christmas time…

…it’s certainly upon us now, this year has gone so quickly yet it’s hard to believe this time next week we’ll all be sat around stuffing our faces, unwrapping presents and sharing time with our loved ones, usually involving a board game in our house. I thought I should update you with my festive endeavours, if you are a friend of mine don’t continue reading as it will spoil your Christmas surprise. When it comes to prezzies I keep a list in my phone through the year if I think of things for people so The Husband and family have been fairly easy to buy for and I must admit the majority of this has happened through online shopping. It’s warm, hassle free, often cheaper and I get to become best friends with the postman and post office workers as I’m popping in after work to collect the packages which were attempted to be delivered while I was at work. The Husband absolutely hates wrapping and has been thrilled by the gift wrap option from Amazon, all he had to do was write the gift tag, already attached to the beautiful grey and red ribbon wrapping under the tree ready for the 25th. We do need to go and physically buy a few things this weekend I’m just hoping we make it out alive.

I stripped back the Halloween Wreath I created a few months ago and used off cuts from our Christmas tree (it needs a slight trim so it didn’t completely block the television) and wove them round the base and added a few spare baubles I didn’t want on the tree this year and a ribbon to finish it off and I think it looks rather lovely against our new blue front door, which is not only less draughty, noisy and unreliable than the previous it looks so much better than the boring white door we had before.

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I visited Castle Howard with my mum a few weekends back and we got a little carried away with new bauble buying, a selection are below and I’ve also purchased a new table runner for the dining table, apart from the real Christmas tree everything else has come back out of the boxes stored in the loft. I do love chevrons and I saw a link to a gold glitter chevron table runner on the Rock My Style blog a month back, I decided to find one independently and bought mine for half the price directly from China, it arrived quicker than some things posted within the UK do too.

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We’re not hosting Christmas this year but I still like to make and bake some things to take with me or in case people come round, which leads me to the kitchen. This year I have made candles and hot chocolate mix for my friends presents, using old jam jars and soya wax and pine and coconut spice fragrance bought from eBay I’ve decorated them up with ribbon, tissue paper and tags made from air dry clay. Stamped with letter stamps and cut using cookie cutters, they could do with some glitter or paint so might be more extravagant next year but they do the job for this year, including a special one for my friend who recently had her first baby. I’ll be making caramel shortbread and rice krispie cakes for my father in law as part of his present, taking a Bailey’s induced cheesecake round to my friend on Monday, making some little chocolate treats I found the recipe for on Rock My Style blog and hopefully taking on Paul Hollywood’s marzipan and mincemeat couronne recipe from the other night this weekend. Oh and possibly getting the cookie cutters back out for some gingerbread action if I find the time, I think Christmas has hit me this week so it’s all guns blazing.

Any of you making or baking presents and treats over the weekend or are you giving your Christmas cake its last ‘feed’ before the big day? I hope the pictures and ideas get you into the Christmas spirit if you’re not already there.

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wedding gifts, outdated and mercenary?

As we head to present giving time I thought it was a good time to ask in this day and age how many of us are not living with our future partners already? Show of hands please, not that many at all. How many have already moved out of parental homes whether that be university, flat shares or heading to new cities alone? Most of you. So you’ll have a collection of plates and saucers, spoons and towels? Yes thought so or spaghetti hoop lunches could get messy…so why do we still create wedding lists in department stores for wedding gifts?

Most weddings I go to there is a polite sentence about having your presence as a gift but some cash or vouchers or honeymoon spending money will be fine if you insist, that’s what we did, we said B&Q vouchers to finish our house would be welcome but it’s fine if you don’t and we genuinely didn’t expect the generosity of our guests and I’ll thank them again here, “we have beautiful fitted wardrobes, our house is finished and I can’t thank you all enough”. So I’ll ask the question again, if I don’t know many couples who even ask for wedding lists, and I don’t know any couples who aren’t already shaked up together how do department stores still manage to fleece this service on couples and isn’t it a little mercenary of the couple to compile one? You might argue that vouchers and cash are mercenary but I see it as throwing out an option if people really want to bring something, but asking for a new set of hand towels or some salad servers just seems weird and rude nowadays. If I want to buy you a gift for your house it will be a house-warming and it’ll be just as good a set of salad servers from Wilkinson’s rather than John  Lewis thank you very much (other salad server stockists are available).  The whole tradition comes from a bottom draw, when women still lived with their parents building gifts to create a home for her husband, so how does that concept of items for the house sit in a society with same sex marriages, sex and living together before marriage and where a women isn’t just seen as a house maker? I’d love to hear your thoughts.