Easily the best present…ever

From my 13 year old….a hamper of home made goodies.

She actually made 6 of these for various members of the family – each tailored with a different selection of goodies.

Mine contained:

Fridge cake (a family recipe of chocolate, golden syrup, butter, digestive biscuits and fudge)

Spiced Nuts

Gingerbread spiced Nuts

Baileys cheesecake truffles

Cheese straws

Chocolate and orange cantuccini biscuits

I’ll try and get hold of the recipes she used as they are all delish and great gift ideas.  She also bought boxes, lined them with shredded tissue paper and hand printed notes for each box with details of the contents and best before dates.  Some of the items she had put in cellophane bags and some she had sourced different shape and size jars for.  Each item had an individual hand written labelled.

It was no mean feat and she’d put together a file of her recipes, spreadsheet of who was getting which gift and a timetable setting out which days she was cooking which item.  Pleased to now have free access to the kitchen again, but very proud of such a clever and generous daughter.



Our Christmas Menus

A very quick post before I forget…

Christmas Eve

Starter was home made (by my mum) chicken liver pate with freshly made melba toast, followed by slow cooked pork shoulder (marinated in a soy sauce and tahini mix, based on a Nigella slow cook recipe) with boulangere potatoes, cabbage with nigella seeds (also a Nigella recipe) and mixed green veg.  Dessert was a gingerbread cake (recipe from BBCgoodfood) made by my 13 yr old daughter.  All finished off with cheese and tiffin.

Christmas Day

Traditional turkey with all the trimmings, following a starter of Smoked Salmon (always supplied by Springs Salmon in West Sussex) and traditional christmas pudding, this year supplied by the Ultimate Plum Pudding Company

Boxing Day

Left over cold turkey, cold ham, home made winter coleslaw (a Jamie Oliver recipe), green salad with honey and soy dressing and jacket potatoes.  Dessert was Ottolenghi flourless coconut and chocolate cake (from Sweet) as it was my Dad’s birthday

27th December

Tartiflette made with leftover jacket potatoes and ham and mixed with some gently fried onions and topped with a mixture of cheese, heated in the oven and then grilled to crisp the topping

This brief post and listing does no justice to the hours of searching through recipe books that I did in early December 🙂

Christmas Tips


My Christmas wrapping has been revolutionised by the discovery of Rajapack’s Paper Kraft Bags

Gift bags

They come in bulk in different colours and sizes.  I then buy a variety of Christmas stickers from Amazon to seal the bags and present wrapping couldn’t be easier.

Advent Challenges

I prepare advent challenges for my girls.  I write challenges on gift tags and then put them in a fancy jar.  Each day the girls pick out one to be done that day.  The challenges are mainly ‘random act of kindness’ things – ‘smile and say merry christmas to 5 people you don’t know in the street, or on the bus for example, today’,  ‘say something nice to someone you don’t normally speak to’, ‘make a charitable donation’ etc etc – I do chuck in the odd ‘do a chore for mum today’, ‘tidy one of your drawers’ or ‘wear some tinsel all day’,  just to mix it up a bit.

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