolate of your choice – either a square if you’re using a bar, or buttons work really well
M&M’s

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking tray with foil, then place pretzels in rows on the tray. 
  3. Place one piece of chocolate/chocolate button in the centre of each pretzel, and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until fully melted. The chocolate will mould over the pretzel shape and will be gooey to touch. 
  4. Place an M&M in the centre of the chocolate and push down lightly. 
  5. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until the chocolate hardens, and enjoy!

Hot Chocolate

…it wouldn’t be a Christmas movie night without a delicious hot chocolate, right? Hot chocolate is my go-to treat during the colder months (well honestly, all the months!) and I love experimenting with different flavours. My favourite ever hot chocolate is Swiss Miss (either original or with marshmallows – this pack has both!) and Matt loves Cadbury’s, but I really love to try new brands, and thankfully Matt is happy to drink whatever I buy/make! I found some Starbucks brand and Silly Cow Farms options in Homesense and they are both SO good, although definitely more of a treat as they’re not readily available here in the UK and are way more expensive.

Hot chocolate spoons are such a fun way to make hot chocolate, and they’re so aesthetically pleasing if you’re involving your friends and family too! Matt and I picked these up from Whittard’s to add as stocking fillers in a few gifts this year, and also got some for ourselves. The taste is so luxurious and rich, they’re just a very indulgent treat! Matt LOVES Bailey’s and adding a splash of Bailey’s to his hot chocolate in the evening is one of his very favourite things.

I don’t like coffee and tea isn’t really something you can ‘add’ to, so I really appreciate there are so many different flavours to change up your hot chocolates with. We always make our hot chocolates with either Alpro almond or Alpro coconut milk – honestly just whichever we have open, I tend to alternate each time I do our grocery shopping – and it makes the drink so creamy! Hot chocolate made with water just isn’t the same to me. Matt loves whipped cream and marshmallows, whereas I’m happy with a candy cane and maybe just a few marshmallows! (I definitely went WAY overboard on the marshmallows for the photo… #doitfortheblog LOL) I also really love adding candy canes to our hot chocolate because they give the best peppermint taste.

If you’re having friends or family round this holiday season setting up a DIY hot chocolate station is such a sweet idea. You could even make hot chocolate in the CrockPot, and then leave a range of items out so people can customise exactly how they want theirs to be. I’d definitely leave out candy canes, various sized/flavoured marshmallows, whipped cream, honeycomb, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, peanut butter and of course festive mugs! I think this is an especially fun idea for Christmas Eve/Christmas morning.

So, now we have ALL of the treats prepared there’s just one more thing to decide… which movie should we choose?! I’ve listed below some of our favourites, and most of them are movies we go back to every. single. year. 

Elf
Miracle On 34th Street
Home Alone 1 & 2
The Santa Clause
Santa Claus 1 & 2
The Grinch
Christmas With The Kranks
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Holiday
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Love Actually
Last Christmas – go see this for your Christmas date night, it’s SO good!
Deck The Halls
*ALL of the cheesy Hallmark movies*

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little chocolatey Christmassy inspiration for your next movie night! Let me know if you make any of the Christmas treats in this post, and if you do I hope you love them! Do you love all things chocolate as much as we do? What’s your favourite chocolatey treat? Also, please leave any movie recommendations below! 🙂

-G x

How To Keep It Together This Holiday Season

Hi, loves! We are one week away from December 1st, which for most of us marks the beginning of the busiest time of year. Date nights, dinner and drinks, Christmas markets, catch ups with friends you haven’t seen forever, a whole channel filled with Christmas movies you NEED to watch, last minute present shopping, work Christmas parties and approximately 483 other events are taking place this month, and somehow you’re expected to fit it all in. Not to mention you’ve still got to squeeze in the regular ol’ 9-5, quality time with your partner, grocery shopping, errands, sleeping, eating, seeing your family, exercising, preparing dinner, I’m A Celebrity, hobbies and there’s also probably a sh*t load of Christmas presents you need to wrap too. Phew. Anybody else exhausted just reading that?! ME. TOO. But, it doesn’t have to be as hectic as it seems. There’s lots of things we can do – aside from cutting out our favourite reality TV show – to make this time of year easier on ourselves, and actually really enjoy the festive fun!

Utilize your iPhone calendar. There’s no excuse for forgetting you already agreed to plans when you can plan every second of your life in your phone. *Note to self because I am still really bad at this!* A surefire way to ensure you don’t double book, turn up late or (even worse) arrive at the wrong place is to record every single plan you agree to in your calendar. I love to use my iPhone calendar specifically because it syncs to my MacBook and iPad therefore everything is easily accessible, and it can be colour coded for ease. I use my calendar throughout the year to plan blog content as well as write details of social plans, but Christmas is HECTIC and requires a little extra upkeep!

Write lists. For everything. The last thing you need to be stressing out about is if what you’ve forgotten to do/buy/organise etc. I can’t tell you how much I love writing a list (partly because crossing off what you’ve achieved is just fun to me) but it’s so. much. help. I have lists for everything and the holiday season is certainly no different! I have several gifting lists, tasks to be done, extra things to buy, places to visit etc – I just feel so organised when I know what’s to be checked off.

Eat good meals. Most of us link preparing super healthy meals to the Summer months, when pre-holiday your biggest concern is how you’ll look in your new bikini. But, let’s be real. It’s pretty common for most of us at the time of year to indulge in more chocolates than we usually would, try every festive flavoured drink in Costa and enjoy an alcoholic beverage with the occasional every meal, justified by the words “well, it’s Christmas”. Add in the fact it’s freezing cold outside and you’re almost definitely enjoying nights out without a coat (it’s not just a Northern thing, right?) the chances of you falling ill are pretty high, too. Being poorly at Christmas time sucks, so eating healthy, good-for-you meals during the day is a little way of self care and you’ll feel the benefits throughout the month. Pile your meals high with fruits and veggies and it makes all of the indulging you do a little bit more acceptable! Speaking of which…

Don’t be afraid to indulge yourself. When you are at home, make the most of it. Don’t worry too much about the non-essential things and instead really indulge in things that make you happy. For Matt and I, that’s cooking a good meal and chatting about our days then snuggling in to watch one of our favourite shows. We both find so much joy in binge watching The Office but I want to watch as many holiday movies as possible this year. Just don’t tell Matt, it’s a surprise! One of our favourite ways to unwind is a long soak in a bubble bath, and I love to read books so much. Also, despite my point above that we should try to eat healthy meals… I also am MORE than happy to eat any sweets, chocolates, shortbread, cookies etc that I want to! If we’re watching a cute Christmas movie we’re probably snacking on something, and that’s okay. It’s all about moderation.

Prioritise the things that are most important for you. The annual Christmas market trip with your love, a last minute Christmas shopping dash with your mum and a festive brunch with your best gal might be the three things that are top of your social plans this year, and that’s fine! Make sure you do the things you really want to do, and everything else will slot in where possible. It’s really important not to overload your social calendar as it will begin to feel like a chore, when really all of your festive plans should be fun and bring JOY!

Do not get slack on your skincare! Okay, maybe this is just an important one for me but I know if I take even one day away from my usual routine my face really bloody hates me for it. It’s super easy after a busy day to think you can skip a few steps but really, taking those five minutes for you will help you feel (and look) good. At the very least make sure to cleanse, tone and apply eye cream, serum and moisturiser each morning and night. I also would advise against trying new skincare products this time of year because with all of the Christmas induced stress, chances are your skin isn’t going to be it’s best anyway. I just know if I try *that* amazing moisturiser everyone is raving about I’ll develop a spot the size of Rudolph’s nose, so it’s just not worth the hassle.

Say no if you can’t make it work. There’s no reason to feel obliged to squeeze in that pub meet up with those friends you barely see ‘just because it’s Christmas’ if it doesn’t work for you. True friends will always understand that life is busy, and I’d really suggest giving alternative plans if what everyone else is doing doesn’t work for you. By the same token, if a friend isn’t able to make it to something you’ve planned or are attending, make sure to let them know it’s okay and they’ve got nothing to worry about. For example, I personally couldn’t think of anything worse than going to a club because I’m a #25yearoldgrandma, and that’s okay. We all have to set boundaries and the people who love us as we are will never make us feel guilty for that. I’m a sociable person, but kinda only with my people. We all just need to be mindful, especially at this time of year, that there is no obligation to join in on plans you can’t make work with your schedule.

Thank you so much for reading! Feel free to use this blog post as your reminder to chill the heck out this holiday season, refer back to it throughout the next month and share it with your friends… we need all of the self care reminders we can get, right?! I hope you have the most amazing December, I’m so excited to share what we’re up to with you throughout the month! Next week I’ll be posting our Christmas Bucket List! I’m so excited because we have so many fun plans… and yes some of those include snuggling up on the couch with a hot chocolate and Elf 🙂 yay for plans that make us happy!

-G x