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5 Dream Winter Destinations

As everyone knows, winter is such an idyllic time with Christmas vibes running wild and cosy nights in quickly becoming a favourite pastime. This is also the time of year where holiday destinations change from sun seeking to hunting for the perfect winter wonderland. I personally have always wanted to somewhere during winter that is so in tune with Christmas and all of winters wonders, but as life happens to do, time has gotten away from me time and time again. Despite this, I have an internal list of places I would go to that look unreal and beyond Instagram worthy, so I thought why not share these magical places with a few friends.

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Norway
Northern lights are of course the first on my list. We’ve all heard the stories, seen the awe inspiring photos and film representations, imagine what it would be like to experience it for yourself in person. To me, winter is the perfect time to visit. With plenty of snow laden landscapes painting the perfect picture of a true winter wonderland. Frozen lakes, waterfalls and many more provide an epic beauty that has to be seen to be appreciated (hence why I want to go so bad). But it’s also a place of adventure and the perfect destination to try your hand at a snowmobile, cross country skiing and even dog sledding. Luckily for me I am up for all of those things!

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Germany
A city break in Germany during wintertime is arguably when its at its best. Snow always makes things seem more magical but snow on top of beautiful historical architecture is something else entirely. The whole scene is romantic, cultural and historical. As for myself, I find myself attracted to places that are full of culture, history and architecture so this sounds like my ideal destination. Anywhere you go in Germany you will be treated to something the country does best, Christmas markets. Full of mulled wine, Bratwurst and cute themed stalls, Germany is surrounded by Christmas vibes from the beginning to the end of the winter season.

My top place to visit would be Munich, as it is ideal for some sightseeing and culture, with the Munich Residenz, Nymphenburg Palace and many more well known tourist spots.

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Austria
This is another popular winter destination that really ticks all the boxes! With stunning scenery, beautiful architecture and a winter vibe, Austria is full of wonders that fulfills any travellers expectations, so it’s no wonder that it made my list. As a capital city, Vienna does well to provide culture, history, beauty and entertainment. And in wintertime all of this gets exaggerated with wonderful results. Christmas markets can be found in quaint streets, with a variety of drinks, food and trinkets that are sure to get you into the Christmas spirit and make you feel like you’re in a movie.

Now, Hallstatt has been on my bucket list for awhile now and here’s why. It’s likely that the majority of us have seen the Instagram photos, clearly seeming to be photoshopped to idyllic perfection (check out the above image!). But no, this really is Hallstatt. Seriously. There are so many romantic buildings perched on the mountain side overlooking an extraordinary lake. Even if you only go for one night, this is definitely a place to make memories especially being draped in clean white snow with the mountain as a backdrop. Definitely somewhere I have to go sometime soon.

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Lapland, Finland
I couldn’t miss this one out! We actually went as a family when I was younger, around 12 years old and it was one of the best experiences of my life. We mainly went for my younger sisters to see Father Christmas- which even being 12 I can say was cool, but for me it was more of the atmosphere and presence of the places we went that really stood out and made the whole thing amazing. Even though its cold the majority of the time in the UK, this does not mean we see a lot of snow. I can remember bundling up in the blue and red snowsuits they made us wear and crunching through the snow with my moon boots. We only went for a few days but that’s all you really need as we did so much.

It’s strange because sometimes, as I’m looking back I have to try and think really hard if what happened was reality or something I’ve taken form a film. I like to think that we did everything we could do as it’s unlikely any of us would have the chance to go back, which is sad. From dog sledding to ice skating and exploring local villages, it really was a once in a lifetime experience that I don’t feel like I could recreate but I wholeheartedly recommend to any one else who hasn’t been before. And even though I have already been, it will forever be on my list of winter destinations because it truly was magical.

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Russia
Another one on my bucket list. For me, Russia’s beauty is all in its display of history with imperial architecture and cultural nods to the past. But in winter, this is the time when the country truly transforms into a wonderland. St. Petersburg is a hotbed for exquisite buildings and elegant bridges that stretch over frozen canals that glitter around the edges that are lines with winter snow. Yes I’ll admit I’m basing my judgment entirely upon pictures, but look up St. Isaac’s Cathedral and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

 

Has anyone visited any of these places? Where else would you like to go?

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My Weekly Go-To Recipes

As I’ve said in previous posts, recently I have found myself getting more interested in cooking, so I thought I would share with you some of my weekly recipes. Especially seeing as though I’m still a new blogger, I thought this would be a good way to continue the getting-to-know-me process!

Working full time, I like to cook things I enjoy eating that are easy to make and time efficient. After discovering some recipes I enjoy, I tend to adapt them according to what I have in the fridge that day. So for this post I thought it would be cool to share with you some of my favourite recipes I like to make and if any stand out, give them a try and let me know how they turn out! So here are a select few of my weekly meals that I enjoy making on the day or as apart of my meal prep for the week ahead.

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1. Pesto Pasta
A newish recipe I have found this past year that works really well for my work pack lunches. Through routine and repetition, I have found that it makes my week so much easier if I find the time to prep at the weekend. Typically I spend a few hours on a Sunday preparing my work dinners for the week, so that I don’t have to bother after work when I’m tired and just want to be lazy. This recipe came from one of my cookbooks and it is so easy and simple to do that now I have it memorised!

Essentially its pasta, (I use whole wheat) spinach and chicken pieces combined together with red pesto. So simple but so tasty! I love having this for my dinner at work as its filling and different from the usual sandwich. I’m a big fan of cold pasta so this is the perfect meal for my quick dinner at work and takes no time to make, (literally 15-20 minutes).

 

2. Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
This is a meal I prepare if I want to stretch it out and eat the food over a few days. I could eat it twice for tea when I get home and maybe once at work, if I’m in the mood for something different.

Depending on how much mince you cook, you can prepare enough cannelloni to last for at least three meals. Essentially, this meal is made up of mince meat, chopped onions and mushrooms, garlic, spinach and ricotta mixed together and then stuffed into cannelloni pasta tubes ready to be covered with passata sauce. It’s probably the one recipe I’ll mention that takes a lot longer to prepare and cook then all the rest, so if you are interested in this recipe, I’d recommend doing it when you have more time. Taking 45 minutes to cook through, I tend to eat mine on its own but you can add a salad if you enjoy a lighter meal.

 

3. Oaty Chicken
A variation of my old favourite the breaded chicken breast, since trying to eat healthier foods I have chosen to give up the store bought cutlets (which was so hard!) but I have found that if I make them myself they can be just as good-if not better, than the ones I use to buy at Tesco.

This recipe was from a Joe Wicks cookbook and it immediately caught my eye. Honestly it is so simple to make, and smells delicious if you use coconut oil in your pan. All it is is a mixture of rolled oats, ground almonds, paprika, salt and pepper that you dip the chicken into after it has first been coated with flour and then egg. It takes no time at all to cook and goes great with boiled potatoes (or roasts if you’re like me), a few veg or even homemade chips.

Quick tip- if you flatten the chicken before you dip it in the mixture then it won’t take as long to cook in the pan.

 

4. Pancakes
I actually found this recipe on Instagram and it is my weekend breakfast treat I look forward to the most. I was craving pancakes one day and wanted to make some that wouldn’t make me feel too guilty. All I did was search #healthypancakes and here we are!

*Because this recipe has more specific measurements of ingredients than the previous recipes, here is a more detailed list for anyone interested.

½ cup of rolled oats | half a chopped banana | ¼ cup greek yogurt | 1 egg | 1 tsp vanilla extract | 1 tsp baking powder | chocolate chips | 1 tbsp milk (any) if needed

Just throw all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips, into a blender and mix until smooth. Then pour into a bowl, add the chips and cook in a pan until you think they are ready. Personally, I like mine light to golden brown and find I can get two pancakes out of this mixture. You can eat them plain or top with fruit, granola, honey or whatever else you enjoy. So simple and quick, it takes me around 15 minutes to have them prepped, cooked and ready to eat.

So there you go, 4 recipes I typically make in a week!

 

Do you like the sound of any of these recipes? Maybe you have your own you would like to share?