Sunday 22 December 2013

The last days to Christmas

The chaos is over, the kids are home from school and hubby is home for two weeks. We can relax, unwind, embrace, cherish, share, laugh, cry, love and be one as a family. We dived into it on Friday night with a meal with very special friends and a beautiful bouquet of gorgeous flowers from the man I love. Not just any flowers, but a very special Protea, South Africa's national flower, sitting amongst the rest of the beauties.

Yesterday afternoon the family all rolled up their sleeves to make our traditional marzipan for the Christmas cake. Everyone chipped in and helped, its become a bit of a tradition and we always use this recipe that is both fool proof and delicious.

There was a little marzipan left over so I had a go at making some chocolates. I simply cut some stem ginger rolled them in marzipan and then dipped them in melted dark chocolate. I also made some plain marzipan in chocolate as an alternative. The end result is surprisingly delicious and definitely much better than seeing this lovely marzipan go to waste.

Today we enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours soaking up the Christmas cheer at the Treacle market and then this evening we joined some friends for the Church carol service, which was wonderful.

Presents are all wrapped and all we have left to do now is to go and watch our Christmas movie, Frozen, prepare the food and spend some time with friends and family, which for me is the best part of Christmas. I so wish Ma and Pa were here with us, its always a time when I really miss them.


I will be taking a little break from blogging over the next few weeks to savour time with my loved ones, but before I sign off I wanted to thank each and everyone who take time out of your busy lives to stop by and read my blog. Thank you to everyone who always leave such wonderful comments, you have truly enriched my life beyond anything I can put into words. The last 11 months have been incredible and I have made some wonderful friends and met some truly grounded and inspirational individuals. You have given me strength on days when I really didn't think I could get out of bed. You gave me hope on days when I felt that life was just a little to hard to contemplate.

I wish each and everyone of you and your families around the world a very magical Christmas filled with laughter, love and joy and may each of you be blessed to have a happy and healthy new year.


Leaving you with a few jokes from little J's advent calendar this year, courtesy of maltersers.
What do you get if you cross a hen with a bedside clock?
An alarm cluck!
Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?
A mince spy!
What do snowmen eat for lunch?
What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?
What do you call just married spiders?
Who delivers cat's Christmas presents?
Santa Paws!
What kin of paper likes music?
Rapping paper!
What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark?
Frost bite!
Why did the golfer wear an extra pair of trousers?
In case he got a hole in one!
Ho Ho Ho!!!
Merry Christmas


Wednesday 18 December 2013

Lavender Salt Scrub and fudge recipes - wonderful last minute gift ideas

Hellooo its only one week till Christmas, and I am not sure whether to jump with joy or just feel completely overwhelmed with all the things that I still want to accomplish before the kids break from School TOMORROW. Fortunately I finally managed to finish my custom order yesterday, phew, and it feels so good to be able to completely focus on the things I need to do around the house. I am mostly there with presents, but still have a few small bits to sort out and this morning it was time to tick another one of the list by making another lavender salt scrub, a lovely gift idea.


A Kilner or Mason jar
2 parts rock salt
1 part lavender
1 part olive oil
mix it all together, yip it really is that simple. If you don't have lavender you could just use lavender essential oil and increase the salt to three parts. A five minute job.

If you are stuck for gifts for a man or someone who might not enjoy body scrub, then use your jars and fill them with fudge. I used this this Nigella recipe for mine.
500g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
100ml evaporated milk
1tsp vanilla extract
20 x16cm tin
Put the sugar butter and evaporated milk into a heavy based saucepan and bring to boil. Boil it gently stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Carry on until the mixture holds its shape in water, which should take around 5-10 minutes. Take pan off the heat and beat in the vanilla extract and keep beating until the mixture thickens up to be almost grainy in texture and then add it to your lined baking tin and allow to cool. This should make around 25 squares.

I will be handing over the teachers gifts today and this year I have filled their little bags with some Christmas Chutney and a bar of home made soap.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my wreath and input into Christmas movies. This week us grown-ups watched The Holiday, which is just such a lovely Christmas Rom Com to watch and next our line up includes the 1994 adaptation of Miracle on 34th street, followed by Polar Express, The snowman, A Christmas Carol and the more recent and magical Arthur Christmas and finally Santa Claus. I think we might struggle to fit any more in, but there are a few going into stockings such as the hilarious Home Alone 1&2 (can't wait to see them again, I think it might be my sixth or seventh time and it cracks me up everytime) and yes it appears we have ventured into the world of Barbie with Barbie Christmas Box Set (definitely a new one for us).
Hope all your preparations are going to plan and that you also find some time just to appreciate the joy and the meaning behind Christmas. I love this gorgeous nativity scene that I picked up from the charity shop a few years ago and I love that the kids play with it every day and ask questions. It is so easy to in today's consumer crazy world to loose sight of the reasons we celebrate Christmas.
Wishing you all a lovely week.
Warm Wishes

Monday 16 December 2013

How to make a Christmas wreath

Every year I forage in the garden and send the doh and kids on a little adventure to bring Mamma some lovely green and Christmassy bits for a wreath. This year there was no shortage of wonderful holly with an abundance of red berries.


So to get started I used some fresh moss that I got from our local garden centre, lay it on top of the metal ring, if you don't have a ring you can just make one out of metal wire.

I used metal sticks to keep the moss in place, you can also use garden wire or string.

Once it is all secure, you can start to add your chosen foliage. I am fortunate that we have quite a few Leylandii trees in our garden, so I usually snip a few of their branches for the base

and then start adding some holly and whatever else you can get your mitts on.

Tie it all together using either garden wire or string and

voila you have one Christmas wreath.

For anyone in warmer climates, some roses or hydrangeas also make a beautiful Christmas wreath.
Here are two sweet pictures I picked up at the Church fair for 50p each.  

We managed to grab some time to indulge in the brilliant Elf, our first Christmas flick of the year, whilst enjoying some warm mince pies. It sure feels like the festive season is in full swing and I am already planning the next flick, oh too many wonderful choices... What is your favourite Christmas movie(s)??
I do hope that you all had a wonderful weekend. I will be back shortly with a recipe for lavender salt scrub.
Warm Wishes

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