Christmas Countdown

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


It looks like I've already found my soup for our first course on Christmas Day! I made a version of this Butternut Squash & Apple Harvest Soup. I did just use this as a guide though. I didn't use Leeks or nutmeg only because I didn't have any. I added extra carrot and used 2 apples - I used Royal Gala not Granny Smiths. Oh and I used mini pumpkins instead of Butternut Squash though we like that too.

The mini Pumpkins were too cute and I couldn't resist using them.

Missed the cream out too partly because my husband isn't too keen on cream but also I thought it might be a bit rich alongside a full Christmas dinner.

Anyway with all the tweaks it turned out great, we all loved it. Hubby said it was just liked 'proper soup out of a can' - he meant it as a compliment in a round about way! It's something that all my family should enjoy so that's my first course sorted.

Now I think I've already found a perfect dessert - mars bar mousses! I'll have a trial run and let you know how they go!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Rudolph Day

Happy Rudolph Day!

I hope everyone is enjoying their day and managing some time out to catch up on their Christmas Planning. I'm working today so i've already been printing off my updated lists to go in my folder. I have a shopping list for various shops both online and local stores for gifts. I have got a list prepared for ingredients for my Christmas Cake and various other baking i'll be doing so I can start stocking up now.

My planner for December has been updated and tentatively has a craft day planned for India and my friends children so i'm hunting out easy crafts for them and making sure i'm stocked up on supplies. I'm really looking forward to this one!

I've also had a look at my menu for Christmas Day and am trying to find a soup to suit all tastes as our starter. We've had tomato in the past - not homemade and potato & leek - homemade. So I'm going to search through my recipes this evening and see what I can come up with, then a trial run will be in order.

I'm looking forward to cosying up on the sofa with a big mug of chocolate and my folder and lists tonight, i've had a cold the past week or so and i'm counting down the hours till 8 tonight when the house will be quiet!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Autumn Decor

Well it's now officially autumn and last year I decided to try and decorate for autumn after seeing so many beautiful photos via Magical Holiday Homes fall tour. A lot of the decor here though is more for Halloween than Autumn so it's not easy to find.

I did find these cute scarecrows at a local Charity shop and they are now sat on my mantelpiece.

We have been collecting lots and lots of pine cones for to make into Christmas decorations. We have so many I decided to use them right now too.

I'll be replacing the cones with baubles once it gets to December. In the meantime I'm on the look out for other items I can decorate with so if anybody has any suggestions or has seen any autumny things in the shops let me know!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Autumn is on its Way!

So the temperatures have dropped a little this week and the feel of Autumn is in the air. Some of the leaves are already turning red and yellow. I spotted this small one this morning, nearly all the leaves were red - it's only a mobile phone photo so not the best but you can see how gorgeous the leaves are.

I love this time of year for so many reasons - the colours, the brisk nature walks with India, the activity from the birds in my garden - always great to watch from a cosy house. Of course it also means Christmas is just around the corner. We are under 100 days to go now!

Just today I have picked up a few stocking stuffers for my daughter and a friends daughter. Plus some bits and pieces for our Christmassy swaps over at Organised Christmas Elves. Lots of the stores are getting their Christmas stock in now and it's fun to browse through it all.

Of course before Christmas we have Halloween to celebrate too. We were checking out Halloween stuff today and picked up a couple of cute items that I can't wait to put out. Halloween is becoming bigger here each year and the stores are stocking more and more decor for the house rather than just costumes and sweets. I love this and have started to build a little collection of things.

Here are the latest items. Four spice scented pumpkin candles for just a £1, they smell gorgeous.

A very cute sign which cost just 89p, a real bargain.

99 days to go folks, I hope your plans are going well! Oh and Hi and thanks to my first followers, hope you enjoy!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Chocolate & Beetroot Cake

I know a strange combination, not two things you would normally put together! I like to have a cake on Christmas day, some dessert other than the traditional mince pie and fruit cake, which not everyone likes. The past couple of years we have had apple cake and carrot cake. I wanted to try a few new ideas in the run up to Christmas to see if I could find something different. I saw the recipe in the latest Morrisons magazine Beetroot Chocolate Cake and had the beetroot from my parents garden, was wondering what to do with it so I gave it a go.

It was very easy - apart from the beetroot, which I think is the worst food ever to prepare! Thank goodness for aprons, glass chopping boards, rubber gloves and dark worktops! I think I did pretty well not to stain everything in a five foot radius!

It smelt gorgeous as it cooked and only took about 35 minutes.

India 'helped' with the frosting once it had cooled down. I got a Galaxy chocolate bar to grate on the top (meant I could have the rest of the bar to myself).

So the verdict. We all liked it, you couldn't tell there was beetroot in it, just like you can't tell there is carrot in a carrot cake. It is quite moist and the frosting is gorgeous. So it is on my short list for Christmas for now but i'm still undecided as it may be a bit too heavy and rich for Christmas Day.