Tuesday, December 17

My Busy Weekend

I mentioned a few posts back that Saturday night was my Christmas meal with the girls, just an night where we could get out, have a break from the kids in most cases and just have a general catch up. Most of us have fairly busy lives normally and it's almost impossible to get us all in the same room at the same time so to have this festive evening was absolutely brilliant...
...And because it was a bit of a special occasion, I decided to make a bit of an effort.
I made some Crackers- you couldn't pull them, but unwrap the fabric and you'd get some little goodies. A chocolate coin, a mini make-your-own-plane kit, a homemade paper snowflake, a mini candy cane and a piece of text about another country's Christmas tradition,complete with accompanying item. They were really easy to make, I just stuffed the contents in a cardboard roll, slicked on some glue and wrapped with some Christmassy fabric. I then tied each end with gold string and decorated with felt, gems and some wood gold toppers.
To make these you'll need: cardboard tubes (ones specifically for cracker making or just toilet roll tubes), Christmas fabric, ribbon/string, a glue stick, a pair of scissors, embellishments (I used green acrylic felt, self-adhesive gems and wooden toppers from Hobbycraft) and goodies for inside...

 I made these mini paper snowflakes (they're about the size of a saucer) with some scissors and a craft knife, but it got quite chaotic- I kept losing myself in what I was doing and blowing away the little pieces of cut paper, forgetting that this would result in those little pieces of cut paper being all over the table and floor. And my 7 month old sure loves a 'yummy' piece of paper.

I also got us some awesome placecards from Papercraft and paired them with some cute little Christmas chocolates to dress the table that little bit more 

 My Secret Santa present (which is no longer so secret as we all inevitably caved and ended up blabbing on the night) was 'Christmas in a box'. We had a £10 limit so I bought a load of festive things from the local pound store and dressed them up in a gift box.

Contents were a Santa's hat (and a 'Santa's Little Helper' hat for her little boy), two chocolate lollies, a Christmas tree decoration, some snow spray, a Rudolf hand puppet, some oils to freshen pot pourri  with scents like gingerbread and a homemade 'make-your-own-mini-bunting' bundle (I made that by cutting triangles out of various Christmas papers and including some Baker's Twine.)

All in all we had a fab night eating some delicious food, exchanging cards and gifts and having a good gossip...

The day after I was  all about the kitchen. I made some lovely treats for various visits/visitors this week. As well as the Gingerbread cupcakes, I made Rocky Road, Biscuits and some Biscoff fudge. I got some of the recipes offline so although the photos are of my goodies, I've included links to the original source if you want the recipe...
Rocky Road (pictured with the Gingerbread cupcakes). I got the basic recipe from Just Jesss but in mine I had Digestives, chunks of large marshmallow, raisins, dried berry mix, chopped cashews and crumbled Oreos. I realised after making the mix that we had run out of grease-proof paper so I had to improvise: I spread the mix in a silicon muffin 'tin' that I had in the back of the cupboard and then when it had set I popped them out and cut them in half. Yummy...
You will have to forgive the above picture, Sabrina and I had already munched the top of this biscuit tree by the time I got round to taking a photo. I used my fave biscuit recipe, as in previous posts- but added a pinch of cinnamon and allspice. I made them star shaped in lots of different sizes, stacked them up and decorated them with green icing and some shiny bits and pieces.
Biscoff fudge is definitely my best discovery yet. I'd always been put off making fudge because all the recipes that I'd seen involved faffing about with candy thermometers and that. Then I found this recipe on Julie's Eats & Treats and I was amazed. Not only is it ridiculously quick and easy, there are only two ingredients...One of these ingredients is Biscoff spread which I had never heard of, so I did a little googling and I found out that while Biscoff is a US thing, it is available in the UK rebranded as Lotus caramelised biscuit spread. On it's own the spread is amazing (especially on toast with a bit of jam)  but in this fudge it's a revelation. So unbelievably good. If you can't find the spread (although it is available at Sainsbury's), I found a recipe for homemade biscuit spread at The Cake Hunter.

Sorry about the long post, I just had lots to share from my jam-packed weekend...

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