Tag Archives: Hot Chocolate

Loving Winter’s Chill – The Best Bits of Winter

Winter is the season of warmth and chill –
the warmth of sharing and loving and the chill of blizzards.

loving-winters-chill-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

Night Sky and Scented Candles…
I love it when the clocks go back… Night draws in and the stars twinkle with winter diamonds, and this winter Venus has sparkled like a gem in the sky. Inside, I burn scented candles: Cherry Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry Trifle, Honey Clementine, and the sweet aroma of Macaroon, Apple Strudel, and Snowflake Cookie waft down the stairs from my daughters’ rooms…

night-sky-and-scented-candles-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Frosted Leaves and Winter Trees…
I adore the bling that Jack Frost brings, sifting icing sugar across nature.
Leaves fall from trees, leaving them bare, and swathe the ground in glittered jewels.
Moss, the emerald survivor of the season, carpets the forest floor
and adorns the naked trees, clothing them in winter beauty.

frosted-leaves-and-winter-trees-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Warm Boots, Hats, Gloves, Scarves, and Cosy Blankets…
Don your best boots, wrap a cosy scarf about your neck, pull on a hat, and slip your hands into fleecy gloves – and you’re all set to wander out in the winter wonderland. If that doesn’t entice you, then snuggle down beneath a warm blanket and enjoy the central heating!

winter-boots-hats-gloves-scarves-and-soft-cosy-blankets-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Woodland Walks and Winter Landscapes…
The skies are a mixture of clear and frosty, rainy and dull, and rolling mist and fog,
enjoy those late sunrises and early sunsets and warm up with a walk.

woodland-walks-and-winter-landscapes-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Hot Chocolate and Winter Baking…
Baking takes centre stage with Christmas on the cards
from cookies, cakes, and pastries to hearty soups and winter cuisine.
Enjoy homemade fayre and settle with a steaming mug of creamy hot chocolate…

hot-chocolate-and-winter-baking-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Winter Flowers…
Delicate fairy-bell snowdrops peep through the snow or push through the soil to bring
new growth to the dormant season, accompanied by the beauty of hellebores.
Let winter flowers bring colour and hope.

winter-flowers-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Ruby Red Berries…
Like flowers, red berries, often associated with Christmas, shine bright like rubies, especially against the frost and snow, and they’re great sustenance for birds coping with the cold.

ruby-red-berries-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Christmas Joys…
My favourite holiday season is Christmas; it’s filled with so much joy and so much meaning. There are a multitude of celebrations during winter, all wrapped in lights, warmth, and love.
I love the Christmas cake, decorations, gifts, giving, food, and family time –
a time for peace and goodwill to all…

christmas-joys-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

All That Glitters…
Glitter everywhere – frost, snow, jewellery, stars, Christmas decorations, lights.
December glistens with Christmas sparkle,
and the rest of winter embraces the shimmer of nature
and the crackle of fire in the hearth.

all-that-glitters-the-best-bits-of-winter-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

A Crystalline Carpet of Snow…
When it snows I hurry to my window to watch the fluffy white stuff then rush outside to let it fall around me! That moment when you wake up and look outside and see a blanket of snow sparkling in the early morning sun is pure magic.

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© Lisa Shambrook

How is your Winter and what do you love about it most?

loving-winters-chill-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Check out The Best Bits of Autumn

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The Best Bits of Autumn

Autumn shows us the beauty of letting go and cosying up together…

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Warm Blankets and Snug Sweaters…
Don’t you just love cosying up?

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© Lisa Shambrook

Revitalising Hot Chocolate…
Nothing better than a delicious hot chocolate to warm up an autumn day!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Back to Boots…
I love my boots, Dr Martens and anything I can kick leaves in!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Pumpkins, Halloween, Fire and Fireworks…
Dressing up is definitely our thing, light up the dark nights!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Homecooked Soup and Comfort Food…
Coming home on a frosty day to a beautiful hot meal!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Falling Leaves…
I’m a child at heart, kicking through crunchy leaves and loving the colours!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Woodland Walks and Strolls…
Early sunsets, turning leaves and that freshness keep me on my toes!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Scarves, Hats and Gloves…
Stay warm, snuggle up in your favourite coat and accessories!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Acorns and Conkers…
Yep, I am a squirrel… 

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© Lisa Shambrook

Jack Frost’s Chill…
The thrill of the chill and the delight of breathing dragon smoke is mine! 

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© Lisa Shambrook

How is your Autumn and what’s your favourite bit so far?

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© Lisa Shambrook

Autumn Days Are Here…

Autumn is the time of year when we realise that change is good.
When the cool breeze refreshes and revitalises our senses.
When mortality is evident in the air as leaves fall,
and living becomes full of urgency and passion…

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© Lisa Shambrook

After a very difficult summer and slipping into the grip of depression, autumn is very welcome in my life. It’s the month that recharges my worn batteries and lifts me from doldrums and anxiety.

I dig out my soft, cosy jumpers and relish a hot chocolate on a cold day. Scented candles offer autumn fragrance and leaves fall in red, gold, orange and brown ready for me to kick through! I pull out my favourite hat and scarf, both stolen from my daughter, and delight in the bliss of my beloved leather jacket. Apples, fresh from the tree, and rich purple plums, and pumpkins ready to be carved fill my Halloween, and nothing beats homemade soups and bread to fill the autumn belly.

Tell me – what are you looking forward to most this autumn?

Reasons to Love Autumn…

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
Humbert Wolfe

title-reasons-to-love-autumn-the-last-krystallosAutumn is my most favourite season, closely followed by Winter…
find out why and tell me why you love Autumn too!

Dawn's blush © Lisa Shambrook

Dawn’s blush © Lisa Shambrook

Watching dawn’s sliver of pink spread across the indigo sky…

Autumn's fruit - conkers and acorns © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn’s fruit – conkers and acorns © Lisa Shambrook

Acorns, conkers, horse chestnuts, hazelnuts…
not the actual nuts, but I love acorn cups, shiny conkers and nut shells! 

Ward off the chill © Lisa Shambrook

Ward off the chill © Lisa Shambrook

Hunting out your favourite hats and gloves,
twining soft scarves around your neck and wrapping up in the chill.

Boots... © Lisa Shambrook

Boots… © Lisa Shambrook

Boots…need I say more?

Discover discoveries... © Lisa Shambrook

Discover discoveries… © Lisa Shambrook

Apples are finally in season and our trees offer a
harvest of Discoveries and Worcester,
and then I enjoy my most favourite Russets.

Soft woolly jumpers! © Lisa Shambrook

Soft woolly jumpers! © Lisa Shambrook

Jumpers. I’m Scrooge when it comes to turning on the heating,
so I grab a jumper instead. Find your favourite cable knit and stay warm.

Time to dress up! © Lisa Shambrook

Time to dress up – way back in the year 2000! © Lisa Shambrook

Halloween, the best chance of the year to dress up and have fun!

Don't ever miss a hug... © Lisa Shambrook

Don’t ever miss a hug… © Lisa Shambrook

Cuddles to keep warm, nothing better than cosying up with the ones you love.
Hugs, especially when they last over a minute, make you feel good!
Cuddle on the sofa and enjoy the new season of TV after summer’s screen drought.

Slipping on the leather jacket... gloves, hats and scarves... © Lisa Shambrook

Slipping on the leather jacket… gloves, hats and scarves… © Lisa Shambrook

Jackets, leather ones to be precise…
I live in my leather jacket and love slipping back into it!

Twilight magic... © Lisa Shambrook

Twilight magic… © Lisa Shambrook

Twilight and dusk…I adore being able to stand in the chill of evening and stare up at the stars. Darker evenings give me a sense of adventure and awe.

Hot Chocolate...Mmmm... © Lisa Shambrook

Hot Chocolate…Mmmm… © Lisa Shambrook

Hot Chocolate… hot chocolate with marshmallows (if that’s your thing) and cream,
wrap your hands around a mug and stay warm!

Glitter in the sky! © Lisa Shambrook

Glitter in the sky! © Lisa Shambrook

Fireworks! Watch the sky light up with sparkles of fire on the 5th of November!

Autumn crimson © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn crimson © Lisa Shambrook

Leaves…the turning of the leaves as the trees shed their summer apparel.
The colours of autumn delight, inspire and invigorate me…

Soup and bread... © Lisa Shambrook

Soup and bread… © Lisa Shambrook

Soups and casseroles, and fresh bread. My favourite is butternut squash
seasoned with black pepper and thyme…

Dragon smoke... © Lisa Shambrook

Dragon smoke… © Lisa Shambrook

The enticing hint of frost that makes our breath swirl like dragon smoke!

…and the fact that after Halloween – Christmas is on its way… Yay!

“It was a beautiful bright autumn day, with air like cider
and a sky so blue you could drown in it.”

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

Why do you love Autumn?

Autumn Bliss and my Favourite Hot Chocolate

It was actually September last year that I discovered
my most favourite ever hot chocolate…

I called it chocolate heaven!

autumn-bliss-and-my-favourite-hot-chocolate-the-last-krystallosBekah and I spent a couple of years wandering the streets of Carmarthen trying out all the hot chocolates in town and had fun compiling a ‘Best of’ list, which you can find in the aptly named ‘Hot Chocolate’ in the menu above. We thought we had a winner…then Calon Café and Interiors opened its doors and stole the show. There have possibly been new coffee shops in Carmarthen since, but we haven’t strayed!

Calon Hot Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

Calon Hot Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

As many know I suffer clinical depression and severe anxiety and, you know, chocolate helps.

Chocolate contains chemicals which lift moods. It contains phenylethylamine and tryptophan, which both work as antidepressants by combining with dopamine which is naturally present in your brain, and produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter that creates feelings of happiness.

It also contains anandamide, a chemical found in marijuana, but in tiny amounts, nowhere near enough to get you high! Anandamide was discovered by a scientist in 1992. He named it after the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss.

Sometimes you need chocolate, and don’t worry you can’t get addicted, no matter how much you crave it!

So, sometimes you can and should indulge, and one of my chosen ways is with a thick Spanish hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream…otherwise, I stock up on Lindt Lindor, Galaxy, Green & Blacks Organic Blood Orange Milk Chocolate, or Riesen…and I love Dairy Box if you’re offering!

This is why I love Calon’s Spanish Hot Chocolate…

Just walking into this coffee shop is a delight. Beautifully rustic, yet modern and comfortable, with earthy colours, wooden and metal tables, an eclectic mix of seating, including wooden chairs and leather sofas. A fire roars beneath the menu boards, and you can even buy the decorative wares that decorate the shop! It also offers conservatory seating in the quiet backstreet where it resides.

The hot chocolate is thick and full of flavour. Generously topped with cream, chocolate dusting and marshmallows if you so choose. Great temperature and great value! The chocolate is like velvet, and creamy, and tastes heavenly. Advertised as Spanish and certainly made me a convert to European hot chocolate…

For the taste alone, it comes out top, and is one of the best hot chocolates I’ve had. Absolute heaven!

Calon Cafe and Interiors, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

Calon Cafe and Interiors, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

Go on, you know you want to…and isn’t autumn the perfect time to wrap up warm
and pop out for the perfect hot chocolate?

What are your favourite chocolates?

Autumn Colours…

Autumn is my most favourite time of the year…I adore the colours of the falling leaves, red, gold, bronze, yellow and brown…Showcased beautifully this week at the Preston Temple…gorgeous…

I love the whole season…the coolness of the air, the crisp breeze, stormy gales and the beautiful autumn sunshine. I love the drop in temperature, I much prefer wrapping up warm than stripping off in the heat…much more left to the imagination! I love to don my hat and gloves and wrap the warm scarf I made around my neck. I love to cuddle up on the sofa under a furry fleece and drink hot chocolate with whipped cream…I love conkers, acorn cups and kicking through rustling leaves…
Yes, autumn is definitely the best!