Christmas is in full swing



Even the Cookie jar has been given a festive sprinkling.

Merry Christmas everyone!
xx
...when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in the hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there!

Only one day to go!!!! P.s. It's supposed to be a Reindeer but I could only find teeny googly eyes!

Festivities are in full swing. The wine is mulling, the turkey's roasting, the Christmas jingles are a'playing, and you can't move an inch without bumping into something glittery.


I know it might not seem so Christmassy, but actually I just thought the brown paper and old style parcel tags gave a really lovely old fashioned feel! The little Postbox gift bags hold all my handmade Christmas treats I've been blogging too. I can't wait to hand them out!
Gosh, I'm just in such a festive mood I can't contain myself. Today has already been so full of good things.

Lie in - check!
Festive music - Check!
Candles
Family
Beautiful food - check check check!

Yum!

&
As we speak I'm enjoying the Grinch with my little sister (her favourite Xmas movie) as she repeats the whole scripts - actions included!


In a matter of hours the final family members will have all arrived and we'll have a full house just in time for Christmas Day!


Between now and their arrival I'm going to spend a little time finishing off some of my crafty projects I've been busy with this year.

These Christmas socks are one of my proudest Knitting accomplishments. I tried to knit something new every year, so this year I decided to take it up a notch and knit with multiple colours. I'm really proud of how these turned out, all I have to do now is add the leather soles and that's my new Christmas slippers sorted just in time for Xmas! Once their finished I think I'll then have a go at these cute Christmas Cross stitch patterns


Before I know it, It will be time for bed and Santa will be tumbling down the Chimney with gifts for all.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas Eve, and an even better Christmas day. Wherever you are, whatever your beliefs, whatever you do, Merry Christmas from me!
xx
Day 23


Today has been such a panicked day of buying. The family are all home so we've been stocking up on Food for Christmas.

As always we have left buying a tree until the very last minute but we've got such a beautiful one this year I'm so excited to get the fairy lights up!

While we were shopping we also made a quick stop into B&Q to find they had a half price sale on Christmas stock (hurray). So I picked up a few extra individual decorations. This one is my absolute favourite, it's just so adorable and at only 75p who could say no?

I can't believe it's almost Christmas Eve!!
Bye for now xx
It's getting so close now I'm getting butterflies!

This season I've really enjoyed finding new festive craft projects. If you been following you will have seen some from this weeks Christmas Bake & Make series. If not don't worry you can check out the links below.


Because these have been so fun I wanted to share some of my inspirations with you for some of the future projects I'm hoping to do this season. These are such great ways to enjoy the festive season, and really good ideas for fun with the family. They're fab for people on a budget looking for present ideas too!

Here are some of the up coming projects I have in the pipeline. They can all be found on my Pinterest along with many other great craft projects. If you'd like to see a tutorial for any of these let me know in the comments below and I'll be sure to fit them in in the coming weeks.







It's day 21 and the family are all on their way home for Christmas!

This is the time of year where I really feel in the spirit of Christmas, when the family all arrive & you can here that little buzz of conversation through the house.

It's also the day that my new christmas bed sheets arrived, so they've been put straight on the bed, no waiting!

What do you think?



See you tomorrow!
xx
It's Day 20!

Today I finished the Christmas Bake & Make series, but I couldn't help doing one more thing!

While my sister is out of the house I've take the opportunity to get some final crafting in, so tonight I've been busy making these little Christmas Tree Marble Chocolates.

It's so easy to do, just melt your favourite chocolates, pour into flexible ice cube trays, swirl around and leave to cool.

Ta Da! you have homemade marble chocolates!


I've also added some candies and nuts (not together!) into some of these for a little extra something!

They're so easy to make There's another batch of dark chocolate trees cooling in the fridge as we speak, so while they are doing their thing I'm going to wrap up these little trees in some pretty tin foils and pop them into little tiny gifts bags for my family!

Merry Christmas guys!
xx
Hello again!

Well it's certainly been a busy season and time is running out fast! So I've been stocking up on some crafting supplies to make some little stocking fillers for my family and friends.

For those of you who've been following I've been posting the Christmas Bake & Make series all week, and today is the final post of the series - Homemade Coaster Gift Sets!


Don't forget to check out the rest of the series if you've missed it!

Marshmallow Snowman Hot Cocoa Dippers
Mocha Cocoa Gift Tutorial
Gingerbread Decorations
Christmas Cupcakes

Once again this was a crafting gem I found on Pinterest, and it was so easy I've made one for both my sisters and my (to-be) sister-in-law! But these would make great presents for anyone, boy or girl, and a lovely gift idea for any time of year.

I don't think anything beats that homemade touch!




If you'd like to make these yourself it couldn't be easier! Head on over to thecottagemama for the full tutorial. Here are the final results of mine. What do you think?







I tried to find craft paper that reflected the personality of each individual I was making them for, which is great because it means this is such a changeable and personal gift to give any friend or loved one.



I hope you've enjoyed this post, and thank you for all your support this week, it's been a lot of fun and it's been great to hear some of you trying these out for yourself.

If you do have a go at any of these christmas Bake & Make ideas let me know in the comments or tag me in your photos on twitter or instagram @theasthinkings!

Don't forget we are still counting down to Christmas so be sure to come back again tomorrow!

Bye for now!
xx
Day 19!

Today's been a busy day filled with lots of crafts and lots of hot beverages (I love this season!)

It was my birthday only a few weeks ago and my lovely little sister treated me to this gorgeous hot choc from Hotel Chocolat - lucky me!

(Leave a comment if you've read any of these books too!)

I'm trying to savour it but it's so yummy I've had quite a few of these today with some of my cute homemade Snowman Marshmallows for a little bit of festive fun.

You can make them yourself too it couldn't be easier! Check out my Snowman Marshmallow Dippers here.

Bye for now!
xx

Hello!



Now we all love a good hot chocolate, but this Christmas no hot chocolate will be good enough without these adorable home made marshmallow dippers, and they couldn't be easier to make!

All your going to need is:
Mini Marshmallows
Pretzel Sticks
Strawberry laces
 Small bar of chocolate
Cocktail Sticks



Eat them straight of the stick or swirl in your steaming hot chocolate for some added festive luxury! These marshmallow dippers will work great with yesterdays recipe for Mocha Cocoa. I know I'm going to be adding these to all my Mocha Cocoa Gifts for my friends and family.



Why not experiment with your designs? You could add chocolate drops to make little hats!

I hope you liked this addition to the Christmas Bake & Make. If you missed my other recipes click on the following links for:

(Sorry for the poor lighting!)


I'm posting a new Bake & Make every day this week so be sure to pay a visit tomorrow for another yummy Christmas creation!

Bye for now!
xx
Hello!

When I've been scouting for those little Christmas trinkets for around the house, for me, less is certainly more. The storage space in my house is really small, well what's left of it anyway so when I'm looking for Christmas decorations I try to find little things that just add a bit more of a festive feel to the small corners of the house.




When I came across these mini bell wreaths in poundland I had to pick up a couple! Not only do they sound so sweet, they look really cute too and I think they add a tiny touch of Christmas without going over the top. I just think they're so sweet I might even get away with using them all year round. What do you think?

You might also notice the lack of order to my books. I haven't had a chance to re-order them since I moved. (Yes that is the Sega Lemmings game - ah Sega... *childhood*)

If you've missed any of the Countdown to Christmas have a scroll down the right hand side bar and catch up on my daily Christmas posts.

Until another episode tomorrow, bye for now!
xx
Well hello there? Got 5 minutes to spare? Well that's all your going to need for the latest addition to the Christmas Bake & Make series.

Mocha Cocoa 


I found this recipe on a Pinterest hunt and I must say it's the easiest recipe yet, and my all time favourite. I've made these for my siblings and in-laws. They look gorgeous and they taste good too!

For this recipe you will need:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup espresso powder
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips



You'll also need a jar, a label & some string or ribbon for that finishing touch!

All you need to do to make these beautiful Mocha Cocoa Gifts is layer you cocoa, sugar, espresso powder, powdered milk, salt, and finally your chocolate chips inside you jar.



I also slid a skewer down each of the sides of my jar to make a slight water fall of ingredients to make this pretty effect.

Add a label to the side of your jar with the following instructions:

"Mix contents in a large bowl. For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water. Store remaining mix in airtight container"

I chose these old fashioned parcel labels to give a homely rustic feel.



For a final touch tie some string or ribbon in a bow around the top of your jar. I chose this lovely Merry Christmas ribbon from my local craft shop.

This is such a lovely inexpensive gift for any friend, relative or neighbour, and you could give this to someone at anytime of year! I'd love if someone made this for me!

I hope you've enjoyed this post. Come back again tomorrow for some extra final touches we'll be making to add that extra festive feeling and a little bit of luxury.

Bye for now!
xx

It's Day 17!!

Hello Christmas People. If you're like me you like to give your Christmas presents that little something extra so make them sparkle.

Today I popped into the craft shop...ahem make that three craft shops and the haberdashery to find the perfect Christmas ribbon. Turns out I like ribbons too much and ended up coming home with a few too many.

Then again now I have an excuse for a ribbon draw just like Monica had in Friends *squee!* :D (memories anyone?)

Hope you're wrappings going well! Tell me in the comments below how you're getting on. Have you even started? Or have you been super organised this year and it's all sitting looking pretty under the tree already?

Until tomorrow!

xx
Hello! It's another Christmas Cooking episode!!!

Today's recipe is for quick and easy Gingerbread decorations. This was my first time trying Gingerbread so they definitely have that homemade look! :) *blushes* but I think there's something about that homemade look that gives Christmas baking and making that extra festive charm!

For this recipe you will need:




2tbsp Golden Syrup
1tbsp Black Treacle
50g Soft Light Brown Sugar
25g Butter
175g Plain Flour
3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp mixed spice
1 1/2tsp ground ginger
1 egg yolk

For decoration you can buy ready made icing or make your own royal icing with different brightly coloured food colourings. You'll also need some festive looking ribbons for hanging your Gingerbread.

Before we start you'll need to pre-heat the over to Gas Mark 5 or 190°C, and line several baking trays with greaseproof baking paper.


Pop the Golden Syrup, Black Treacle, Sugar and Butter all in a saucepan on a low heat stirring occasionally until the butter has all melted into the syrup.

(Silly old me had bought dark brown sugar, so as you'll see from the phots they look more like chocolatebread than gingerbread, but luckily I can promise you they taste the same. For a lighter golden look be sure to use light brown sugar!)



Once that's done pop the rest of your ingredients (that's the flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, ginger and egg yolk) all into a large mixing bowl and add the treacle mixture. Mix it all together to form a soft dough.

Tip: If you find your dough too sticky add small amounts of flour a bit at a time until your dough reaches a more malleable consistency.

Then remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Finally roll out the dough into a thin sheet and using a selection of your favourite festive cutters. If you want to make them into edible decorations like me, make sure you use a plastic straw to cut a small hole at the top of each one. Cut out as many shapes as you can and pop them on the grease-proof paper.




Don't worry about the excess you can re-roll this as much as you like to get the most out of your dough. I think I ended up with 3 baking trays full of gingerbread so there will be plenty to go round.

Then all you have to do is pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and leave to cool on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.





That Tree's a little brown isn't he? (oops) well I never said they'd be perfect!

After they've cooled down all you then need to do is decorate. My decorations certainly aren't award winning, but I had a lot of fun baking them and even more eating them! To finish off add a little festive coloured ribbon through the hole and voila! -  Edible Christmas Gingerbread decorations for your tree.



So there you have it, my Christmas Gingerbread Decorations.

There's so easy to make, have a go yourself.

If you try these out let me know and tag me in your post! It would be great to see you enjoying them too!

You can reply to this post on here, or you can tag me on twitter @theasthinkings or Instagram @aletheaprice.

Come back tomorrow for another addition to this year's Christmas Baking & Making!

Thanks for reading!
xx
Merry Christmas!


Eek we're into single figures now, things are getting really close!

I hope you've been enjoying the Christmas season! Leave a comment below to share your plans for the rest of the Countdown.

Bye for now xx
Well Hello!

I've been a busy baking bee this season and I've been dying to share all my edible christmas treats with you.

To fit them all in I'm going to be posting a baking blog every single day this week, so be sure to subscribe here to keep updated on the latest recipes!

This baking series is so easy anyone can have a go. Why not try some out with your children or give some away to your family and friends as little personal christmas gifts.

For Today's Bake I am going to show you these very easy and quick to make Christmas Cupcakes! I've used a basic fairycake recipe, but you can easily spice this up with some coffee, cocoa or mixed spice for a more christmassy taste!

For this recipe you are going to need:



100g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g soft butter
2 eggs
12 cake cases

You will also need some a cake tray, weighing scales, a mixing bowl and a spoon or electric whisk if you lazy like me!

Simple!

For the icing & decorations you will also need:

140g Icing sugar
70g soft butter
tbsp milk
A generous selection of sugar sprinkle and cake decorations. I bought most of these from my local supermarket.



OK so we're ready to go!

To start pre-heat the oven Gas mark 4 or 180°C, and place your cake cases ready in your baking tray. Leave this on the side while we make the cake batter.

Now there is a proper order to put everything in the bowl! But my tried and tested method is throw everything in (so that's your flour, caster sugar, butter and eggs) and hope for the best! So far I've had no complaints.



Get out your mixing spoon or electric whisk and mix well until smooth and lump free. Don't worry too much if you have a few lumps it'll still taste great.


Add a generous scoop to each of your cake cases - you should have enough batter for 12 cakes and a little left over to lick the bowl!

Now place your baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and relax for 20-22 minutes. You can use this time to wash up but make sure you've eaten all that left over batter first - Waste not want not!

After about 20 minutes check your cakes by skewing the centre of the cake. If the cakes are ready they should look a golden brown colour and the skew should come out clean. If it's not clean leave the cakes in the over for a couple more minutes.

Now your cakes are out of the oven, leave the cool in the tray for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. You don't want to be icing warm cakes because the icing won't set.



So while those are cooling we can make the icing! Like last time add your icing sugar, butter and milk to a clean mixing bowl and mix until smooth. If you would like a slightly thinner icing you can add a drop more milk.

So now for the fun part!



Once your cakes are cool, ice them all with your butter icing and we can get decorating! It's up to you how you ice them, you could tube the icing on to get a swirl effect, but I've just smoothed mine on with a knife as i want to do more of the decorating myself!

Here's my first try!



As you can see they don't have to be perfect or any works of art, just have fun and get creative!


I hope you've enjoy this post, and if you have a go at decorating your own cakes share your pictures with me on twitter @theasthinkings or leave a comment below and I'll check them out.

We'll be back tomorrow with another easy christmas baking recipe. Until then don't forget to subscribe here!

Bye for now!!
xx
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