DIY Harry Potter Christmas tree decorations

Hello my lovelies,

I’ve ditched the housework today and decided instead, to do some crafting.  You see, while browsing youtube a few weeks ago my daughter saw a tutorial for Harry Potter Christmas tree baubles and has asked if we can have a Harry Potter Christmas tree this year.  I’ve of course, said yes but she has no ideas I’m taking it a few steps further. More on that in my next post. So today, DD and I created our first tree decorations.


hp christmas baubles

Before we go any further, I just want to point out that I also don’t like the bakers twine hanging the baubles to the tree. These will be replaced with bauble hangers at Christmas. I really didn’t fancy going up to the loft to get the Christmas decorations down to retrieve the hooks.

So, these baubles are actually really clever little shot baubles that my BFF picked up for me from a car boot sale for 20p.  When I saw them, I knew they’d be perfect for a potion baubles one day.  Didn’t realise I’d be doing a HP themed tree so soon but it’s all good.


The potion baubles were really easy to make.  I just designed some tiny labels on my computer, printed them off and stuck them onto the front of the baubles.  I covered the bauble with one coat of glitter mod podge and allowed them to dry.  Et voila!

I’m so pleased with how they came out.  It’s a pity that you can’t really see the glitter mod podge but it’s there. The glitter is subtle and I think it will add a lovely dimension on the tree.

The signs in the background are more of an upcycle than a from scratch project. I got them from Primark for £5 and while I liked the signs they were attached with black ribbon like you can see in the picture.

SONY DSCThe way it was wouldn’t work on the tree because it would be too long.  We simply removed the ribbon and the staples and glued on butchers twin. The twine is cut quite short so that it doesn’t hang too long on the tree and get in the way of other ornaments.


I love projects like this. Not much to do for big impact.

I hope you enjoyed the post and if you did, please leave me a message.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R



Tulley’s Farm Christmas Experience

Hello my lovelies,

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and most of it has been working, renovating our house and starting a new job which means I’m now working full time!  More on that another time!

I wanted to share with you our kick off to the festive season.  I’d heard that Tulley’s Farm did a fantastic Christmas experience but I really didn’t expect to be so blown away!

It was a cold, rainy, blustery day and despite all of us getting over the flu we decided to go and see Father Christmas anyway.  We arrived at 9:40 to collect our tickets and had fun taking pictures and dancing. Everywhere was decorated and had been made festive.

We revieved a kids passbook filled with a map and lots of info as well as an Elf Hunt.


Before our Tractor ‘sleigh ride’ we spent our time wandering about the festive delights.  First we decided to beat the queues and write our letter to Father Christmas at Santa’s Post House. The Post Master was brilliant and really embraced his character.


While I was busy helping DD write her letter to Santa the Post Master gave DH a letter from Santa to put under my daughter’s pillow in way of a reply.


All she wanted for Christmas she told me was for her Scout Elf Snowflake to come back this year… watch this space for more Elf Antics!  I loved how the Post Master even posed in character.

It was really silly of me but I videod us going through the post office into the sorting room and through the winter wonderland to post our letter in the official north pole post box.  I should have taken photographs but sadly I was too busy videoing it!  I still have no idea how to insert video’s in to here!

On our elf search there were lots of things to see

We spent loads of time with the reindeer while DD asked loads of questions. She’s going to be an amazing vet one day.

When it came to meeting these guys DD was suddenly very shy and wouldn’t even look at them prefering instead to climb all over Daddy!



There was a short wait for our tractor ‘sleigh’ ride to see Santa and we occupied ourselves by making funny faces!






And talking to the elves

At last we were on the tractor ‘sleigh’ and DD thought that singing Jingle Bells was just ludicrous


At Santa’s grotto Father Christmas was fast alseep and the children had to wake him up so he could tell me them as story.

I was so impressed because everything was so well decorated and thought out and even Father Christmas looked so realistic!


We had a lovely picture taken with Father Christmas then  waited a short while before we got back on the tractor ‘sleigh’ to go and make our presents.



Which turned out to be – Build your own bears!


We also bought the photograph which I thought was good value for money for such a large picture at £8.

After we had warmed up with some mulled wine and a mince pie from a vendor, we watched the puppet show which was all about doing nice things for those we love.


We even watched the singing chickens!  Yes, chicken!

We could have gotten something to eat there but it was busy and we were cold and hungry so we went off to Smith & Western (one of our favourite restaurants) for brunch.

Here a tired little girl snuggled with her new kitty friend Daisy that she got from Father Christmas.  DH caved and bought her a dress for Daisy which was £9.95 which considering the prices at the Build-a-bear-factory, this was cheaper.


All in all, this was a wonderful day out and a lovely Christmas experience.  It was not cheap at £12.95 per child and £7.95 per adult but it was worth every penny because even us adults enjoyed it. And the fact that they get such a high quality gift as well made it worth it.

I give this Christmas experience 8/10

Stay tuned over the next few days for most festive fun,

Bright blessings,

Mama R






Introducing our Elf Pet, Tinsel

Hello my lovelies,

Yesterday, our town held a Christmas market and various halls were open with Christmas stalls and festive fun.

We met some lovely characters, picked up a few presents and made our way home, sadly, feeling fluey.  This flu really takes it out of us.

To cheer my daughter up because she didn’t want to leave the festivities early, our newest holiday tradition, and Elf Pet appeared by her bedroom door.


She had been painting some christmas sun catchers I got her at Poundland so was covered in paint but she took to her elf pet right away and named her Tinsel.12278977_10153608315800659_2753914695371194922_n

You can find out more information on  Elf Pets by clicking the link. There is also a fantastic free app for your elf pet that my daughter just loves!

Bright blessings,

Mama R



Christmas day menu plan 2014

Hello my lovelies,

People always ask me what I do for breakfast on Christmas day.  And the simple answer is that I cheat!

Waitrose does packs of unbaked pastries in their freezer section.  I get these and bake them on Christmas morning.  The house smells amazing what with pain au chocolat and croissants baking and the Starbucks Christmas blend percolating.  It’s a simple breakfast because for the rest of the morning I’m in and out of the kitchen.

Because we have Christmas dinner around 2-ish, I put out whatever hasn’t been eaten from the Christmas eve menu.  I usually put out some mince pies too.

We usually do turkey but this year we felt like switching it up a little and are having beef.  We of course kept the gammon that we always have but have changed the way we are cooking it.   So we’re having:

  • Cherry Cola slow cooked gammon with cranberry glaze
  • Roast beef with yorkshire puddings and gravy
  • Devils on horseback (prunes wrapped in prunes)
  • Turkey meatballs  (my little nod to the turkey tradition)
  • Roast potatoes
  • Honey parsnips
  • Creamed spinach
  • Green beans
  • Glazed carrots
  • Sweet potato fluff (sweet potatoes with butter and melted marshmallows)

For dessert I’m making:

  •  Rum and Raisin ice cream (hubby asked for this!  I know!  Weird one!)
  • Peppermint crisp tart (another of our traditions and a favourite from our South African roots)
  • Cape Brandy tart and vanilla ice cream (another favourite from South Africa).  This recipe and picture below is from Cook Sister‘s website.


I love our Christmas day feast and I assure you we don’t eat like this every day!  For most of the year I’m on a diet but you’d never say!

 What do you like to have on Christmas day?

 Bright blessings,

 Mama R x

Christmas eve menu plan 2014

Hello my lovelies,

I know Christmas is still a few days away but I thought over the next few days I’d post our festive menues to give you some inspiration for your own festivities.

As you’ve seen from previous posts, we’re having a bit of a Nigella Christmas this year. I’m not doing many of her recipes for Christmas day because there are traditions to uphold there in terms of food but Christmas eve features some of her festive faves.

We start off the evening with Poinsettia‘s and virgin seasonal breeze for my daughter.

Then it’s traditional for us to serve a cheese platter featuring:

  • Brie with grapes
  • Camembert with cranberry jelly and Nigella’s chilli jam
  • Mature cheddar & Nigella’s Christmas chutney with pickles
  • Green thunder cheese which is a lovely little gem I found at the House & Home Christmas show
  • Smoked mussels
  • Ritz crackers

For hot snacks I’m doing Nigella’s cranberry & soy glazed sausages and sausage rolls.  It’s not a party without sausage rolls.  Besides, my daughter loves them.  I was tempted to make them but then opted to buy good quality ones at Waitrose.

Plus I’ll be serving the Seasonally spiced nuts and biltong which my hubby makes.

For afters, we’ve got homemade mince pies with the fruit mince I made using Delia’s recipe and of course, Nigella’s Festive Rocky Road.


I can’t wait to enjoy this feast!  After dinner, through which we’ll be listening to christmas carols from Mr Buble and possibly Idina Menzel – if I can get my hands on the album in time.

 At about 8:30, we’ll snuggle down with the fireplace going to watch the snowman.  If we’ve even got space we’ll be having festive hot chocolate and some popcorn.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get DD to calm down enough to sleep after the film!

 What do you have traditionally have for dinner on Christmas Eve?

 Bright blessings,

 Mama R x

A Nigella Christmas

Hello my lovelies,

I have to share with you my all time favourite Christmas recipe book. It’s jam packed with all manner of kitschness and festive foodie joy. It is of course Nigella Lawson’s, Nigella Christmas.


 Only Nigella could do Christmas the fun and need I say, classy-kitsch way? Who else can get away with serving Christmas rocky road with tiny vintage style mini reindeer and trees, icing sugar and edible glitter?  I’ve made this to go in hampers and some for us as our sweet treat on Christmas eve and my gosh, it’s blooming divine!

This year, I’ve made quite a few things from this wonderful book.  As soon as the first cranberries of the season were out, I just had to make the Christmas chutney.  Of course I used apples from our garden of which I had an abundance.  I’m only sorry I didn’t take a picture because this recipe needs a picture of how GORGEOUS it is.  I was supposed to wait a month before opening the jars but yeah, that wasn’t happening.  I tasted a little bit warm from the pot and it was delicious!  We’ve been having it on sandwiches with ham and cheese.  Super yummy!  I’ve also tried it with camembert cheese and it’s a definite foodgasm.

Here’s the recipe.

Nigella’s Christmas Chutney

Makes 2.2 litres

  • 750g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 500g fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed if frozen
  • 250g soft pitted dates, each date cut into 3
  • zest, pulp and juice of 2 clementines/satsumas
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 t table salt
  • Sterilized jars

 Sterilize your jars appropriately.

Place your the apples, onions, cranberries and dates into a large pan.

Zest the clementines/satsumas over the top, then squeeze in the juice and scrape in the pulp.  Add the sugar, ground cloves, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, then pour the vinegar over and sprinkle in the salt.

Now all you have to do is give it a good stir, turn on the heat, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it bubble cheerfully, uncovered, for about an hour or until you have a pulpy mass.

Spoon into your warm, prepared jars and seal.

Believe me guys, you gotta try this chutney, it’s so good!

Make the chutney up to 2 months before using or giving (the longer it has to mature, the better). Store in a dark, cool place for up to 1 year. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 month.

 Another great recipe I made from this wonderful book is Nigella’s Chilli Jam.  It’s another winner and is great used on anything you’d use sweet chilli sauce on.  It’s also really pretty to look at and makes a really good gift.


Knowing I’d be having people passing through the house quite a bit over the festive season, I made a double batch of Seasonally spiced nuts. These are a doddle to make and take hardly any time at all.  I’ve used some of mine in hampers in little celophane bags tied with ribbon and the rest are sealed in an airtight container waiting for company to arrive.


While this chocolate fudge recipe is not in her Christmas book, it should be.  It’s delicious!

 For hamper gifts, I made the vanilla sugar and the marinated feta cheese.  I had to make a couple extra of these for us to try at home too :p

On Christmas eve we are making the cranberry and soy glazed sausages which are already in the fridge marinating and for drinks we’re having Seasonal breezes and Poinsettias. I can’t wait to taste those!

I’ve had this book for about 4 years and have no idea why I haven’t used it more before now but I’m super glad I did!

 Bright blessings,

 Mama R  x

Elf antics planner 2014

Hello my lovelies,

 I’ve had some people asking what kinds of things the elf gets up to during the month so I’ve put together a list of what our elf will get up to this month.


  • 1 December – North Pole breakfast and elf brings advent calendar
  • 2 December – Elf leaves the Christmas tree and decorations and we decorate the tree
  • 3 December – Elf leaves a basket of our Christmas story books to read eElf very night
  • 4 December – Elf writes ‘Have a great day’ on the medicine chest mirror with lipstick
  • 5 December – The elf leaves gold chocolate coins as a gift with some tricky words for testing
  • 6 December – Elf plays cards with barbie dolls
  • 7 December – Elf pants the tree (hangs knickers on the tree)
  • 8 December – Elf plants tic tacs in some sugar
  • 9 December – Elf tp’s the passage and Christmas tree
  • 10 December – Elf has a snowball fight with teddies
  • 11 December – Elf wraps DD’s bowl, spoon and dining room chair in wrapping paper
  • 12 December – Candy canes appear in place of the tic tacs like they’ve magically grown!
  • 13 December – Elf gets trapped in the cereal box after adding mini marshmallows
  • 14 December – Elf tp’s the christmas tree
  • 15 December – Elf turns a pint of milk in teh fridge pink
  • 16 December – Elf is found fishing in the fish tank
  • 17 December – Elf has a tea party with the princess dolls
  • 18 December – Elf leaves money for the school Christmas fair
  • 19 December – Elf makes snow angels in icing sugar and leaves ingredients to bake
  • 20 December – Elf leaves a gingerbread house kit
  • 21 December – Elf is found wearing a tiara riding with cinderella to the ball in a carriage
  • 22 December – Elf is found hiding in the fruit bowl
  • 23 December – Elf leaves tickets for a pantomime
  • 24 December – Elf leaves a Christmas eve hamper and a note to say she’ll be back next year.

 What does your elf get up to?

Bright blessings,

 Mama R