It’s a Christmas Post!

Luna with the big man himself

It may have escaped your attention but I LOVE Christmas, it’s just so magical. I love Christmas lights twinkling on a cold December night, I love having an excuse to eat crap and drink wine because it’s considered festive, and I love the fact that it pulls the family together.

As an adult I’ve always fully embraced Christmas but Christmas morning isn’t quite the same as an adult from when you were a kid. However now I’m a mum and it’s so exciting, last year Maisie didn’t really get Christmas, she was 11 months old and although she loved having presents it was all a bit confusing really and I was pregnant and a bit bleugh.

Admiring the Christmas train

This year however; Muj is loving the advent calendar, she’s loving all the talk of Santa, his Reindeer, Christmas morning and I am SOOOOO excited. I know she obviously still doesn’t quite get it, but she’s into it and I can’t wait for her to experience Christmas, not just the presents because honestly I could give her a carrier bag and she would be pleased, but all of it, getting together Christmas morning to see Santa has been, spending Christmas day together with family and having Christmas dinner together, pulling a cracker and playing games, I love it and she loves nothing more than being with her family.  I’ve kind of accepted Luna will probably be a bit overwhelmed by it all and mainly be interested in the wrapping paper than presents, but I’m excited for her to join us for some Christmas dinner now we’re weaning her, and I know she will get excited by seeing her sister excited too.

Fa-la-la-la-la La-la-la-la

I won’t lie, having spent the last two Christmas’s pregnant I will be happy to be able to raise a toast this year too! I will also be raising an extra special toast to the fact that that bastard elf Sprinkles is gone. I will also be making the most of John being off too, as with his job having Christmas off is not guaranteed and we’ve been so lucky that he’s had annual leave this year to be with us.

One thing that has changed though, part of me is looking forward to the decorations coming down, not because I don’t like them, I love them but, our home is cosy with the four of us, a dog and all the kids paraphernalia. Throw in a big Christmas tree and other decs and it all becomes extremely cosy, we haven’t any room for the clothes horse so it’s in the playroom (conservatory) where clothes take forever to dry which means mount washmore never goes down in size. I also look forward to not having to shout “LOOK WITH YOUR EYES” everywhere we go because everywhere and everyone has Christmas decs out and Muj is like a moth to the flame with them, except she isn’t as light as a moth and is 10,000 times more clumsy and strong.
The final thing is all the toys! I’m not ungrateful at all, it’s lovely that so many people want to spoil our girls, it’s touching but finding space for them all gives me palpitations, Luna is still using all the baby stuff Maisie has outgrown so it’s not like I can chuck that out to make room either. I won’t lie, I get so excited about the day the play mat and the jumperoo go, the day we sold her swing was fantastic, we had nearly 1 metre of floor space back!

Probably the closest we’ll get to a Christmas family photo

So there it is, my post on Christmas. I’m going to try my best to stay away from the blog on Xmas eve/day/boxing day to focus on the family, though I’m sure there will be the odd post on social networks.

So I want to wish every single one of you a fantastic Christmas, however you celebrate, I’m embracing the chaos, and the wine! Merry Christmas Lovelies!

DIY Christmas Potpourri

If you follow me on social media you may be working out that I am somewhat of a fanatic of Christmas, I love all things related to Christmas, I’ve been loving some of the Christmas potpourri in garden centres at the moment but the cost in most is crazy. So I’ve made my own, I’ll be honest I will mainly be using this for a garland (to keep out of reach from small grabby hands) and I will chuck some cinnamon sticks in too, so apologies for the slapdash arrangement. I’d love to see photo’s of anyone that completes this.

My little helper displaying pine-cones in bags

There’s two main parts to this potpourri, pine-cones and orange slices, so lets start with the easier one, pine-cones!

Collect, treat and bake pine-cones so they are nicely opened (info on this can be found in the Christmas wreath tutorial). Once cooled pop in a ziploc bag with a few drops of your favourite Christmas essential oil. leave to infuse for at least a few days. If like me you do not own any Christmas essential oil, you can buy some cheap online and it’s still cheaper than buying one pot of the scented pine-cones in shops and it’ll last for ages!

Orange Slices

The orange slices are a bit trickier, slice oranges a few millimetres thickness, place on kitchen roll and gently try and press as much juice out as possible. pop the slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper and put in an oven on low (mine was about 110 degrees) to mix it up a bit I popped some cloves in some as well, it made the house smell glorious while baking!

Turn every half hourish and bake for 2-3 hours or until they are dry. Obviously the thicker you cut the longer they will take, but do not turn up the temperature as they will just burn rather than dry.

I then popped all of the slices in a ziploc bag with some more cloves and will keep them there until ready to use.

 

And done, all for cheap! I’d love to see anyone’s displays

Mombie’s Yummy Christmas Biscuits

Every year I bake my Christmas biscuits (throughout the year too) but especially around Christmas as it just smells so Christmas-ey to me. It’s basically gingerbread with some cinnamon chucked in too. I often bake and gift wrap them for friends and I’m always asked for the recipe so I thought I would share it with you lovely folk. I warn you I bake in guesstimates and how I feel hence some of the rough measures, I tend to be on the generous side though. The shape cutting bit is a great way to involve little ones in the baking too!

So here it is from my top secret cookery book

My much loved and stained recipe book my mum gave me years ago to record my fave recipes.

Ingredients

  • 350g Plain Flour
  • 2 -3 TBSP Ground ginger
  • 1 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 (or a little more) TBSP Ground Cinnamon
  • 100g Soft Butter
  • 175g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 4-5 TBSP Golden Syrup

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (Fan assisted)

Put the flour, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Bicarb into a bowl and rub in the butter.

Add the sugar and stir in Egg and syrup to make a firm dough (add more syrup if needed)

Muj “helping” roll out the dough

Roll out to about 5mm thickness and cut into preferred shapes (this is the perfect point to get the kids involved) .

Biting my tongue about her use of shape cutters.

Evenly space onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10-12 mins or until golden brown.

Leave to firm up on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nom Nom Nom

You can decorate these biscuits too but I think they’re lovely and sweet so its not necessary, and you can gift wrap for friends as well.

Ready to gift to a neighbour, I add a little extra when it’s Christmas.

The Pine-Cone Wreath tutorial

 

So after I posted an image of a pine-cone wreath on my personal Facebook page I received a lot of messages from people asking me how I’d made it as they wanted to make one themselves. I’ll be honest I looked at some on Pinterest and then made it up as I went along but I thought I would share my how to with you guys in case you wanted to give it a go. So you will need;

  • Pine cones (lots of the bastards) I foraged mine in local woods with the toddler (free labour and she loved it, whoop whoop)
  • A wreath base (image of the ype I used further down)
  • Beading or floristry wire
  • White acyrlic spray paint, and clear spray paint to protect.
  • Fake snow (I think mine was a B&M bargain, but at this time of the year this stuff is everywhere!)
  • Glitter because I bloomin love some extra sparkle
  • Super sticky glue

So here goes;

Take a little person to the woods and have them collect pine-cones with you, alternatively you can buy pine-cones but I used a ton of them and I’m all for doing things cheap as possible. I think we had a carrier bag full.

I treated my pine-cones in a mix of water and vinegar solution to help kill any creepy crawlies lurking in there (soak for about an hour). You don’t need to do this as the oven should kill anything but I like to be sure, to be sure.

Next lay the pine-cones on foil covered trays and pop in the oven on low (about 120degrees in my fan oven) for a few hours, checking regularly, as they open try and stand them up so they open evenly.

Once fully opened I tend to let them rest for 24 hours, I then spray a covering of of white acrylic spray paint over them and again leave for 24 hours.

Then take your wreath base, wire and pine-cones, wrap the wire around the base of the pine cones and then wrap around the base, I’ve read a few different recommendations on the best way to do this, some say start from the inside working out, others do the inside and outside then middle. I’ve tried a few different ways but am yet to find which works best and do my own thing, let me know in the comments what you went for.  Don’t forget when you’re working round to make a little hook out of some of the wire to hang your wreath from.

Once you’ve done the three layers (inside, middle and outside) your basic wreath is complete however you will most likely have lots of gaps and spare pine-cones so I go a bit crazy with the tacky glue and stick loads in-between the gaps to give it the full look.

Once I’m happy with how full my wreath is, I apply a few coats of the white acrylic spray paint all over and once happy I sprinkle some fake snow over the wreath while the paint is still wet. I then leave for 24 hours.

The next day I sprinkle with iridescent glitter and the first coat of the clear spray paint to seal it all. Wait another 12-24 hours, I then lift the wreath to ensure any loose debris come away and an decide whether it needs any more glitter or snow.

Then over the course of the following days I spray a few more clear coats and voila, one DIY pine-cone wreath, made cheap for your front door.

If you give it a go pop a photo in the comments, Merry Christmas!