Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Countdown to Autumn

I can not wait for the autumn season to begin as I know tomorrow is the 1st of September.  Autumn is my favourite season of the year as I love cool and cold weather. The scenery is always colourful and beautiful and everything is very cosy.

I have started to decorate the house a little bit for Autumn now and have bought lots of lovely things to make an autumnal wreath :) I am very excited and can't wait for my plain wreath to arrive in the post soon.  I'll up load either a video or photos of step by step of the wreath.  Not that I'm an expert but just to share it with you guys :)

Here are some of the photos of our autumnal fireplace. Please let me know what you think?!

I wrapped a string of coloured twinkle lights around this vase, filled it with green candle sand and put a wide pillar candle inside it.  It looks great with the lights on. Sometimes I light the candle and sometimes I don't but the pictures doesn't do it justice really because of the flash, you can barely see the wire going round the vase. The scare crows will move from the fireplace but it seemed like a good place for a photo. Happy Autumn/Fall everyone :)


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Christmas Films

"Which is your favourite Christmas movie ever?" is probably one of the hardest questions my husband asks me from time to time! I have a few favourites:

  • The National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
  • The Santa Claus (Disney, Tim Allen)
  • Santa Claus 2 
  • Santa Claus 3 (The Escape Claus) 
  • Christmas With The Kranks
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Love Actually
  • I'll be Home For Christmas
  • Christmas Cottage
  • Family Stone
  • The Bishops Wife
  • Deck the Halls
  • A Christmas Carol (George C Scot)
  • The Holiday
  • Meet Me in St.Louis
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Mickey Mouse's Christmas collection
I never ever would have thought there are so many Christmas films out there. There are a few that I find either very sad or that I don't like enough to watch a second time round.  What about you guys? What are your favourite Christmas films?


Baubles when wrapping

I love to use baubles when wrapping presents. That was the person gets to keep them as well as the gift. In my experience people love it and usually the baubles make it onto their tree. Love that somebody else has a little decoration on their tree that I gave to them. Here is a couple of samples. I ALWAYS use ribbon as well :)

These are actually empty boxes that I wrap into a gift and then put them on top of my cabinets/bookcase.


The Magic Christmas Star

This is an adorable little video about the Magic of Christmas. Hope you enjoy :)


Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Have you ever cooked a turkey so big that you didn't have a dish large enough to put it in?! Well, I have!
The purpose of this is to make you laugh.  A few years ago, I had been very very busy until Christmas eve so that was the only day I had to go and do my shopping for the holidays.  I thought I'll get there early and get it done and over with quickly so I can enjoy a few hours to myself on Christmas eve.  My husband was at work (not many people have time off in England on Christmas eve so you have the turkey Christmas day) so I went all by myself at 8 in the morning.  The first thing I did was go to the butcher's section for a turkey.  They only had 3 left and I got the smallest one. Guess how much it weighed? ......  18lbs and it cost a lot too but I was having people over the next day and wanted a full turkey rather than the crown that I used to buy ordinarily.  I picked it up and did the rest of the shopping.  The supermarket was so busy that if I had missed something in an isle, there was not enough room to turn the shopping trolley around or even reverse with it. You had to go round and come back again like a one way system. In the end I managed to get out of the shop at 12:30.

The next day I calculated the cooking time and it was 8 HOURS! So I knew that we weren't going to have the turkey for lunch time as it is traditionally done.  It just about fitted it in a huge roasting tin.  Wrapped it over with foil and it went in the oven.  About 6 hours later there was a little bit of smoke in the kitchen. It smelt like burnt oil. My husband went to look and told me not to get to close to the oven just in case. He opened the oven door and started to laugh as loads of smoke came out of the oven.  What had happened was that one of the legs of the turkey had came out of the string and had popped out of the foil. So there was a huge whole in the foil with an end of a leg poking through.  There really wasn't much point in wrapping it over again although I tried a bit but it didn't really work. So it went back in the oven for another 2 hours and as it cooked more, we had more smoke come out to the point where we had to open the kitchen window on a freezing day.

When it was cooked I went to put it in my biggest serving dish which is 32inches in diameter and it didn't fit on there.  In the end I had to take one of the legs off and serve that in a different dish.  All my fantasies of this whole nicely roasted turkey was gone but we laughed a lot as we ate it with our guests in the evening.  It did taste a little bit dry but was still very yummy. The next day we ended up cleaning the oven.

I wonder if anyone has been through anything like that? I have made sure to order a small turkey well in advance since then :)


Sunday, 22 August 2010

A letter to Santa Claus

Did you ever write a letter to Santa Clause?

I just wrote my very first one online :)

Here is what I asked for:

- peace for the world;
- health for evryone who believes;
- happiness for all.

What will you ask for from Santa this year? 


Coventry carol

The Coventry Carol performed by the Westminster Choir is one of my wonderful husband's favourite Christmas tunes.  If you wish to check it out on youtube.com this is it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIvH5GdY4JE It does give you a sense of peace as the Cathedral itself does when you go for a visit.

What are your favourite Christmas Carol/song? Please comment. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the world who wants the kick of for Christmas season this soon.

White Christmas

Is there anything more heart warming than Judy Garland singing "Have yourself a merry little Christmas"? It makes me feel like I have a cup of cocoa in a mug and like all my troubles will really be faraway soon. Like you're snug under a little blanket and it's snowing outside. Have had a particularly hard day so have Christmas music in the background as I write this.

Do you wish for a white Christmas? I really do. On this particular Sunday evening where things have been a bit troubled nothing will help other than Judy Garland and thoughts of a white Christmas.  Hope all of your wholesome wishes come true and you have a Christmas on the way just the way you like it :)

After all it is only 124 sleeps, 23 minutes and 15 seconds as I type until Santa cheers up all the kids (whatever their age!) in the world. 

May the Lord bless the world :)


Christmas Countdown

trying to display a Christmas count down but nut being very successful! Does anyone know how to please?

Christmas: Mulled Wine

Christmas: Mulled Wine: "I have already been I must admit thinking about recipes that I can cook during the holiday season. I am planing on making one or two pumpki..."

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Christmas Decorations

My favourite part of decorating though is getting everything out of storage and boxes and seeing everything after SO LONG! The very first thing is putting the tree up and decorating it.  We take our time with some happy Christmas music and festive Mulled Wine.  Then do the rest as we go along.

Do you stick to one colour theme each year?  I don't.  I like to mix it up but within reason.  For our Christmas tree we use lots of little wooden characters and tinsel and lights. There are some baubles too.  Also a fairy or a star for our tree topper.  The wooden characters are awesome. We also have a train track at the bottom of the tree and a train on it.  The train is called "The North Pole Express" and right at the front there is a Santa Clause waving as the train goes around. The train also plays a few holiday tunes.
It all makes the tree look really old fashioned which is how I like things to look like. I'm not very modern when it comes to decorating the house for the holidays.  I love wreath and mistletoe and wood and all that....

I also have this tradition that whenever my husband & I go on holiday, regardless of where we go to, I try and find a little Christmas decoration.  Either for the tree or round the house.  It really is a great thing to do because like photos it reminds you of your holiday.  I'd definitely recommend it :)

I also love to put lights on the windows either inside or outside of the house to spread holiday cheer in the neighbourhood. Another idea that I really love it to wrap twinkle lights around a garland and put it either on the fire place or the banister.  I must admit though when it is on the fire place there is then very little room stocking holders as it is bushy and on the banister it looks great but you then don't have anything to hold onto when going up and down the stairs. So both potentially dangerous in a mild way but its worth it.

I also love to put winter/Christmas snow globes around the house. Let's just say that it takes a very long time to decorate everywhere.

We have a big bookcase in our living room and what I am going to do this year is wrap some empty boxes (nothing too big) that we have and put some on top of the bookcase.  I love to use ribbon and make big bows with them.  So if you have lots of tall cabinets that could be an idea for you. I had used tinsel in the past but it always falls and I give up after two days.

If you have a wide vase or candle holder you could always fill it partially with beads that are for decorating the tree.  i love to decorate the kitchen a tiny bit too as I spend A LOT of time in there during the holidays.  I love to hang candy canes from the cabinet doors. That's about it really.  It's very simple but I find that it makes a big difference.  Always a couple of those candy canes make it to the tree too.

Do any of you have traditions like these? If so please share with me, I'd love to hear your ideas and traditions.

Thanks for reading :)


Christmas Drinks

Having talked about Mulled Wine got me thinking about Christmas drinks.  What people really love to drink in England (at least the people I socialise with) are these: 

  • Christmas Mead
  • Traditional Mead
  • Mulled Wine
  • Apricot Brandy
  • Sherry
Then other alcoholic drinks like beer and wine etc...... but no egg nog! :(

I really would love to try some egg nog this Christmas and as I can't buy it, I am hoping to make it.  The only thing is does really taste of eggs? Also which recipe should I use? I would prefer a recipe where you get to warm it a little just because of Salmonella.  I did say to my husband the other day that many people have it with raw eggs and they are fine.  So then that made me wonder if the alcohol has something to do with it? Does anyone know? 

What I have heard is that egg nog is like Marmite, you'll either love it or hate it! Hope I love it :)


Mulled Wine

I have already been I must admit thinking about recipes that I can cook during the holiday season.  I am planing on making one or two pumpkin pies around Halloween (as we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in England).  My favourite holiday drink is Mulled wine.

I love to put on a Christmas movie in the background, have a glass of Mulled Wine and write my Christmas cards out to people. This is the recipe that I follow and people have loved it in the past.

This will give you 6 large glasses of Mulled Wine. For a Christmas Party double the recipe but make sure that you use the same brand of wine.


  • A bottle of red wine
  • Mulled Wine spice sachet. (which is pretty much cinnamon and a little nutmeg)
  • Half a pint of water
  • Half a pint of orange juice
  • Three tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 sliced apple
  • 1 sliced orange
  • Brandy (some people say a quarter of a pint but I'd say as little or as much as you like)
In a sauce pan warm up the wine, water, orange juice, sugar and the mulled wine sachet together.  Stir it on low heat and make sure it doesn't boil. (If by any chance it did boil, quickly transfer the drink into another saucepan that is cold to stop it from boiling further.)

Once you see a tiny cloud of heat rise from your wine (right before it boils!) add the sliced fruit and stir it gentle for a minute or so. You'll find that the apple will float and the orange will sink to the bottom of your pan.  Then add the Brandy in and enjoy. (If you have boiled the wine then simply add a bit more Brandy than you had initially intended to!) Serve in glass of wine (with Christmas Charms) and enjoy.  

If you love cinnamon you could always add a stick in at the beginning.  I don't put the Mulled Wine in a punch bowl as it will get cold and won't be as nice. I just turn off the heat once my glass is ready and put the lid on. Then when I'm ready for another glass, I just warm it up again gently. 

If I make this for two or 3 people then I put a tea spoon in each glass for the fruit.
In my Christmas parties I give everyone cocktail sticks. 

Hope you like this recipe whoever you are. 
Do any of you have any traditions for when you write your Christmas cards? If you do please let me know. 


too soon for twinkle lights!

As I sat on the sofa with a lovely cup of coffee that my husband made, I realised that it is pouring down with rain. It is dark that we had to put the lamp on but what I really wanted to do was to put on some twinkle lights. I realise that it is too soon but I can't help but to think about my favourite seasons coming up next.

Towards the end of September, I plan on giving the house an autumnal look. Therefore a collection of orange and green pumpkins/squashes with some candles around the fireplace and one Autumn wreath that I plan to make from scratch for the front door. I do also try to decorate the house a little around Easter as well. I love to keep different festivities alive but my favourite is Christmas.  Is there anybody else out there who like to do the same?

Friday, 20 August 2010

Why Christmas?

Do any of you out there have a passion for the Christmas season?  I do. I in particular love the fact that people become more considerate and kind in general. I also adore (those of you who have cold and dark winters will understand) the warm fire, twinkle lights and snow, you know, the whole cosy traditional look and decorations.

That is why I started this blogg.  I figured if there are Christmas shops open all year round in some cities and some shops in London already are selling Christmas decorations then it is OK to start this up on the 20th of August.  I know many people will say "Humbug" but I just wanted to know how many other people out there are similar to me? I'm sure I'm not the only person who starts to look forward to Christmas in September.

So feel free to comment if you feel the same way. I'd love to hear from you.