Penguin Holiday Market & DIY Hot Chocolate Ornaments

Tuesday, December 6th, I was invited to join Penguin Random House Canada at their Holiday Market, to celebrate the end of another great year.

Let me just say, I love attending events with PRHC. Their team really knows how to create a theme and set the mood. Everything in the office made my heart swell with memories of Christmas traditions. There was a table of gorgeous food, and next to each dish was the book from which the recipe came. I also got to indulge in a glass of rum and eggnog, which is definitely Christmas to me.


The office was beautifully decorated with tons of lights, and a Christmas tree, of course. And everyone loves a good Christmas group photo, so they had a fun photo booth set up. Myself and the other bloggers in attendance all took advantage of the photo booth and came out with a ton of cute group pics!


They had also set up a wheel that you could spin and win a book – and I ended up winning the 2016 Giller Prize-winner, Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, which I’m pretty excited to read!

PRHC always has these wonderful, cute activities at their events, and the holiday market was no exception. This time, they had us create hot chocolate ornaments! So if you’re interested in learning how to make them yourself, take a look:


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What you’ll need:

  • Plastic, transparent ornament
  • Hot chocolate mix
  • Marshmallows, sprinkles, crushed candy cane, any other adornments you like in your hot chocolate
  • Ribbon
  • Funnel
  1. Take the top off of the ornament.
  2. Using a funnel, put a scoop or two of hot chocolate mix into the ornament. Gauge this based on the size of your ornament, but fill it just under halfway. You don’t want it to get too heavy! (Get creative: alternate layers of dark hot chocolate mix and white hot chocolate mix!)
  3. Use the funnel to add any marshmallows, sprinkles, crushed candy cane, etc. Creating a layer of marshmallows really helps to keep the layers separate and looking pretty!
  4. Put the top of the ornament back on. Make sure it’s secure.
  5. Tie the ribbon to the top of the ornament so you can hang it from your tree.

This took honestly two minutes to make, and it’s very cute to give as a gift or party favour!


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Event Recap: Books and Brews Trivia Night with PRHC

Last night, I was invited to spend the evening at Penguin Random House Canada with booksellers, book bloggers, and book lovers of all sorts to test our knowledge about the one passion we all share. Out of a large number of tables, only ours sat the book bloggers, so we decided to embrace it and call ourselves ‘Team Blogwarts’. Before we knew it, we all had a drink in hand and the trivia questions began to fly.


Each table was given a sheet that listed off various categories and had five questions per category. Some of our best ones were ‘Classic Child Lit’, ‘First Line/Last Line’, ‘Great Coverage’, and ‘Tube Food’. Maybe as bloggers, we’re more inclined to the visual categories – things we can post on social media and kids’ books with gorgeous pictures or imagery. And even during the categories we weren’t so good at, the blogger table was filled with laughter as we all made ridiculous guesses at what it could be and poked fun at why we had no idea of the answers.


Above you can see the wonderfully fun ladies that made up Team Blogwarts! It was so nice to be able to get social with my fellow bloggers again and nerd out when our favourite titles came up as answers, or laugh at jokes that were totally unrelated.


Once the points had been tallied and the winners had been selected – everyone got to go to a table and choose a few books to take home with them. A few of these titles I’ve been looking at for a while, so I was grateful to be able to adopt them and add them to my shelf.

The PRHC Books and Brews trivia night was definitely a great time – yummy snacks, beer, lots of books and lots of laughs. I really hope to be part of another event like this one in the future!

Event Recap: #DigitalDetox with Penguin Random House

Last Thursday, January 28, I was invited to join book lovers at the Penguin Random House Canada office to celebrate a month of #DigitalDetox – a campaign the company ran throughout January, encouraging readers to step away from their screens for an hour a day and indulge in books and other creative endeavors.

The event perfectly summed up the entire feel of #DigitalDetox. There were different stations set around the room where guests were encouraged to relax, reflect, and get refreshed with healthy snacks and drinks. The recipes of these nutritious snacks came from the new cookbook Cook. Nourish. Glow by Nutritional Therapist Amelia Freer, who was the special guest in attendance that evening.

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(some of the yummy snacks from Cook. Nourish. Glow. and beverages from Greenhouse Juice Co. available to taste (my favourite was the wake up juice!))

Probably my favourite station was the colouring book table, where friends and fellow book bloggers Christine and Nikki joined me in colouring in a page of the Lost Ocean colouring book. Colouring has definitely been one of my favourite ways to kick back and relax recently, so being able to colour and chat about books with my besties was a great way to detox!

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(Christine enjoying the colouring table, and my awesome jellyfish art!)

Some other relaxing stations included a board where guests were invited to write questions down that they would like answered by Cheryl Strayed, author of Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, and a table where guests could indulge in samples from Butterme Body organic body scrubs.

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(Tiny Beautiful questions and body scrub station)

Overall, the whole event was amazing! I loved sampling all these organic products and reflecting a little bit on who I am and what I want to accomplish this year. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not at all health-conscious – in a terrible way. I do not take care of myself, ever. This #DigitalDetox event, and the campaign in general, has allowed me to reflect on that, and makes me want to step up my self-care game for 2016!


And I have to say, the swag bag we got at the end of the event really helped me move forward with this new “resolution”, as it were. We got copies of Cook. Nourish Glow. (review to come!), a joy journal where you can write down one good thing that happens each day (staying positive is important, and something I need help with), some edible organic treats, as well as some of the Butterme Body scrub, and comfy socks. This event really got me excited to start taking better care of me, and make every month #DigitalDetox month.