Friday, 14 December 2018

Friday Favourites

It's the final week of Christmas sales in Myth of the Wild - in fact, today is the penultimate deadline! After midnight tonight, the only orders that will be processed before next year and shipped out in time for Christmas are items purchased from the 'Ready To Ship' section, which goes live later today! Free UK shipping will persist until Monday morning, but the 10% off sale ends midnight tonight, as does the offer of free gifts on all orders. So get in quick!

Now I've gotten that out of the way, phew. It has been the worst Christmas my shop has seen, but I have been kept busy and I have done my best to keep my spirits buoyed. All that said, I haven't had a moment to write for a few weeks, so that must be a good sign. I managed to get a few pages of notes written at the hair dresser's, though! Snatch moments where I can, and that was the first time in a week and a half. Otherwise I've been working on restocking the best-sellers, but as sales have suddenly dried up, it feels almost for nothing, even though I know that they will sell, and that I've got stock ready for the new year, which will give me an easier start. Still, it is what it is, and I should be greatful, really!
I have, however, had ample opportunity to watch Christmas movies. Not writing means I can put these things on in the background and avoid working in silence, which I just can't stand unless I'm writing. And my two favourites are Miracle of 34th Street and Arthur Christmas, one of the most underrated Christmas films there is. Also, high-protein hot chocolate designed for having just before bed, thank you, some invisible and oh-so-comfy knickers with festive foil stars, and the best Christmas perfume - I'm not one for perfume at all, but when I bought Lush's Lord of Misrule shower cream and fell in love with the scent...well...I had to. One spritz lasts all day. It's remarkable, and smells just like the cream!

Oh, and also, arm yourself with information this Christmas and check out these two articles from Shape Magazine:
5 Myths About Holiday Weight-Gain
Exactly What to Do When You Overeat, According to Nutritionists
I learned a few things from both of them, and I'll certainly put them into effect and/or keep them in the forefront of my mind, like the fact that fasting and skipping meals because you overate the day before is a no-no, and turning to a high intensity workout the next day won't do much to help offset anything, especially if you're still feeling stuffed, because it's probably just bloating. You just don't put fat on that quickly.




Healthspan 40 Winks protein hot chocolate   ♥   Lord of Misrule perfume
Arthur Christmas   ♥   Victoria's Secret no-show cheekster



Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Christmas Touches - 2018 Details Haul

   What a hectic month. I'm sure pretty much everyone can relate. And I've had Myth of the Wild to contend with on top of that - but my UK order deadline is rapidly approaching, Friday 14th, so come Monday it'll all be over and I can turn my mind onto Christmas. But the harder I work over the weekend, the more I'll appreciate it! The decorations went up this weekend past, which is one of my favourite things. I love to hang fairy lights across the ceiling, and it makes movie night much prettier. Because that's clearly what people want from movie night. Pretty lights.

   I don't usually spend very much on silly indulgences throughout the year - except perhaps on gym leggings - but come Christmas, I'm as daft as anyone else. It's my favourite time of the year, and I want it to be perfect - which, while we're on the matter, is an illusion - so I do tend to let myself get sucked into trends. The very moment I heard that mead was the drink of choice over mulled wine this year, I bought two bottles. And if a favourite product comes out with a Christmas tone, I want it. But I admit that I've been much more sensible this year, aside perhaps from the Warcraft Christmas jumper, but I did sell an old one to justify it! Otherwise, everything I have given into, like mead, I am excited about. Because I'm good all year, and this is my favourite season. And so I present to you my haul of lovely little things to make Christmas that bit more special.


Mead
  

   Being a fantasy writer and history lover, it's not surprising that anything old, traditional or medieval is likely to tickle my fancy, and as mead is the oldest fermented drink, it appealed to me no end. I bought two bottles from English Heritage, banquet mead, which I'm keeping for Christmas dinner, and traditional mead for an evening of board games with the husband. I rarely drink - I generally don't like it at all, but every now and then, on a special occasion, I don't mind, and Christmas I am liable to have about five alcoholic beverages. Five whole glasses. I know, slow down, right? But that means that if I have anything, I want it to be good.
   It should also be noted that my alcohol of choice at Christmas is actually Buck's Fizz. Because I'm not really a grown up at all. And long may it be that way.


S'mores Naked Marshmallows


   Something for our board games and for Christmas morning's hot chocolate. I got myself the Naked Marshmallow advent calendar last year and leapt on it again this year. I love their s'mores marshmallows. They're filled with solid chocolate chips and coated with biscuit crumbs. They. Are. Amazing. So I bought a few boxes for Christmas morning, and another for a tiny gathering.


Personalised Porcelain Bauble


   Every year Seeg and I buy a single bauble, and date it. 'Cause we're cool like that. This year, though, I made it personal, without need for a tiny sticker on the thread. We got engaged last Christmas Eve, and married this past May, making this our first Christmas as a married couple. Albeit our ninth together. It took a while to find what I wanted - I had an idea in mind, but each piece I found were made of plastic and stickers, and it just seemed tacky. Then, finally, I found PeppyCraftsUK on Etsy, and fell in love with the simplicity of the baubles. I was torn between this one and another seller's but settled on Peppy Crafts because it was a great deal less busy and overwhelming. I love it. The quality is excellent, the paint is smooth and solid, and it looks amazing.


Lebkuchen Lindt Lindor


   Another treat for our board games day! I have a fascination with lebkuchen this Christmas - it made it into a porridge just yesterday! And so when I was on the German Lindt website buying up Christmas chocolates, because the German Lindt stores have a much broader selection than the English ones, and I found limited edition Lebkuchen Lindor, I leapt upon that, too. I bought plenty.
   I'm pretty sure most of my money goes on food over Christmas...


Red Dragon Inn


   Everyone needs board games, and even more so at Christmas! I hadn't played board games in years until I met Seeg. Board games are still very much a big thing in The Netherlands, and when we go over there we play loads with his friends and family. It's great fun! My best friend is a board game nut, too, which I somehow never actually knew, and so we get together as a three to nerd out with it from time to time. Red Dragon Inn was Seeg's discovery. We've played it once for about three hours (a single game can last about 20-30 minutes) and it was awesome. It's ultimately just a drinking game in card form, where you play the part of some fantasy character or other and try to prevent your fortitude level and alcohol level from overlapping. If they overlap, you're drunk and you're out. It's awesome, and so simple. And you have to read the cards' lines as the characters would speak them. We opted for RDI2 for characters' sake. Dimli the Dwarf is my favourite. But I love dwarfs. It's a well-known fact. I do not like elves. Each Red Dragon Inn works the same, they just involve different characters and they can be combined.



Grenade Gingerbread Carb Killa Bars


   A healthier option when hunger strikes at Christmastime. When Grenade brought out their gingerbread Carb Killa bars, I stocked up and fast. They're not as spiced as I'd have liked, but they're delicious all the same. Guilt-free chocolate bars for the days when my protein intake isn't as high as it should be - which is around 0.75g of protein per lb of body weight if you're trying to build muscle, not the convenient and mythological 1g per lb. But that's a matter for another time. They're low in sugar, too, opting instead for polyols which are safe, and so are low-carb. Not something I opt for anymore, and I'm glad of it, I have so much more energy since I put carbs back on the menu, but at this time of year, when there are lots of sweets and pies and whatnot on offer and it's easy to get too much sugar while your protein levels drop, it's smart to have these on hand.


Tolkien Letters From Father Christmas

   I always wake up far too early on Christmas morning. Around 5am. I did say that I've never grown up. And I love to read in bed, but while I'm usually at that around 8am, there's a bit of a difference in natural light level. I can't turn on the light or I'll wake Seeg, as much as I want to, and it's much too dark to open the curtains a crack and read. It's hopeless. And so I'm very glad I bought a Kindle a few years ago. It's barely used, but it does mean I can read on Christmas morning underneath the covers. Like a 10 year old. And this year, after seeing it on the Bodleian Library website regarding the Tolkien exhibit we were much too late to discover, I got it on the Kindle specially. I just have to remember to charge it and update it the weekend before. What a disappointment it will be to forget...


Is there anything you've bought this year to make your Christmas that little bit more special? A food? A family activity? Perhaps it's something you've planned like a surprise outing or visit! Please do share, I'd genuinely love to know all about it!



Monday, 10 December 2018

Lebkuchen Porridge

   It's the laaaast weeeek! A week today, that will be it. Myth of the Wild will be closed for Christmas and I can start enjoying the season like the child I am. Lots of chocolate, stupid movies, loud music and jumping. I love it. So. Much. Not that I don't enjoy running my shop over this season - it is a stress, but to be honest, I love hearing from happy customers, and I seriously love the sensation of lying down after working until 11pm every night, and especially putting the hard work behind me after my final post run. I always buy a seasonal bubble bar and bath bomb from Lush and pencil in a long and lazy soak in the bath after lunch that day. It is awesome. It's also during that week - or that Monday to Thursday - that I do all my Christmas wrapping which, as always, involves a hot chocolate and a box of chocolates with a Christmas film, all the Christmas lights on and singing rather spasmodically to make my mum laugh. Since her operation - which I have yet to mention, I think - she's been in an understandably much better mood and is finally smiling and laughing again. I'm hoping to get out to dinner with my best friend and have a games day, and perhaps play some video games myself. I've just got to Skellige in The Witcher, and I never did finish Mass Effect 2.

   Otherwise, there is still one week for Christmas orders in the UK, and with the end so close in sight, I'm actually finding myself quite enthusiastic to keep working and work hard up until that point. So I invite you to browse! There's a flash 10% off, and free UK delivery until the 17th. Order deadlines are:
- book flowers & custom koroks: Wednesday 12th December
- animal & wildlife jars: Friday 14th December
- 'ready-to-ship' section: Monday 17th December at 7am
   The 'ready-to-ship' section will be created on the 14th and will contain only products and stock levels that have been made ahead of time and are ready to ship, and will contain the remaining left-overs from my gallery exhibit, too, like wolves, cheetah and deer, assuming I still have any left. And a few book flowers in the most popular titles, like Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice.


   For now, though, it's breakfast time, and I bring you this year's seasonal favourite: lebkuchen porridge. A simple porridge with spice, honey which is used in almost every lebkuchen recipe, and optional fruit. Apricot is most commonly used, but pear works well too and isn't as sweet or strong, so brings out the spices a little more.
   I've written the recipe with skimmed milk, but, honestly, whole milk is best here because it gives such a creamy texture, and that texture combined with the gentle sweetness of the honey and the tickle of the spices makes such a luxurious bowl. Yes, porridge really can be luxurious.

Ingredients
Serves 1
30g rolled oats
20g whey protein
1 tsp lebkuchen spice (see notes)
100ml skimmed milk
100ml water
10g honey
5g chestnut flour for garnish
Optional 1 pear


Method
If you're using a pear, peel and chop it, and set it in a pan with 2 tbsp hot water and simmer for 10-15 minutes, then mash with a fork. Do not drain. If you're making overnight oats, this can be done either the night before with the oats, or it can be done the next morning while warming. It makes little difference.

Overnight Oats
1. Combine oats, whey and spice in a bowl (or shaker bottle) and, stirring all the while, add 100ml milk (or shake and transfer into a bowl).

2. Set in the fridge overnight. If you'd like it warm the next morning, add your warm mashed pear and whatever water is left into the cold porridge mix, then heat in the microwave for 1 minute, stir, then 20-30 second bursts until desired consistency is reached. Add more water if necessary. Move on to step 4 below.

Oats on the Hob
1. Boil 100ml water.

2. Thoroughly combine oats, whey and spice in a pan. Then, stirring all the while, add the milk and then the boiled water, then bring to a boil over medium heat.

3. Add the warm mashed pear and its remaining water if using and reduce to a simmer on the lowest heat. Allow to thicken for 15-20 minutes, until desired consistency is reached, stirring to prevent sticking and burning.

4. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 10g honey.

5. Set a snowflake stencil over the top of the porridge and sieve 5g chestnut flour over the top. Carefully remove the stencil and serve.


Notes
• I used Pulsin premium whey
• I used Steenberg's lebkuchen spice mix
• Make your own lebkuchen spice: 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise, 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
• I used Rowse wildflower honey
• I used Amisa chestnut flour
• I made a paper stencil and cut long tabs into the straight edges on 4 sides, folded them along that line so they didn't intrude in the shape and used them to lift it away.


Nutrition
Without pear
260 cals, 2.5g fat (0,5g sat), 31.5g carbs (5.5g sugar, 8g honey sugar), 2.5g fibre, 25g protein
1 pear (152g) adds:
85 cals, 15g carbs (14g sugar), 4.5g fibre, 0.5g protein




Friday, 7 December 2018

Friday Favourites

[[Flash 10% off, free UK shipping and free gifts while stocks last! Shop Myth of the Wild while you can!]]

This week has been busy, but so good. I've been keeping on top of Christmas sales for the first time in years, and while I've got no chance at all of getting this book finished by the end of the year, I have been able to snatch an hour here and there to make notes, which will make the job a lot easier when I come back to it at the end of the month! Staying on top of sales is hugely rewarding, and while I'm working until 11pm most nights, I've grown to truly appreciate going to bed. Lying down is so nice.

Seeg and I went out with my best friend this week, we took a trip to Glastonbury Abbey, which was awesome, and made a little stop-over in Clark's Village to finally try a Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate from their cafe. Below is mine on the left and Seeg's on the right. We felt sick afterwards, but still waddled up to the Lindt shop and bought 500g of Lindor pick and mix... It can't be helped, we're fatties at heart. It's why we work out so much.
I'm also a little bit gutted, to be honest. I bought the greench jumper too late! It came out last year, I let it pass by, but decided eventually that I wanted it. When it returned this year I fell in love with it. And I delayed. I snapped it up on sale on December 1st, but there was a warning that it wouldn't arrive in time for Christmas. The notice has been updated, and now says orders placed after the 26th November won't arrive in time. I'm crossing my fingers all the same, but hell.




Warcraft Greench jumper   ♥   Hotel Chocolat hot chocolates at Clark's Village



Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Etsy Christmas Order Deadlines

Juuuust a quick update: it is now too late for overseas orders from Myth Of The Wild to arrive safely in time for Christmas.
My deadlines are laid out based on personal experience since 2011, and while it is possible that things could arrive when ordered after the below deadlines, I really wouldn't bank on it.

❅ Worldwide Christmas Order Deadlines ❅
Aus & NZ - 23rd November
US, Canada & EU - 30th November, 1pm
UK book flowers - 12th December
UK jars - 14th December
UK ready-to-ship category - 17th December, 7am

The 'ready-to-ship' category will be visible in my shop on the 15th and will contain all the listings and quantities that are presently available and made ahead of time. They will be a mixture of jars and of book flowers, mostly necklaces, in various titles. These will be, as the name suggests, ready to ship, and therefore any purchases made from this category will be shipped out on my last post run.

My final post run of the year will be midday on the 17th, therefore UK orders placed after these dates very likely won't arrive as there's no wiggle room for later posting.
Please note that standard shipping is not tracked - if you'd like tracking, please select it from the drop-down menu in your basket/during checkout. Please also note that tracking/signed for does not mean it will be posted any faster, nor will it move any quicker once it has left my possession.