Blenheim Palace Illuminated Christmas Lights Trail

I love Blenheim Palace! It is one of my favourite places to visit so I’ve been several times at different times throughout the year. It is such a vast place I still haven’t got round to seeing everything!

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When I heard they were doing an illuminated Christmas Lights Trail this year I just had to go! By the time I had got around to booking tickets I could only get the latest entry time (8:00pm) on a Sunday evening but knew it would be worth doing!

There is a Christmas market on at the same time and lots for the kids to do including carousel rides and the Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Palace Experience.

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When we got there it was almost time for our 8pm time slot but we were stunned at how busy it still was! Despite pre-booking a time slot we still had quite a wait in the queue which was a bit disappointing, especially as it was a bit too cold to just be standing around! Still, at least it wasn’t raining!

Along the lights trail you will encounter a gingerbread house; complete with music and light show;

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Stunning “running water” lights;

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Beautiful red glowing poppies hanging from stunning woodland trees (the photos don’t do these justice!)

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Light arches and displays on the water;

Glowing bridges, waterfalls and snowflake lights;

An absolutely stunning light tunnel (my favourite of the whole trail);

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There are lots and lots of other things to see as well, but for the grand finale – the palace shows off an incredible music and light show!

Believe me when I say that photos really do not do it justice, it is breathtaking!

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Tickets were £16 per adult however the parking situation did annoy me slightly as you have to pre-book and pay for on-site parking for this event. I don’t think this was made particularly clear when I was booking it and as the car parking on site had sold out, it wasn’t showing as being available to include as part of my order. It was only once I had paid for two non-refundable tickets and received a “need to know” email from Blenheim Palace that I had to make other car parking arrangements.

I couldn’t get on site parking and the nearby park and ride car park had also sold out so I was really grateful when hubby offered to drive Mum and I to the event and to even wait for us nearby whilst we went around the trail! The event itself was wonderful but this drama beforehand did make things a bit stressful!

Still, I would definitely go back again and thought it was well worth the cost of the ticket! It certainly made me feel very festive!

London at Christmas Time

My Sister, my Mum and I visit London every December to get into the Christmas spirit and god did London put on a show this year! Everywhere was adorned with stunning oversized Christmas trees and decorations and lights – it really was breathtaking!

Here are some of the incredible sights we came across during our travels around the city;

First stop after getting off the coach was (and always will be!) Dominique Ansel’s for breakfast and some of their sweet treats! As usual they didn’t disappoint!

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The outside and inside decorations have been updated to a beautiful white theme, a stark contrast to its last theme which was Halloween/Autumnal colours.

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I had my usual turkey croque monsieur and tried this incredible chocolate Pinecone. Inside was a gingerbread flavoured mousse and biscuit base! Amazing!

I also tried Dominique Ansel’s cinnamon roll latte which had a toasted marshmallow on top and tasted incredible!

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Other Dominique Ansel treats looked pretty spectacular too!

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I also couldn’t resist buying a box of Christmas morning cereal – I can’t wait to try this!

Second stop was Peggy Porschen’s – I can’t visit London now without buying a box of their amazing cupcakes to bring home with me!

Along the road from Peggy’s was Les Senteurs – how amazing are these oversized baubles which appear outside?!

The flower shop next to Les Senteurs is called Moyses Stevens and has the most beautiful bouquet and flower arrangements I’ve seen. The ceiling is also adorned with flowers and so it is well worth a visit!

I would highly recommend a visit to Somerset House if you have the chance – they have a huge beautiful Christmas tree outside the front and if you have the time you can also go ice skating here too!

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Our next stop was Covent Garden, I can’t believe out of all the times I have visited London I have never visited here! It is a stunning place and the festive decorations were out in full force! I loved the giant mistletoe pieces which were hanging from the ceiling and the giant reindeer, giant Christmas tree and decorated car were stunning to look at too!

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We’ve walked past Fortnum and Mason so many times but have never actually ventured inside! Can you believe it?? It is like a tardis when you go inside – I can’t believe how big it is!

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Such a beautiful place with so many festive goodies on sale – how great do their cupcakes look??

Claridges currently has a lovely Christmas display outside! I love stars! I should have ventured inside though because they have a display called a love tree inside! Instagram it and you will see what I mean!

The Ivy restaurant looked beautiful….

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Oxford Street never disappoints at Christmas time!

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And neither did Harrods…

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And if you only visit one place this festive season to see the decorations, it has to be Annabel’s! I could take a million photos of this festive display and it still would not do it justice! It is incredible!

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and if all of that isn’t enough, we even came across a Christmas sheep on our travels!

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Lush Bomb Bomb Bath Bombs

The Lush Christmas range is absolutely HUGE this year! I had to split it over four days of Blogmas last year so I’ve done something similar this year!

As part of the range they have a new type of bath bomb called a “Bomb Bomb” Bath Bomb. They are named this way because they actually comprise of two bath bombs in one and so promise you double the bath time fun!

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You can get the Bomb Bomb Bath Bombs in Snowman, Santa and Princess versions!

As I always do with the Christmas range, I ordered one of each to try them out. I just admit I did feel a bit stung by the £9.99 price tag for each Bomb Bomb but didn’t think much more of it, seeing as you are getting two bath bombs in one.

 

The Santa Bomb Bomb was the first one I used, I was looking forward to using him as I expected him to be quite a spicy, festive scented bath bomb. I was really surprised when I looked at the list of ingredients and saw that it contained bergamot oil, vanilla absolute and cocoa absolute! The website says it is a strawberries and cream type fragrance, but I really didn’t detect this scent. In fact, despite the fact there were two bath bombs in one, I found the scent to be extremely faint and almost non-existent! I’m wondering if anyone else found this?

 

The second thing I was rather disappointed about was that, again, despite the fact that there were two bath bombs in the water, I didn’t find the water to be particularly moisturising…

Not a good start with this new product I’m afraid! I keep thinking I could have bought nearly three other bath bombs from the Christmas range in exchange for this one…

 

I had higher hopes for the Snowman Bomb Bomb because it had a much stronger scent than the other two. Probably not very surprising, but Snowman Bomb Bomb has a refreshing minty scent due to its spearmint oil ingredient.

I enjoyed using the Snowman Bomb Bomb far more than the Santa Bomb Bomb and I’m not actually a huge fan of minty scents.

 

Although I quite enjoyed using it, would I use Snowman Bomb Bomb again? Due to the £9.99 price tag, I doubt it very much I am afraid! I really just don’t think the product is worth the price tag, especially in view of the fact that last year Lush was selling Giant Golden Wonder Bath Bombs for £12 each – and they were absolutely incredible!

 

The third and final Bomb Bomb of the collection is the Princess Bomb Bomb. Please don’t be put off by my pictures – the Princess Bomb Bomb doesn’t normally look like this but mine was absolutely battered when it arrived in the post! Her face was all crumbled and her little crown had fallen off!

Princess Bomb Bomb is very different from the other two scent wise as it contains ylang ylang oil for sweetness, cedar wood oil which is toning and balancing, benzoin resinoid which is an anti inflammatory, and bergamot oil which is really uplifting.

Although I found the Princess scent to be stronger than Santa, I was still really disappointed at how weak all the scents were considering the size and price of the Bomb Bombs.

Again I also couldn’t understand how such big Bath Bombs weren’t making the bath water particularly moisturising and weren’t leaving my skin anywhere near as soft as some of the other bath bombs from both the Christmas and regular ranges.

I’m pleased I tried them as I always look forward to trying new products from Lush, particularly the Christmas range, but I’m afraid I won’t be purchasing any more of the Christmas Bomb Bomb Bath Bombs! Such a shame….I don’t think we have seen the last of this design though!

Naked Marshmallow Snowman Kits

I’ve been ordering from the Naked Marshmallow Company for a couple of years now, I particularly like their Toasting Marshmallow Kits which are always a real hit at parties and when I’ve given them as gifts.

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Last year I bought a couple of their Marshmallow Snowman kits and I promised myself if they released them again this year then I would grab myself some more!

The kits come in a little cardboard gift box and contain flakes of chocolate which you can pour into hot milk to make a lovely hot chocolate drink, a mini whisk to stir the flakes into the milk, and two delicious marshmallow snowmen to place on top of your hot chocolate to melt slowly.

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I never used to be a fan of marshmallows until I tried Naked Marshmallows, I promise you once you have tried them you will never go back to buying cheap supermarket marshmallows!

I love to use my snowmen marshmallows in white hot chocolate to give that overall “melted snowman” look, but as it is a vanilla marshmallow it will go with any flavour hot chocolate you choose.

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You can order your snowman kits directly from The Naked Marshmallow company or I found them a couple of weeks back lurking in the Selfridges food hall!

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Seriously, if you get the chance – grab some whilst you can! If the £8.95 price tag is putting you off a bit then you could risk waiting for their post Christmas sale! I managed to get a couple of kits in the sale last year!

Christmas at the Bush Inn

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Hopefully you have already read my post about The Bush Inn and their famous picnic benches! I’ve been four times this year and am already booked to go for a fifth time!

As soon as I had been for the first time back in March for one of the Spring benches, I knew I would have to come back for the Christmas edition! Needless to say, it didn’t disappoint! Here’s what they were serving for this years Christmas picnic bench;

Turkey and Stuffing roll – (hint – the Pig in Blanket is served in a little pot of gravy – pour the left over gravy into your turkey roll, delicious!)

Potato Wedges – lovely and crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle!

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Pig in Blanket in a little pot of gravy;

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Deep Fried Brie with Cranberry – I love cheese and it doesn’t get any better than when it is deep fried!

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And for the sweets section we had;

Home made Mince Pie – Home made ones are the best!

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Christmas Tree Brownie – such a simple but effective idea – i will have to try making these at home!

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a Home made Gingerbread Man and a Satsuma – you can’t beat home made gingerbread! Plus you need a bit of fruit to level things out!

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A Christmas Trifle – trifle isn’t a favourite of mine but this was lovely

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Home Made Churros with a Toffee Sauce and a White chocolate Rocky Road Reindeer 

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and a lovely mini Hot Chocolate complete with marshmallows!

and a little bottle of cranberry juice to wash it all down with!

Another lovely trip here, I’ve never been disappointed! And for £17.50 per person I think the price is an absolute bargain! If you want to check them out then here is their Facebook page – you can only book the picnic benches by contacting them by telephone but be quick – the picnic benches get booked up really, really quickly!

I can’t wait for our next visit in a couple of weeks!