Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve Traditions

Everyone has different traditions and celebrates in different ways, but for me Christmas Eve is all about wearing a Christmas jumper, watching Christmas movies and baking cakes, ready for Christmas Day. Every year I bake a two carrot cakes - one I gift to my in-laws and the other I keep for my family on Christmas day! As well as making two carrot cakes I also like to make another cake, pastry. This year I chose to make miniature banoffee pies.

How do you celebrate Christmas Eve? I'd love to hear what you get up to in the comments!

I will be taking a break from blogging over this Christmas period and will be returning on 4th January 2016! So in the mean time I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

My Favoruite Christmas Movies







1. Bad Santa
2. Elf
3. The Grinch That Stole Christmas
4. The Santa Clause
5. The Santa Caluse 2
6. The Santa Clause 3: Escape The Clause
7.Fred Claus
8. Muppets Christmas Carol
9. The Nativity
10. Father Christmas
11. The Snowman
12. Snowman & the snow dog
13. Polar express
 
 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas At Chatsworth With Mr Toad


Last week I visited Chatsworth House, as they have transformed the downstairs of the house into Toad Hall, from the classic tale The Wind in the Willows. As you journey through Chatsworth house you share the adventures of Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger as they celebrate Christmas! With Christmas just around the corner it's the perfect activity to get you into the real Christmas sprit! - If your reading this blog and you are thinking you'd like to visit don't panic it's on until 3rd January 2016 just log on to their website to book your timed tickets!


As soon as we entered the house, we were in complete awe of the utterly amazing decorations and there were SO many beautifully decorated Christmas tree's around the house.


As we wondered around the house, we were advised by the Chatsworth staff to keep an eye out for the small toy badgers which were hiding around the house. Everyone joined in looking for them, both children and adults alike!



 As the toad hall theme took us around the house we were eventually lead upstairs to a bedroom where Mr Toad was in bed sleeping and snoring! It was very well done and you could even see him breathing beneath the covers!

I have visited Chatsworth house once before, but I have never been at Christmas before when they have done a theme and it absolutely took our breath away as we fully submerged ourselves into the hall! I know in pervious years Chatsworth have done, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Alice in Wonderland as Christmas themes and I was so taken away this year by there amazing sets, prop's and decorations I defiantly want to attend next year to see their Christmas theme, and it may even possibly turn into a Christmas tradition!

On the way out of "Toad Hall" you enter the orangery where the gift shop is. The gift shop gives you the opportunity to purchase some Wind in the Willows goodies, along with Chatsworth merchandise, jewellery, books ect.

Once we left the orangery to the right there was a small pop up cafe, so we went inside for some sandwiches and a hot chocolate!

We then had a short walk around the gardens, as it was a little cold and raining outside. We then headed up the stable yard and had a look around their larger gift shop before heading back to the car. Once in the car we decided to drive a mile up the road and visited the Chatsworth House Farm Shop. Last time we visited Chatsworth we really wanted to go but didn't have the time, so this time we made sure to shop off! Honestly, it was amazing there too the shop sold everything you can think of so naturally we left with a number of items including, organic vegetables, goat's cheese, fresh bread and various other nibbles.

So we had an amazing day at Chatsworth and absolutely loved the Mr Toad Christmas experience, and as previously said we'll definitely be making a trip to Chatsworth House next year for their Christmas!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

DIY - Christmas Potpourri



At this time of year garden centres are filled with the amazing smell of CHRISTMAS which comes from the AMAZING smelling potpourri, however it can be a little on the pricey side! So I have created a way to make your own at home!

The most important thing to remember when making potpourri is the appeal not only lies in its pleasant scent but also the array of colours and textures it holds. Potpourri can really brighten up a table placed in a pretty bowl, and it also makes a pretty seasonal gift for family and friends.



Here's what I put in mine;
·      Dried orange slices
·      Dried apple slices
·      Whole nuts (with shells)
·      Cinnamon sticks
·      Whole cloves
·      Juniper berries
·      Dried rosehips
·      Bay leaves
·      Pine Cones
·         Essential oils - clove, cinnamon, orange, pine and cedar wood are all great together!


When putting it all together I just eyeball it, adding lots of bigger items such as pine cones, cinnamon sticks and the dried fruit slices and then I add small handfuls of the smaller items to add more texture and colour - cloves, berries, nuts, and bay leaves to add a bit of greenery. I put all of this into a jar and then sprinkle over the essential oils until I get the scent I want, each time after adding oil I gently stake the jar so that the oil spreads throughout. Once happy with the smell of the potpourri it's ready to place into a bowl as a table centre piece or package up as a gift!

 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Drying Oranges For Christmas




  1. Carefully slice your oranges width ways, allowing up to around 1cm in width for each slice.
  2. Take each slice and place it onto a paper towel and then place another paper towel on top to soak up any juices.
  3.   Remove the paper towel after 10 minuets and repeat the process putting the oranges between clean paper towel sheets.
  4. You’re then ready to get baking! Place your oranges slices on a tray and place in the oven on it's lowest setting - around 70 degrees C and leave in the oven to dry out for around 3-4 hours, turning with a spatula every hour to make sure that the orange slices completely dry out on both sides.
  5. Remove your slices from the oven and leave to cool. Don’t worry if they feel a bit tacky at first, they will soon dry out.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Mulled Apple Juice


 
As the weather in the UK has started to get cold and chilly in the lead up to Christmas there's nothing better than a hot beverage to warm you up... but why not warm up and be festive? As someone who doesn't drink alcohol I have created this perfect none alcoholic "mulled cider" using apple juice in place of cider... or if you prefer you can do exactly the same using non-alcoholic cider or cider it's entirely up to you! So there is my perfect mulled apple juice.

Ingredients
Apple juice
Sliced oranges
Cinnamon sticks
Cloves
Honey and sugar to taste

Method
Add all the ingredients to a pan and allow to simmer for 5- 10 minuets until all the flavours of the ingredients have infused together with the apple juice, then sweeten to your liking with honey and sugar.

When it comes to serving the hot mulled apple juice a classic mug or cup works just fine, but I like to use a apple with the top chopped off and then hollowed out as the cup and like to garnish the drink with a fresh cinnamon stick and a star anise. This is really simple to do but I think it really adds something to the drink and gives it a modern rustic look. Also once you've finished drinking your mulled apple juice you can even eat the apple cup afterwards - Heston Blumenthal, watch out ;)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

DIY - Felt Christmas Tree Decorations

 


If you want to make something unique and cute for your Christmas tree in the lead up to Christmas, then try making felt Christmas tree decorations. They are super easy to make and you can design or make anything you want and they always look lovely on the tree! It's also a very family friendly activity so if you have children you can even get them involved in making them too as you can either sew the felt pieces together or glue them together using PVA glue. As you can see I have included photo's of some felt decorations I have made to give you some inspiration!


 If you decided to have a go at making some felt decorations I'd love to see photo's of your creations on my social media - Facebook, Google + or in the comments section below this blog post! GET CRAFTING!


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Hello DECEMBER!



DECEMBER is by far one of my most favourite months of the year!

I absolutely LOVE all the December festivities leading up to Christmas! I also really enjoy buying people presents, wrapping them up all pretty and then seeing the joy on my loved ones faces when they open them on Christmas morning!

In the lead up to Christmas I'm going to try and post as many Christmas related post's as I possibly can, along with some DIY's!

so are you all as excited for Christmas as me?