ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 24 : Christmas Eve Wrapping

Down to your last piece of sellotape? No problem, you should have this mastered by next Christmas.

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a joyful New Year.


ANTW Advent Calendar : A Christmas Card from the Milkman

This has to be my favourite card of the year.

Thank you Tony the Milkman.

Happy Christmas

ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 16 : Mince Pies

The perfect treat to end the Christmas shopping or a bit of fuel to get you through the last weekend, there’s nothing better than a mince pie. They are ridiculously easy to make and even better when made with all butter puff pastry.

Christmas Tree Mince Pies

So here’s how I do mine :

Pack of Jus Roll All Butter Puff Pastry

Ready made mince meat – there are all kinds out there and they pretty much taste as good as the next one.

Beaten egg for brushing

Little bit of golden caster sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180

Roll out your puff pastry – half a block will make about 12 mince pies depending on how thinly you roll.

Cut 12 circles and 12 christmas trees – or you can have stars or whatever you fancy.

Fit the circles in to the cup cake baking tray and spoon in about half a teaspoon of mince meat. This bit is up to how much you like mince meat, I don’t like too much in one mouthful. Put the tree shape on top and tuck in the corners. Brush each one with a bit of egg and sprinkle with a very little sugar.

Put in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

The tops puff up all over the place but will settle down a bit when you take them out of the oven

Serve with whatever you like, whenever you like.

Happy Christmas

ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 15 : All Tied Up

Treat the dapper gentleman in your life to one of Marwood London’s beautiful lace ties. Perhaps also tactfully encourage him to team it with a bib to avoid dripping the cranberry sauce down it.


Mesh Lace Noir


Geometric Lace

ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 10 : Christmas Cartoons by Zebedee Helm

This is the time of year for tradition and the tradition in e-commerce is to bombard any email addresses you happen to have with promotional material. In that spirit may I present some seasonal prints for your evidication edificeat mild irritation.

With snow and whatforth the first 2 are clearly so christmassy that they should put you in a very festive mood indeed. The third one, it may surprise you to hear, is hanging at this very moment in the V&A museum in the heart of London’s South Kensington (red light) district as part of  ‘Private Eye : The First 50 Years‘ which runs until 8th of Jan.

These 3 prints, signed and numbered, I am offering, and it breaks my heart to do so (it doesn’t), at the cut price rate of £30.

Tramps Tinsel, £30


Robin and Batman, £30


Eggs, £30


And this here link should speed you to my cartoon megastore

May your ding dongs ding merrily on high.

Zebedee Helm

ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 9 : Mulled Wine

It’s time for the mulled wine. It was the only thing to get me through this morning’s nursery nativity in which my 3 year was a very very reluctant King. And now with just 3 weeks to go until Christmas day, I think it might have to become medicinal.

You can do it the hard way from scratch or the easy way with a bought in spice mix. I’ve used this one from the Shropshire Spice Company many times and it’s perfect. Just mix with red wine and sugar to taste.


Traditional Mulled Wine Spices


Or you could gift yourself this Mulled Wine Set from Heals which includes all you need, even the cinnamon sticks and a couple of glasses. What could be easier.


Mulled Wine Set, Heals, £30


ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 8 : Decorating and staple guns

A rather late advent calendar offering today – apologies. Been busy stapling off cuts from the Christmas tree together to make decorations for the fireplace, very satisfying indeed.

I bought this Merry Christmas wire garland a couple of years ago and although it’s a bit boring on it’s own it’s lovely mixed in with a few branches and ribbons. I found it in by accident at a Christmas fair but I’m pretty sure you can find them online too.


Merry Christmas Garland and a few staples


And if you don’t have a staple gun I strongly recommend you get one. They make decorating so much easier all year round, be it indoor or out. You can transform (or destroy) a room in 5 minutes flat.





ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 7 : Make and Do

I love these books. They are a reprint of the classic Ladybird collection called Make and Do and include 3 books – Tricks and Magic, Easy To Make Puppets and Things To Make

The perfect present for any wannabe domestic goddess or those determined to do more crafts with their children. Not that I’m speaking from experience.


Vintage Ladybird Make and Do Box


I have one brand new boxed set to give away. All you need to do is answer this question in the form provided below :

Who founded Ladybird Books?

Winner announced Monday 12th December so that I can try and get it you in time for Christmas.

ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 6 : Celia Lindsell Lavender Gifts

If like me you seem to have more and more children, babies, in laws and out laws to buy for with every Christmas, then you need some of these. The Celia Lindsell lavender home ware collection provides some perfect stress relieving, sweet smelling presents which will please even the trickiest of recipients.

There are the most gorgeous lavender bags and cushions of all sizes for wardrobe, drawers, sofa or bed and some cute as a button offerings for children and babies. There are lavender filled door stops for the chicest of homes and  bottled pure lavender oil which can be sprinkled in the bath to soothe away Christmas aches and pains.

All products are available from the online store and gift wrapping is also on offer. What a wonderfully relaxing way to do your Christmas shopping.


Christmas Boxed Set, £28


Men's Silk Lavender Bags, £14


Silk Nursery Lavender Pillow, £42


Individual Lavender Bags, Small £9.50, Medium £14


Christmas Lavender


ANTW Advent Calendar, Day 5 : Emergency Butternut Squash Muffins

Having spent all morning in the clutches of Halfords and Toys R Us, I was looking forward to an afternoon writing Christmas cards whilst shouting at the cats to stop destroying the tree. Sadly it’s not to be as I’ve just been told, in my 3 year old’s rather cryptic way, that he needs 15 “deeeelicious treats” to take to his nursery Christmas party, tomorrow. So now I’m baking and I thought perhaps there were others out there who might find themselves in a similar situation or just fancied something tasty  to ease the cold.

Last year I sent a tin of charred cup cakes so was tempted to send him off with some Mr Kipling slices this year but my husband talked me in to these Butternut Squash Muffins, courtesy of Jamie Oliver. Not only are they super easy to make but hopefully the children won’t have a clue that they’re actually healthy, which all leaves me feeling quietly smug.

Butternut Squash Muffins with a Frosty Top

by Jamie Oliver

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line your muffin tins with paper cases.

Whiz the squash in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the sugar, and crack in the eggs. Add a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and whiz together until well beaten. You may need to pause the machine at some point to scrape the mix down the sides with a rubber spatula. Try not to overdo it with the mixing – you want to just combine everything and no more.

Fill the paper cases with the cake mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check to see whether they are cooked properly by sticking a wooden skewer or a knife right into one of the cakes – if it comes out clean, they’re done. If it’s a bit sticky, pop them back into the oven for a little longer. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack.

As soon as the muffins are in the oven, make your runny frosted topping. Place most of the clementine zest, all the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a bowl. Add the soured cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds and mix well. Taste and have a think about it – adjust the amount of lemon juice or icing sugar to balance the sweet and sour. Put into the fridge until your cakes have cooled down, then spoon the topping on to the cakes.

Here are mine :

Butternut Squash Muffins

And here are Jamie’s :


He obviously just used a different lens.