Homemade Christmas Tree Decorations – Candy Canes

 

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This year I have fallen in love with these homemade woollen candy canes. They are easy to make and super cute.

What you need:

pipe cleaners

a ball of wool in your chosen colour (I have made these with bright red)

selection of small buttons

glue gun

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Manipulate the pipe cleaners into a candy cane shape. You may need to cut them down slightly as they might be a bit too long. Take the ball of wool and start to wrap around the pipe cleaners. Once the pipe cleaners have taken a true candy cane shape, tie the wool to stop any unravelling. Next using the glue gun attach the buttons onto the candy cane for decoration. I have chosen multi coloured buttons but you could stick to a colour scheme.

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Christmas Biscuits

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I’m feeling festive, I hope you are too! If you aren’t you should definitely invest some time in making Christmas Biscuits, not only are they fun to make and decorate, but they leave you with a scrumptiously yummy end result.

Ingredients:

250g softened unsalted butter, 140g caster sugar, 1 egg yolk, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 300g plain flour

How to:

Mix the butter and the sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla extract, beat to a smooth mix. Sift the flour in and stir until the mixture is combined, you may need to knead the mixture towards the end. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and use your chosen cookie cutters to create your biscuit shapes. Place onto a greased baking tray and cook in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cool, decorate your heart out!

Gifts for Gardeners this Christmas

I don’t know about you but I’m now fully in the swing of Christmas, the shopping is done and just needs to be wrapped, Christmas songs have been cheering me on in the background and I am thoroughly looking forward to spending a few days with friends and family.

I’ve put together a little list of ideal gifts for our green-fingered loved ones and I hope you find it inspiring.

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Crabtree and Evelyn have a splendid range of hand products specifically for us gardeners. With prices between £5-25 they are reasonable and would suit for secret Santa’s and stocking fillers. I simply love the packaging too. http://www.crabtree-evelyn.co.uk/collections/gardeners/

Chiltern Seeds offers the most spectacular range of seeds which they would be happy to gift wrap for you. Alternatively if you are not quite sure what to choose from their exclusive catalogue why not opt for either a gift voucher or one of their new gift selections.  http://www.chilternseeds.co.uk/

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I have fallen in love with Twool especially this burgundy colour. Garden twine is a necessity, no allotmenteer can go without and it is great to see some more unusual colours. Lets face it I think we are all a bit bored of the standard green! http://shop.twool.co.uk/

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I always love to peruse through the online shop over at Lavender and Leeks. A fantastic array of shabby chic items for any gardener. My personal favourites are the slate markers and the harvest baskets (available in small, medium and large) http://www.lavenderandleeks.co.uk/shop/

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Do your bit for the bees with one of these decorative bee houses. The one above is available from Homebase, but you can also find these on Amazon or in any good garden centre.  http://www.homebase.co.uk/en/homebaseuk/bee-house-933186

I hope you have enjoyed the read. Likes, comments and shares are welcome, and remember if  you have already done your Christmas shopping you can always treat yourselves for being so organised!

 

A weekend in Winchester

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It is the boyfriend’s Birthday this weekend so we celebrated and I surprised him with a weekend in Winchester. We stayed for two nights (Friday and Saturday) and had the best time.

Friday we arrived and checked in to the Premier Inn, comfortable as ever and was just a 15 minute walk from the centre. I did try to book a more central hotel but if you are looking to go in December book super super early! I booked over two months ago and all were fully booked for this weekend.

We had a mooch down to the infamous Christmas market outside the stunning Cathedral, which did not disappoint. So many stalls of the most beautiful and enticing handmade products, a shopaholics dream! Mulled wine is available at every corner as is traditional German beer and a range of food stalls serving pork rolls, German sausages and crepes.

We then headed to a restaurant for dinner and enjoyed an amazing pizza at The Stable, just a short walk from the Cathedral. They specialise in Pizza and Pies, accompanying with a huge range of ciders and beers all locally sourced.

We chose The Longhorn Jim and The Hampshire Hog and would highly recommend both.

Saturday saw us take a visit to Marwell Zoo, it was very blustery conditions but we still had a great day and saw lots of the animals including giraffes, pygmy hippos, tigers, penguins, rhinos and a new favourite the fossa (middle bottom row)!

 

Saturday night we dined in the most exquisite Indian restaurant we have ever been to, located in the centre of Winchester, Gandhi. The food was incredible and generous portion sizes. You must book in advance as they get very busy.

Sunday, after a lush full english breakfast we headed home. A fantastic weekend which as usual went too quickly.

I hope you have enjoyed the read. If you have visited Winchester I would love to hear from you.

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