Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide for Grown-ups

I love Christmas. I love it even more now I'm an adult and can enjoy the indulgent delights of booze-soaked Christmas puddings and warming sips of mulled wine. And there's the food too, of course: spiced, fruit cakes, citrus, sweet treats and deliciously steamy puddings covered in custard or a dollop of cool, whipped cream. That's why for this year's Christmas gift guide, I've chosen to feature the kind of food and drink I'd love to find in my own stocking on Christmas morning. The kid's Christmas lists can wait - this is all about us.

Christmas Pudding Gin by Gin Tales

Christmas Gift Guide - Mummy Wales

As a fan of flavoured spirits and liqueurs, I was overjoyed to find this little beauty available online for £35. This delicious concoction marries the festive flavours of boozy raisins, cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg and zesty lemon, with London dry gin. Only fresh, natural ingredients are used with no added sugar or chemicals. Gin is naughty enough, after all!

This 50cl gin infusion lasts for three months once opened and is best stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Other flavours include Orange, Cinnamon and Winter Spice Gin, Hot Cross Bun Gin, Raspberry and Mint Gin, and Lavender Gin. 

You're welcome.

Find Gin Tales on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Italian Trio Cheese Making Kit by The Cheese Maker's Choice

Perfect for the budding cheese-maker in your life, this £24.99 kit comes with all the necessary ingredients and specialist equipment to create 12 batches of mozzarella, ricotta or mascarpone in around an hour. All you need is some basic kitchen equipment and milk, which can be standard whole cow's milk, A2 or lacto-free milk.

My husband is a huge fan of Italian cheese so I know this will make him a very happy bunny on Christmas Day, but if Italian isn't quite your style, they also sell a Mediterranean cheese kit, a goat's cheese making kit, a bumper kit for the aspiring cook, and even a butter-making kit for children. There are further cheese making tips on their website if you want to swot up on the process beforehand and the kits have a helpfully long shelf life of 12 - 18 months in case your Christmas catch-ups go a little awry.

Find The Cheese Maker's Choice on Facebook and Twitter.

Gourmet Nut Spread Gift Box by The Nut Kitchen

Christmas Gift Guide - Mummy Wales

This award-winning gift features three 200g jars of Hazelnut Spread, Almond Spread and Gianduia Spread (a combination of rich Belgian chocolate and hazelnuts). This is indulgence of the highest order and, in my opinion, well worth the £16.50 (plus shipping) price. Especially as ingredients include hazelnuts from Naples and almonds from Sicily to create a gift that is surely sent from heaven.

Other products available from their website include a Make Your Own Almond Drink Gift Box (lactose and dairy-free) and a Home Baker's Trio of Nut Pastes. I was lucky enough to be sent a jar of their pistachio paste which was awarded a 3 star Great Taste Award in 2017 for it's exquisite flavour, and I can safely say it's sure to be gobbled up pronto.

Find The Nut Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Gluten-free Stollen by ElizabethDbakes

Christmas Gift Guide - Mummy Wales

This gluten-free cranberry, pistachio and orange stollen is part of a delicious range of 'free from' twists on classic Southern American recipes, including handmade cakes, loaves, brownies and bars. There is something everyone can enjoy whether it's gluten-free, vegan or sugar-free.

This particular stollen is bursting with fruit and nuts, yet delicately scented with the flavours of fresh orange and cardamom. Only natural ingredients are used and the product has a 6 week shelf life to carry you safely through the festive period and into January. I'm looking forward to enjoying mine with some warming mulled wine on Christmas Eve.

6 individual stollen bars are available from the website for £18 including postage or you can choose a 16-piece gift box for £16.50.

Find ElizabethDBakes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Stackable Bottles by Kilner

I'm already a massive Kilner fan as I use their jars and bottles a lot when making my preserves and liqueurs, and these quirky stackable bottles are a very welcome addition to my collection. They are brand new to the Kilner range and are available from Silver Mushroom for £10.95. Bearing the distinctive logo, the high quality is consistent with the brand and I particularly like the cork stoppers which give them a great retro feel.

Personally, I'm looking forward to using these bottles to present my homemade red berry and spiced apple liqueurs to any guests over the Christmas period, but I expect their versatility will see them filled with different flavoured iced teas come the summer.

Find Kilner on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Cheese and Accompaniments Christmas Gift Box by The Welsh Cheese Company

Christmas Gift Guide - Mummy Wales

I'm so pleased to feature this gift box from The Welsh Cheese Company because I firmly believe in the importance of supporting homegrown British businesses, including my homeland, Wales. This fabulous gift box, priced at £28, includes a selection of their most popular cheeses (Mon Las, Y Fenni, Perl Wen and Bouncing Berry) together with a complementary jar of handmade Welsh Lady Fig and Date Chutney and a box of Cnwc Halon Mon savoury crackers. 

The company also offer, among others, a craft beer and cheese hamper and a blue cheese and liqueur hamper, as well as a paid subscription service 'Clwb Caws' delivering 4 cheeses to your door every month. Whether you're a cheddar cheerleader or a gouda groupie, the variety of award-winning artisan cheeses available is sure to astound. What more could you ask for? 

Find The Welsh Cheese Company on Facebook and Twitter.

This guide was written in exchange for samples of products from the companies mentioned. All opinions are my own.
Run Jump Scrap

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

8 Top Tips For Keeping Everyone Safe On Fireworks Night

As we approach Winter and the nights draw in, this is a fantastic time of year to enjoy the spooky, sweet and spiced delights of Halloween and the wonder of Fireworks Night. But much as it's a great way to spend a evening together as family, attending a fireworks display comes with some obvious risks. 

Here are some tips for keeping everyone safe this Fireworks Night.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

How To Make Homemade Turkish Delight

I absolutely love making yummy treats that I can gift to family to friends at Christmas. A few years ago I made fig, date and onion chutney which I gave away with a little bottle of my red berry liqueur, each wrapped with a twist of festive ribbon and tied with brown labels suitably marked 'Eat Me' and 'Drink Me'.

This is another of my favourites. There always seems something indulgent about Turkish delight. It's something I don't eat all that much throughout the rest of the year but come wintertime, I can't help but make up a batch.

What's more, it's so unbelievably easy! I mean, who has time for faffing when there's mulled wine to be drunk?

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

TrackR pixel - Review and Giveaway!

I dislike stereotypes. That said, I am stereotypically bad at finding ANYTHING in my handbag beneath the crumpled up receipts, used tissues (I know - gross), boiled sweets and biros. So you can understand the predicament I find myself in when having to search not just my handbag but the whole house, quite often to find my keys which one of my darling offspring has decided to pilfer and hide.

So you can guess my delight at being offered the opportunity to review the TrackR pixel bluetooth locator. It's a clever little device which allows you to locate lost items via an app on your smartphone. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

How To Make Home-Cooked Potato Peeling Crisps

This recipe for home-cooked potato peeling crisps from BBC Food popped up on my Facebook feed the other day and I knew immediately I had to give them a go. Okay, so they're probably not the healthiest snack in the world, but you need something to crunch on in between slurps of cool, crisp chardonnay, right?

The recipe appealed to me for a number of reasons: they're very simple to make, they require very few ingredients, and they are a great way to use up the peelings leftover from a mashed potato masterpiece.

I'm also hoping that the next time we have friends over for nibbles, it'll make me look like some sort of fantastic snack wizard. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 22 September 2017

9 Lessons I've Learned as a Parent

It's a long old slog. But as I say goodbye to the 'baby' stage and my sons grow into little boys, I've been reflecting a little on what I've learned in the early years.

1. A broken lift can ruin your day

The shoes are on, the change bag is packed and the baby's in a fresh nappy. Stage 1 of my plan is complete. I arrive at my destination and park up successfully. As an added bonus, the baby's fallen asleep and stays asleep as I pack him into his buggy. I'm onto a winner. Stage 2 - BOOM. 

Now all that's left is to stroll into the upmarket department store, navigate my way past the fancy bags and shoes that no longer warrant buying, shimmy up in the lift to the nice, clean, cake-laden cafe on the top floor and slurp myself into a coffee coma.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

How to Make Red Berry Liqueur (in Time for Christmas)

It's sad to think we're moving into Autumn and towards Winter but, to cheer you up when the nights start closing in and the kids have walked puddles of muddy slush all through your kitchen, here's a delightfully warming recipe I picked up from Good Housekeeping magazine back in 2011. The good news is that this only needs a month at most to mature and doesn't need any specialist equipment, so you can easily start it in the next month or so and it'll be ready for Christmas. Then all you have to do is pop on your slippers, curl up with Strictly and enjoy a tiny tot of this gloriously rosy liquid sipped from your favourite glass.

Despite having pasted this recipe into my recipe scrapbook six years ago (how is it that long ago?) this is actually only the second time I've made it. Though not due to any fault of it's own, that's for sure.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

PJ Masks Magazine - Review

I'm not sure I can remember a time before PJ Masks was in our lives, it's now such a firm favourite with the boys, especially Little O. So I was absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the brand new PJ Masks magazine which went on sale this month.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

My Top Ten Favourite Cuddles

I'm holding my hands up: this is the fluffiest of fluffy posts. Fluffier than a Pomeranian puppy. Fluffier than an Eighties blow-dry. Fluffier even than the contents of your granddad's belly button.

You get the picture, so let's get to it.

10. The Upside-down One

This is not altogether dissimilar to a wrestling move I saw once in telly. Your arms may be around their waist but you are most definitely not face to face. Much to your detriment. But if you can hold the move for the customary 10 seconds, it's classed as a cuddle win.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

I'm Not Ready To Be A 'Mum'

Something diabolical has happened.

Little O has started calling me 'Mum'.

I know it's not like he's started calling me 'Homer' or anything but still - I'm 'Mummy' not 'Mum'. 

Mums have school age children and make packed lunches and arrange sleepovers. I still have all those things yet to come. I'm not there yet. I'm not ready to be a Mum.