Happy New Years Eve!!! :)

Just wanted to jump on here and wish everyone a very Happy New Years Eve! I hope you all have a safe and wonderful night bringing in 2015 and I hope that this next year brings you everything you hope and wish for! :)

Here are just a few of my favourite memories from 2014! :)

Spending our birthday with friends in a Chalet, being very grown up... watching Harry Potter and making Smores by the fire! :p http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/02/some-type-of-chalet.html

My husband going to England for the first time and meeting my Nanna and Grandad. Although it was a flying visit for him, just 6 days, it was the best thing ever! :) http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/03/home-sweet-home.html

Getting to go and see The Overtones with my Mum and sisters! We were dancing all night and it was so lovely to see our Mum enjoy herself and get to experience it too! :) http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/03/i-solemnly-swear-im-up-to-no-good.html

My husband and I got to see Ray Lamontagne in concert which we had been waiting for, for a long time. I was super excited and it was amazing to share that experience with my Chris! Ray was phenomenal and we would get to see him for the second time a few short months later when my husband surprised me with tickets to Forecastle. :) Twice in one year, I was ecstatic and he was even better at Forecastle!!!! :)  http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/06/easy-listening.html

Pulling off the biggest surprise for our family back in June is one of the highlights of the year! I want to say it was 5-6 years in the making and their faces were priceless. Their reactions to us turning up on the doorstep gives me goose bumps as I write this and think about it. It brings tears to my eyes to know just how much I am loved and how incredible my family are. <3 http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-surprise.html

My sisters and I had the trip of a lifetime back in August when we hit the road with our Dad for our Route 66 trip! My Dad is the absolute greatest and this trip will always hold a special place in my heart. A mixture of seeing the world, my Dads love of the old road and cars, celebrating our little sister turning 21 and getting to visit some of the Chuck sets at Warner brothers studios...yep, it was definitely a trip for the books! :) http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/09/hanging-out-in-la.html
Celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary back at our Pink Castle in October was incredibly wonderful and amazing. I have been blessed with the worlds most awesome husband and for that I am forever grateful. :) http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/10/1-year-wedding-anniversary.html
After a few scares over the past year with my Nanna and Grandad and with my sister and brother in law moving to Florida, I can't express how happy I was to spend two weeks in England celebrating the holiday season with my family. It was two weeks filled with so much love and happiness and lots of family time and that made my heart so very happy and content. I couldn't have wished for anything more... expect maybe having all of our Virginia family there with us too. :p http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/12/christmas-adventures-in-jolly-old.html 
2014 was definitely an awesome year and that's not forgetting friends weddings, road trips to VA, spending time with my Mom and Dad, being this _ close to Dan Layus while he sang our wedding song, trips to Florida to see my Keg and Chris, my brother in law Chris blowing up the internet and becoming the "Brie Bella guy" tut tut :p my brother Chris kicking ass in his first ever strongman competition and getting to wake up each and every day next to my other half and bestest friend in the world (the other other half, not Kelly :p) I hope 2014 bought along some great memories for you too! :)
I will have another little post from my UK trip coming soon but for now I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog. This year has definitely been a year of stepping out of my comfort zone and chasing new dreams after leaving the squared circle behind for a little bit. I am excited about all these new dreams and projects and look forward to seeing where 2015 takes me. :)
Please be safe tonight, look out for those around you! I hope you have a truly amazing New Year and I will keep you all in my thoughts in hoping that 2015 brings you everything you wish for!
Thank you again!
Love Lulu xx

Christmas adventures in jolly old England! :)

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and got to spend it in the company of friends, family and loved ones all around!! I am back in Kentucky after two weeks back home in Manchester and I've been eager to sit down and write, so today is just a little catch up on my home visit and all the wonderful Christmas festivities that we got up to! :)

After spending last Christmas in Virginia, this was a sight I couldn't wait to see. This Christmas tree has grown up with my brother and sisters and I and it is our absolute favourite. All the ornaments have been with us since we were knee high to a grasshopper and lots of them have a little something special behind them. Every time I look at it I smile and feel happy inside. I love my Mom in laws tree, I love the new tree that my husband and I got this year, I love my candy tree, but I think this little baby tree with all it's colour and sparkle will always be my favourite! :) In saying that though, I'm excited to be going to Virginia in two weeks to have Christmas day with my family there and I'm looking forward to seeing the tree and Christmas decorations, as Mom makes it look like Santa's grotto. I'm very much prepared for three Christmas's every year now! :p
I was so excited that for the first week back home Kelly (my twin sister) and her husband Chris, (yes we are both married to Chris's and our brother is also a Chris...it only gets slightly confusing when all three are under the same roof :p) were still going to be there. It was the first time that the four of us were in England together and it made our Nanna and Grandad very happy. I miss Kelly and Chris so much now that we live in different places so it was beyond awesome to spend the week together. Kelly and I love Gingerbread men from Greggs, our Mum used to get us them when we were younger, so during a shopping trip to Stockport we had to get one. It's little moments like these that I love sharing with my sisters! Yum! :)

I love this goofy picture of my husband Chris and I. I had to capture the moment he was trying his first Indian takeaway, as you do, I like to scrapbook everything! :p It was a success and he gave it a thumbs up. The tandoori chicken was his favourite. :)

On Kelly and Chris's last day, we piled in the car with Dad and our sister Jenny and went to Chatsworth house. It was a lovely drive through little towns and villages and I really enjoyed showing Chris different parts of England. It's funny here in KY because you can drive for three hours and still be in KY, but at home you can drive an hour and be in Wales. With this outing, although still in England, the Peak District is completely different to Heaton Moor and I just love that. It was beautiful and Chatsworth house itself made for a great day out. The house had been transformed into Alice in Wonderland and every room was a different part of the story, it was incredible. We then had a blast in the gardens when we found a maze. My sisters and I turned into big kids and decided to pretend we were in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, fake wands were drawn and we ran around giggling trying to get to the middle of the maze. Alas, we could see and hear people in the middle but after about 20 minutes running around in fits of laughter we still could not figure out how to join them. Mind you, if it saved us a meeting with 'you know you' I guess we won!! :p Check out some of the cool things Chatsworth house has to offer here: http://www.chatsworth.org/

I was so excited that I finally got to take Chris to the Manchester (German) Christmas markets. I've been telling him all about them for so long, so it was so much fun showing him around. It was even better that my brother was able to come with us, as I love getting to spend time with him. Him and his friend made it a lovely evening out as they were able to show my Chris more cool things around Manchester. We got to go to a fun restaurant too, at the recommendation of my brother and his friend, and my Chris tried his first English BBQ. :p

I was going to try and write about Christmas day in the same post but I think we'd be here for hours! :p I will save that for a post in the coming days. But another place we got to go, before Kelly and Chris left, was The Trafford Center. It was lovely to see it decorated for the holidays and as we got there early in the morning it was nice and quiet and we got to leisurely walk around without bumping into people. Chris likes a lot of the English shops, with Next being his favourite, so it was an enjoyable morning out! :)

I shall leave my home adventures here for now and wish you all a wonderful day. If you got to anywhere nice over the holidays I would love to hear about them in the comments below. Also, if you have any cool places that you think I should take Chris too next time we are home, let me know! :)

Love Lulu. xx

Christmas Blogger Tag part two! :)

I'm currently sat watching 'Walking on Sunshine' with my Mum and sisters, we're having a girlie night while the boys are out on the town in Manchester, as a pajama night and a romantic girlie movie together has been long overdue and I've very much missed nights like these. I have to say 'Walking on Sunshine' is pretty cheesy but we all have a soft spot for Italian boys, so it get's a thumbs up from all of us and we are happily singing along, just think 'Mamma Mia' but the Italian version. :)

A little something sweet! :)

I've been meaning to get on here and post for the past few days but things have been a little busy with getting ready to head home for the holidays, and even though I get to see them all in three days, I have been feeling a bit down and missing my family lots, so it has been hard to focus and think of some fun things to write about. However, I've had a nice warm bowl of pastina, just like my Nanna and Grandad make it, and I am sitting by the tree having had a productive day...a productive day that produced yummy chocolate fudge, and with that turning out rather heavenly, I'm back in the Christmassy spirit. :p (and did I mention I get to see my family in 3 days? :p)

My sister, Kelly, and I have made fudge once or twice before and it was always a big hit with our friends. I couldn't put my finger on that recipe so I searched on Pinterest to see what I could find. I found one that came from realmomkitchen.com and thought I would give that one a whirl. I'm so happy I did, it turned out scrumptious and it was so very easy and quick to make. I'm already thinking of whipping up batches next year for gifts or trying it out when I get home this weekend so my family can try it. :)

What you will need:

1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk.
1 12oz bag of chocolate chips. (the actually recipe called for semi sweet, I used milk chocolate)
1 cup of white chocolate chips. (here the recipe said milk chocolate :p)
1/4 cup of butter
1tsp vanilla.

Mix the condensed milk, chocolate chips and butter together in a pan over a low heat until combined and smooth. Once everything has melted and come together nicely, add the vanilla and pour into baking pan. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.

The recipe calls for a 9 x 9 baking pan, though I just used a biscuit tin and lined it with wax paper. I think my tin was smaller but it worked just fine! :)

I used milk chocolate chips and white chocolate chips so my version is probably a touch sweeter than the original, I just happened to have those chocolate chips in, but it turned out delicious and creamy and chocolatey and so so good. I'm very excited to try out different flavours and experiment with the likes of peppermint and dark chocolate chips! :) Furthermore, I think next time I might also try mixing the vanilla in with the mixture while its on the heat, as I'm not always a fan of the vanilla essence when its not cooked.

Enjoy! :)

Do you like how the tree has to be the back ground in every picture now?!! :p I love my Christmas tree!!!! <3

Happy baking!

Love Lulu. xx

Christmas = Hot Cocoa! :)

I have to admit that I'm not usually one for Hot Chocolate. If I was to ever drink it, I would have one of those Dairy Milk Sachets. (Sashaying over to the Sachet's...sorry I can't say that word without turning into Miranda Hart. :p ) No matter if I mixed them with milk or water, I could never finish a mug. Over the years I have tried the different brands, like the Malteaser ones, the white chocolate ones, I'm pretty sure I've even tried Wispa packets, for those of you who don't know what a Wispa is, you poor things you have been missing out :p, it's a British Chocolate bar, rather plain and simple but oh so delicious, but I still didn't really like it or enjoy it all that much. For some reason though, and especially at this time of year, that does not stop me craving Hot Chocolate.

Some one just has to mention Hot Cocoa on a Christmassy Winter night, or Hot Cocoa curled up by the tree and fire place and I'm like..."Yes Please" :p

So, this year I set about searching for some recipes on Pinterest for that rich, gooey, smooth and creamy Hot Chocolate, not the watery packet kind. I found one and was really excited to experiment. My husband is not a Hot Chocolate drinker either but he LOVED it and kept talking about how good it was. It definitely gets a thumbs up from us. :)

What you will need:
8 cups of milk
1 cup of heavy cream
1- 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 cups of chocolate chips.
Cool Whip
Simply place all ingredients in the crockpot on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. You will start to smell the melted chocolate as it starts to combine!! :) I left it on low for a while longer and then turned it to warm as I was waiting for my husband to get home, it didn't burn at all or spoil it, it just made the apartment smell of chocolate. :)
Once my husband was home, I poured some in to two mugs, placed Cool Whip on the top, added  mini marshmallows and chocolate shavings and...Yum.
You can use whipped cream or add any other toppings that you like. I will say that this recipe is delicious, however, it is definitely for those of you who have a sweet tooth. I think I'm going to try experimenting without the condensed milk next time and see how it turns out. I might even melt Wisps into it instead of the chocolate chips! :p I'll keep you posted.
Enjoy! :)
These adorable little mugs came from Michaels craft store! :)
Have a wonderful day!
Love Lulu xx
P.S. I have to add that I just went to the fridge to heat up a little hot chocolate and if you have it without the added sweetness of the marshmallows and cool whip, it is amazing. Some of the chocolate had gone a little solid again with being in the fridge but once melted down again, it's so good. It seems to be even better than before. You can really taste the chocolate and it's so creamy. It might sound strange but with the different milks in the mix, it kind of reminds me of a chocolate rice pudding and I adore rice pudding. :) Very much looking forward to experimenting with melting other chocolates in to future recipes! :) 


The Christmas Blogger Tag & my Christmas wonderland! :)

It's the 2nd of December and I can now officially dance and sing to Christmas songs! Yay! :) We have had our apartment decorated since before Thanksgiving but now it feels like the festivities can really begin and I can show you the Christmas tree and my Christmas Candy Land! :)

I caved (again) to my husbands plea of getting a new tree. We had only had our 'old' tree for two years but he wanted a bigger one. After looking around Walmart for a few minutes I fell in love with one that had gold glitter tips and pinecones already attached and suddenly I was picking out extra baubles and d├ęcor before I could stop myself. I'm rather happy that we picked out a new one as it's so fluffy and cozy and I simply adore it! :)

We stuck with the gold theme with the odd silver bauble. We also picked up some of the cute rustic looking ornaments like mason jars and sleds and a Santa that all had bits of red in them. Then we added a few candy canes here and there.
My view when I'm curled up with my coffee and a book! :)
Now, I had been wanting to do a little Candy tree for the longest time. I had ideas of actually using real candy and chocolate, like the chocolate ornaments we used to put on the tree when we were younger, but then at work one day I saw a bunch of adorable ornaments and started assembling this candy tree in my head while staring at them! :p All of a sudden I had a plan, I was adding things to my basket and couldn't wait to get home to assemble it all!
Close up! I bought a few mini candy canes, some cute as a button sweet ornaments and gingerbread ornaments. I had the bigger cupcakes from last year that Meme had bought for me and I purchased the adorable cookie tree topper from Michaels too! :)
All lit up! :)
I bought this foam Candy shop kit from Michaels too as I thought it would be perfect next to the tree! :)

My Chuck/Zachary Levi corner is now ready for Christmas!! :p

As this is a very Christmassy blog today I thought I would also include this Blogger Tag that I came across when I was on Bloglovin the other day. I saw this post from 'A beauty junkie in London.' http://beautyjunkielondon.com/2014/11/christmas-tag.html I don't go on Bloglovin very often but I like it every now and again to see if any new blogs catch my eye. This one did and I look forward to checking out more from 'A beauty junkie in London'. I tag +Angela Angeline , +Jasmine Atkinson and anyone who would like to take part! :)

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
I would have to go with 'The Santa Clause' with Tim Allen. I adore Tim Allen and think he is the absolute best. To me he is childhood, as me and my family used to watch 'Home Improvement' together growing up. We watched every single episode and all loved it, so Tim Allen holds so many great memories for me. This film is just so magical and Christmassy and everything you would want in a Christmas movie. I do have to mention 'The Holiday' and 'Elf' as close runners up though. 'The Holiday' makes me feel cozy and I would very much like to live in that cottage and visit the Cotswold's. :)
2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning. :) Always have, always will! Saying that though, last Christmas was the first Christmas that we did things a little differently, as it was the first Christmas I didn't spend at home in England with my family. We spent it in Virginia with my husbands family. Therefore, Chris and I had a mini Christmas day here in Louisville and opened our stockings and a present each around our tree a week before we headed to Virginia. But still ultimately most presents were opened Christmas morning. This year will be different too, as we will be going to England and having a Christmas day early with Kelly and her husband before they leave for Virginia and we will probably open our stockings here again around our tree before we leave for the UK! :)
3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
Honestly, every Christmas for me has been magical. It's been the same since I can remember and I treasure every minute. It's all about family and food. We spend the day cooking and dancing, sitting round the table chatting and eating, pulling crackers and watching in anticipation to see how Grandad is going to wear the hat this time. Then we watch movies and eat dessert, chill and open a few presents. I got to experience new traditions last year and spend it with my huge family in VA and it was cozy and a day filled with lots of love and laughter. I got to shoot an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, thanks to Chris's best friends Cole (they both got each other gifts from 'A Christmas Story') and have my first Christmas as a wife. I have been very blessed. 
4. Favourite festive food?
Mince pies with brandy sauce. Mmm, mmm, mmmmm! :p It's not quite Christmas until you have had a mince pie smothered in Brandy sauce.
5. Favourite Christmas gift?
Last year, from 4000 miles away, my sisters surprised me with bus tickets to New York and tickets to see First Date on Broadway. They got it all sorted and planned in less than two hours when they knew I wouldn't be able to go home for Christmas. The play was incredible and I got to meet Zachary Levi afterwards too. That was very much a dream come true and probably the best Christmas present ever. :p I'm not sure anyone could possibly top Zachary Levi at Christmas time in New York City! :p Read about it here: http://lululocket.blogspot.com/2014/01/i-heart-new-york.html I've had some lovely presents over the years though, from Kitchen Aids to Pajamas, WWE Magazines to teddy bears, to clothes and all things cute. We didn't really grow up writing lists as Mum taught us not to say 'I want', we would just hope we had been good enough and wonder, if we had, what Santa might bring us. As we got older Mum and Dad would ask if there was anything we'd like, but some of my favourite gifts are when Mum just wraps up things in the chocolate cupboard or our favourite Italian treats. :) Ooh I just remembered also, one year when the four of us were very young (I have two sisters and a brother) Mum and Dad experimented being away for Christmas and we went to Florida. I clearly remember the place we stayed and that on Christmas day we each received the same present, a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers annual, the three of us (Jen was a baby) bounced around the apartment with so much joy and happiness I can't even tell you. :)
6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Hmm, I'd have to say I love walking into my Nanna and Grandad's house at Christmas time, there's a mix of the fire blazing and Pandoro in the air, it just smells cozy and warm and Christmassy. Try opening a Panettone or Pandoro, not just at Christmas but anytime of the year, and you will feel like you are in Heaven. :)
7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
We have had the same Christmas day routine for as long as I can remember but I don't think we have any actual traditions. Kelly will have to help me out here if I'm forgetting something. :p
8. What tops your tree?
The tree in my apartment at the moment has a gold star a top it that lights up and my childhood Christmas tree has a white star a top it that has multi-coloured lights around it. We have had that star forever and practically everything on that tree and that tree forever and we wouldn't have it any other way, we adore it. I'm so very excited that this year I will get to see it and sit by it with a good book and show my husband all the decorations we have at home. :)
9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
Like I mentioned above, I really can't remember asking for anything. I'm sure we still wrote lists, in fact I do remember one year sitting round the table writing little notes to Santa and sending them up the chimney, but I have no idea what I would have asked for.
10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

The best part of Christmas for me is family. I love that all the decorating, all the Christmas shopping, all the holiday cheer leads up to a day spent with family. Now I know, every day should be like that and in my case and how close my families are, they often are. We have family days and big meals on most occasions Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, New Year's day, Birthdays and when I'm home we eat dinner round the table together every night, but there's just something so magical about Christmas. The house feels extra cozy, you don't feel guilty watching TV and movies all afternoon, you get to all share thoughtful gifts and get excited about making somebody smile with a little something that made you think of them or that you know they are going to love. For me also, even though it may seem commercial to some, or that I know some people don't celebrate it, I do love how in some ways it brings the whole world together. How on that day everyone is thinking about joy, cheer, hope, dreams, love and family. (I pray and think of those who work or are away from family or that Christmas isn't quite the joyess occasion and hope that someone is there for them or that light is just around the corner.)

It's a bit of a long one today but I hope you all enjoy this very festive post and that you have a wonderful day! :)

Love Lulu xx