Friday, 13 December 2013

Oh christmas tree oh christmas tree ..

.. how lovely are your branches


After the School Christmas fair last Saturday where the kids saw Santa and we spent a small fortune in record breaking time , we set off to get our tree.

Historically we have always gone to Macclesfield Forest to get our tree, but last year we tried a different place just on the outskirts of the forest where they cut your chosen tree down for you. I really liked this idea as the kids can play hide and seek and there is no tussle with a tree as one of you, usually the doh, have to hold it up to ensure its branches fall just right (not that I am fussy or anything...ahem aka fusspot fanny). Unfortunately this year the selection was quite poor, so we headed for the Forest again and within minutes we found our tree, which I hasten to add is not usually the case. I think the doh sighed a sigh of relief as his love for intimacy with a Spruce has worn a little thin over the years.


This year we had such a laugh wearing our Santa hats and giggling about the decorations and who made what and when. We all sang along to classic Christmas songs and it was just perfect! The kids really got stuck in and I was very proud of myself, as for the first time I didn't try and do a little sneaky rearranging when everyone left the room, oh no my dearies I actually left it heavily decorated on one side and smiled a sigh of admiration at the work carried out by the four beings that maketh our family. Once the last baubles were on it was time to get the precious fairy out of her box. She is so beautiful and I love everything about her. She is delicate and serene, but I have been told by two small gremlins that a star is required for next year, but why??? She is beautiful, surely not!! Do share your views, do you have a star, an angel or a fairy perching on top of your tree??

It has been a really busy week as I have been working non stop on this custom order that is taking a great deal longer than anticipated. It is largely hand embroidery so it's very time consuming as most of you will know and time is ticking. Yes 12 days to Christmas and I am slowly ticking things off my list. I finally managed to get around to making my usual Christmas chutney this week. This has become a bit of a tradition for our family and if I am honest most of our friends and family love and kind of expect it for Christmas.

This is no ordinary chutney, it is Delia's Christmas Chutney, which is made with dried fruit, onions and Christmas spices. I am not a big chutney lover, largely because I don't eat bread, but this chutney is simply delectable and it makes the perfect accompaniment to any meat or cheese at Christmas. I know for us and most of our friends the jar is usually finished by the end of the Christmas week and I have now learnt to make a few extra jars. 

With the help of my little assistants we made this years mincemeat, again chosing Delia's recipe. I have tried quite a few, but for me this one just has those extra special flavours that makes you appreciate the fact that it is home made and just so much better than anything shop bought. To make it gluten free just ensure that you use gluten free suet that you can buy here, and for the pasty I just use my gluten free pastry recipe. Which mincemeat recipe do you use or do you just buy from the shop? I think these days the shop bought ones have definitely improved, but for anyone with gluten  issues, options are fairly limited.


I am almost half way through wrapping presents, but more on that another time where I will share a lovely lavender body scrub recipe with you. This is such a busy time of year and I apologise if I am not getting around to everyone's blogs as quickly as I would like. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, its jam packed with exciting things such as X Factor final and Strictly come dancing, drinks with friends, another Christmas fair and then we have a date as family to sit down and watch the classic movie elf with Will Ferrell, life is busy but good. A big and warm welcome to my new followers I look forward to getting to know you a little better.
Wishing you all a very lovely weekend.
Warm Wishes


  1. Your tree looks so beautiful. I love your ornaments, they're very colorful and the whole thing is very elegant. I love seeing photos of other families doing their tree because it's the same everywhere, isn't it? My two looked just like your two as we decorated our tree two weeks ago. Your chutney and mincemeat sound wonderful. I've never really eaten either one, though I have had store-bought chutney a couple of times in the past, but it's not something I have much experience with. I am sure the recipients will be very appreciative of your delicious and thoughtful gifts.

  2. Dear Hannapat
    Your preparations are going well and your decorations look lovely. We go with a star on top of our tree, but that is because we have three cats, so nothing breakable goes on the tree anyway (this is through bitter experience!). I am way behind with my preparations but will hopefully be able to catch up a bit over the weekend.
    Enjoy your busy weekend.
    Best wishes

  3. Hi Hannapat
    Always an angel, she's nothing special being very homemade but she's just always been the angel that goes on top of the tree and it wouldn't be the same without her. She even had her own little selfie on my blog last week.
    Your tree looks beautiful, exactly as it should be in all its Christmassy 'everyone did a bit' glory.
    Enjoy watching elf, we had our family viewing last weekend and my all my littlies are pretty much all in their twenties now ! Best film ever.
    Have a lovely Christmas,

  4. your christmas tree looks absolutely magical! I think I'm a fairy on the top person, I hope I can find mine! love the chutney idea too, Heather x

  5. Dear Hannapat,

    Your Christmas tree looks beautiful! I especially like those home made Christmas decorations. They are so very sweet :-). I can almost taste the chutney over here ;-) It looks really good in the glass jars. Please don't worry about not being able to pop over to my blog. I am having the same problem :-) Busy, busy, busy....

    Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

  6. Your tree looks gorgeous I much preffer a angel on our tree but last year we had a star but I found the angel another place, it looks like you've been really busy have a wonder weekend sweetie
    Clare x

  7. Oh Hannapat, your tree is gorgeous. I love the childrens handmade decorations and they were the ones I used to treasure the most when my boys were small.My ( now Aussie grandchildren) coloured some balsa wood ornaments last year and they are now on our childrens tree in the hallway. I love a fairy on top of our tree or an angel. I have just finished the last of our present wrapping, only the door wreath now to go (I think-although you always forget something dont you?!). Hopefully I will get that done this weekend when I have had chance to pick the foliage.Have a lovely (if busy) weekend! X

  8. Hello lovely Hannapat! Your tree looks gorgeous! I love all your pretty tree decorations and especially the fairy...she is beautiful. We have a fairy too but I have also been told by my Miss M that we should have a star to top our tree! Must be something in the air! I am really quite disorganised this year! I have not finished my shopping, have done no wrapping and only wrote the cards today! Our tree isn't up yet either! Oh well, it will all get done, it always does in the end! I am so so looking forward to your lavender body scrub recipe, this sounds like something I will love! Have a fantastic weekend.
    Marianne xxx

  9. hello lovely Hannapat, what a glorious post - your tree is perfect and I am going to have a go at your recipe as it looks wonderful. I really enjoyed this post Hannapat and your little peeps have done a first class job of decorating the tree, it looks divine. Big hugs to you Hannapat and hope we can meet up very soon.
    Lots of love as always

  10. Your life sounds busy but is indeed very good. Enjoy these special moments with little ones that are excited about Christmas. Love your beautiful tree.

  11. How wonderful your tree is, and it sounds like a perfect family time you've had decorating it. It's so good to enjoy the special moments, take care Sam x

  12. Hello lovely Hannapat - yes, I've come out of the woodwork to say hello again!!! I so enjoyed reading about your tree choosing and all the other exciting things that you and gorgeous family have been enjoying - everything is looking beautiful and smelling wonderful at your lovely home; such a delightful time for the children, as well as parents! I wish you well with the completion of your order and do enjoy the film together as well as all the other Christmas activities that are lined up and waiting!
    Much love, Joy xoxo

  13. It all looks so exciting!! Such a beautiful tree, yes I have made the chutney in the past and this year I made the mincemeat without the suet altogether !
    warm wishes
    Thea x

  14. Your tree looks beautiful, and everyone did a great job of decorating it - and you did a great jobn of photographing it!! Your angel is beautiful, and she looks lovely on top of your tree. Ours keep jumping off, but I have stuffed her underneaths with paper and she seems to be staying put now! She was the insipiration of the helicopter in my story! Hope that you have a great weekend with your making and preparing. xx

  15. Your tree looks fabulous ... so festive, so sparkly!

    I'm sure we all understand about the difficulty keeping up on the blogging front. Come December it takes a night when I can't sleep, aka tonight, for me to find time to catch up :)

  16. It's such a busy time of year, & a challenge to manage M.E in the midst of it all. After a few too many social events I crashed a bit this week. Hoping for lots of rest before the big day. How are you faring? I love the pretty. I had to laugh at the thought of you re-arranging the decorations. Sounds like something I'd do! The majority of Aussies have plastic trees, but the real deal sounds much more romantic. Thinking of you & hoping you & your family have a blessed Christmas, & improved strength & energy in the year ahead. Love, L. Xx

  17. Oh, Hannapat what a fab post. You quite put me to shame.
    All year long I save jars with the intention of making, but here I sit not having done a thing, shame on me.
    Hugs x

  18. Oh have got SO much done- I stand in awe! I love the tree and I will always vote for the angel for the top. Having said that I have never found one I loved- till this year and now everything is packed and we won't be putting up our tree at home!! PS I live in Constantia but grew up in Durbanville. Where do you hail from?

  19. Your tree is lovely, and I think a tree always looks better when it has been decorated with gay abandon. I really dislike those perfectly symmetrically decorated trees. Boring! I loved looking at some of your ornaments too. I have an eclectic mix on my tree. I have an angel on the top of my tree. It's my Mum's from when she and Dad were still married. It's the first year on the tree. I usually put an angel that Sam made when he was at nursery, but it's far too fragile now unfortunately.
    I have made chutney froma river cottage recipie. It tastes very good. I buy my mincemeat, but may try making my own next year.
    Don't bet youself up about not getting around to blog hopping or commenting. It's a mad time of year for most of us. I'm having a little blog peak this morning in between more baking and general house wifey duties.

    Leanne xx

  20. Such a beautiful post absolute joy to read and your tree and home look gorgeous.
    Hugs Lynn xxxxx

  21. What a gorgeous tree! I'm just the same when it comes to being rather fussy when choosing a tree ;) Today I was making some christmas wreaths and flower decorations from foliage & rose hips in my garden. I'll put some photos on my blog soon. Loving your home made mince meat, I've never tried that myself. Thanks for visiting my Blog. You asked if my "Sleepy Bunny" Pattern would be suitable for kids to make, I'm sure they would enjoy it so much, I kept it simple with children in mind. Just a little guidance, (showing them how to do blanket stitch and running stitch) and they'll have a blast I'm sure. I do have other actual kits for "make your own..." in my Etsy Shop - feel free to ask any questions, always happy to chat. Merry Christmas! Hugs, Catherine x

  22. Your tree looks so beautiful Hannapat! Lovely that the children enjoyed decorating it with you, that makes it more magical! The fairy looks very pretty. You have got a lot done! I need to get a few more things ticked off my list!
    Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.
    Helen x

  23. gorgeous! as I expected! yum chutney too love it at christmas xxx

  24. This all looks so wonderful, from your wonderful tree in your amazing room to that lovely sounding chutney (I bet my other half would eat a jar in about two days) and that homemade mincemeat (I didn't even know it was possible to make it yourself). No wonder you are busy! It sounds like Christmas is just great in your house. xxx

  25. Your tree looks so beautiful and your home is so lovely and cozy! Your kids are the cutest! Thanks for sharing the recipe for the mince meat. I really need to give it a try! Have a fabulous week! xo Heather

  26. Your tree looks really lovely. I bought a new tree topper this year - it's a Santa and looks great. Although we do have a pink tree for the girls so the Angel has gone to live on there. Maybe you could buy a small artificial tree for your two and they could have whatever they want on there? - lots on sale at the moment at the supermarkets. Really like the way you've wrapped the presents - looks very pretty. Your makes and bakes look scrummy as always. X
    p.s. I'm glad Abbey won Strictly!