Deliciously Chewy Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

There are just some things that mean Christmas is only around the corner.

No I’m not talking about when all the shopping centres start playing Christmas carols or even when Santa appears in our malls.

It’s that moment, when the tree is up and decorated, when the Christmas carols are playing softly in the background and you smell this heavenly scent wafting from the kitchen. The smell of spices and warmth, ginger and goodness. That smell, in my mind, means it’s officially Christmas.

I have to admit, with all the craziness that’s been going on in our lives lately, I was a little unenthused about putting up my tree. We finally moved into the “dream house” just last week and everything is all chaos and packing boxes, dust and yellow sand and nowhere near enough coffee.

It took me a whole 3 days to finish it off decorating, which, if you know me, is pure freaking craziness! I love Christmas! And normally it only takes a mere hour or two to complete the job. Once it was done though it did start to feel a little more festive.

But something was still missing.

So I dove right into the kitchen. Knowing that, as usual, that would be where I would find my zen.

A couple hours later and the whole house was smelling of freshly baked gingerbread, shortbread and truffles. Throw in the obligatory carols and twinkling lights and I finally felt my Christmas cheer set in.

Thank Christ.

I so did not want to be the Grinch this year!

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Ever since I went gluten free there are few things I miss more than baked Christmas goodies and that simply comes back to the fact that I’ve never been able to master them and get that true feeling of Christmas back (…you know, in my stomach!)

I just knew, once I perfected these gingerbread cookies that I would have to share them all with you, because I know so many of you are in the same position. After much tinkering and changing and many many batches of different flavours and mixture types I finally found a way to make gluten free gingerbread taste just like I remember.

That perfect mix of chewiness and softness, with a perfectly balanced zing of ginger.

So, if like me, you’ve been dying to get your hands on the perfect gingerbread cookie. Or maybe you just need a little extra injection of Christmas spirit. Either way these cookies are for you!

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Deliciously Chewy Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

Makes: 15 cookies
Prep Time: 2 Hours (including chilling time)
Cook Time: 8-10 Minutes

Ingredients:
60g Butter
100g Golden Syrup
100g Softly packed Brown Sugar
1 ½ Cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
30ml Water
25g Crystallized Ginger

Method:
In a large bowl place your flour, cinnamon, ginger and bicarbonate of soda and mix gently to combine. Set aside.

*A little note on flour choice*
I do highly recommend you use my gluten free flour blend, as I find the store-bought selection to just not offer the same complexness and ultimately it means overly gooey biscuits that spread when they cook. You can however make these with gluten flour and have the same great result.

In a small saucepan add your butter, golden syrup and brown sugar and place over a low heat. You won’t need to do too much to this other than let it melt gently away. Do keep an eye on it though, as you don’t want the mixture bubbling or boiling over.

Once all of your ingredients are melted together give them a good stir to ensure no lumps of brown sugar are left behind, then remove from the heat and let it sit so as to completely cool down.

You’ll know your syrupy goodness is ready when it starts to thicken and form a caramel type consistency and is cool enough to touch.

Pour this golden liquid into your flour and start mixing well. It will resemble crumbs for quite some time before it really starts to come together.

Now finely dice up the crystallized ginger and add half of it into your dough. Work it through with your hands to guarantee it’s evenly mixed through. Now add your water and mix with your hands until it forms a soft, sticky ball.

*Some bakers will argue the addition of water to the mixture and instead suggest you use milk or another similar liquid to bring it together. In this case, since we aren’t already using milk, oil or egg, I would definitely suggest you don’t add any of these. It will likely change the structure and texture of your cookie. I’ve also found the addition of more golden syrup and butter don’t help the situation! Weirdly enough, water gives me the perfect chewy gingerbread that I’ve been searching for!

Roll your ball of dough roughly together, wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

Once chilled, your gingerbread dough will have firmed up somewhat and it will make rolling and cutting your cookies out so much easier.

On a large piece of baking paper roll out your dough with a well-floured rolling pin until it’s about 1/2cm thick. Then you can cut out your cookies using whatever shape you like! I like to do a mix of traditional gingerbread men and different Christmassy shapes. This year I used a plain circle cutter and used my stunning new Cookie Stamp Co stamp to press an imprint on top!

For a little bit of a different take on the classic gingerbread why not try using the base of a crystal decanter or scotch glass? They often have beautiful patterns in them and when floured and pressed hard into the cookie round can leave a lovely indent.

Once cut you can sprinkle your cookies with the leftover diced crystallized ginger. No need to press it into the dough, just leave it on top. This will give a nice little extra zing for those who like it!

Continue to cut and roll your cookies until you have used all of your mixture. Leave them on the tray where they are and place straight back into the fridge to set for 1 hour or so. (You could leave them longer if you like, but I get a bit impatient! I find leaving them longer doesn’t always help set them either.)

Pre-heat your oven to 180º Celsius and once hot, pop those trays of cookies straight from the fridge to the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the outside edge and tops of the cookies are brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Then enjoy!!

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There really is nothing better, in my mind, than a house full of love, family and the smell of gingerbread at this festive time of year!

What scents bring Christmas to life in your home?

 

Dream Home Coming to Life: Part Eighteen

“Pick one room and make it yours. Go slowly through the house. Be polite, introduce yourself so it can introduce itself to you. “– Frances Mayer, Under the Tuscan Sun

If you’ve ever met me you’ll know that one of my all-time favourite movies is Under the Tuscan Sun. Interestingly I saw the movie first, then read the book…. And didn’t actually like the book that much, well in comparison to the movie that is. They’re really rather different stories, both of which I enjoyed on their own, but there is just something about the movie that has me hooked.

It could be because the female lead is a writer who moves to Italy on a whim and randomly buys a rundown villa and decides to renovate it in an effort to overcome her divorce. Funnily enough I’ve loved this movie since I was a teenager, and I still do. It’s not a very teenagery topic, but there you have it.

Now if you know my family at all, you’ll know that movie quotes and one-liners play a fairly big part in our lives…. You could blame the fact that my parents owned a video store during my teenage years… but honestly, I think it’s just who we are.

So as you can imagine, I’m a big one for remembering quotes, even more so if they hit a chord with me. One such quote is the one above from said wonderful movie. Even at 15 years old it meant something to me, but now, gosh it means even more now.

If you haven’t guessed we officially moved into the Dream Home over the weekend and boy, was it chaotic leading up to it. I’ve mentioned in previous posts about how crazy life has gotten these last few months but these last couple of weeks ratcheted my stress levels above even what I anticipated….. and we all know how well I handle stress huh!

What I didn’t anticipate was the continuation of said chaos once we were in. The move itself was actually pretty calm. We started early Friday morning, worked all day, then did it all again Saturday. By that night, we were sleeping in the new house! Nothing was broken, no boxes have gone missing (well not that I’ve noticed yet), all my appliances continued to work (we’ll just skim over the last move where our fridge died) and it all worked out OK.

It was once we were actually living in the house that the chaos reigned supreme.

I won’t focus too much on the few things that have gone wrong inside the house, it’ll probably just upset you, like it did me. Simply put, there are marks on the new skirting boards, there are scuff marks on my freshly painted walls, there is paint all over my brand new bath tub and a myriad of other defects that are on our list to chase up and have fixed.

The immediate problem though, was where to find my god damn nespresso machine! Seriously, how is one supposed to conquer a world of towering boxes and random pieces of furniture stacked in my living room without caffeine?!

But I digress.

It was on Sunday (or was it Monday?), whilst sitting on my kitchen floor, back against a cupboard, ignoring my screaming 19 month old’s meltdown over something incredibly insignificant, that I remembered this line.

Funny how words can play such an important part in our lives huh?

I think it’s because this house, or home rather, has been so long in the making that I just want to get to the fun part. The part where I start to make it ours…. In a simple and uncomplicated way. I guess I forgot about the unpacking bit.

So it’s with Frances Mayer’s words in my mind, that I started, and I focused my entire attention on the kitchen. Almost a week later and it’s still not quite finished, but it’s pretty darn close. I won’t show you what it looks like yet, as it’s a little bit chaotic still. But the cupboards are full, a few pretty things are already adorning my walls and bench tops and I’m actually beginning to feel a mite more in control.

One room has now introduced itself to me.

And can I just say…. I love it.

So here are a few picks to show you how far our little home has come over the last week. Stay tuned for another big update in a few weeks!

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The sunset from our back porch. We get a stunning view every night and every sunset is different. 

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The walls are freshly painted and our lovely floor planks have now been laid!

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My kitchen has quickly become my favourite place in the entire house!

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Proir to the skirting boards being attached and painted, it looks even better now!

There will be one more house update in two weeks my friends and then that will be it for this year! I can’t believe how far we’ve come or how quickly it’s happened but the new year is upon us, and my gosh have I got some exciting things in store for us!

Stay tuned is all I can say!!

If you’ve missed the rest of our build journey you can start right back at the beginning here, or why not jump across and join me on Facebook or Instagram to see just how chaotic it has been!

Now I’m off to pick up the boy child. Cheerio and Merry Christmas! (hah! I can start saying it now… it’s officially December!!) xxx

Coconut & Chocolate Macaroons

Well it’s a month till Christmas. 27 days to be exact. 
So I thought it time I start my Christmas Baking! I have so much planned this year and I feel like I have no time to do it in, but once this whole moving house thing calms down (and I actually find all of my baking stuff again) I should be able to get right back into the swing of things.

This time last year I made up these amazing coconut and chocolate macaroons as little Secret Santa gifts for my hubby’s end of year work dinner. I don’t know about you but I tend to find those cheap little gifts you normally give just end up in a pile somewhere and how much nicer is it to receive something handmade… or better yet… delicious!!

Now I will admit, it’s really hard for me to make these macaroons. Why you might ask? It’s not because they’re hard to create, in fact they’re too damn easy, but rather they are sooooo yummy that I can’t help but eat them all myself!! It actually took me a while to figure out why I was loving them so much when I realized they tasted just like a bounty bar!!, one of my all time favourite chocolate bars. That’s when I knew it was all going to end very badly if I kept making them.

Now the best bit about these scrummy nuggets of coconutty goodness is that they can easily be made Gluten Free as long as you check the type of dark chocolate you use and double check your brand of condensed milk.

Most condensed milk is gluten free however I would always check the ingredients list to be sure. Unlike chocolate where, shall we say, most big name brands, carry a contamination warning. For a tasty, but not too bitter dark chocolate that is definitely gluten free try Nestle’s chocolate bits or melts, they’re my go-to chocolate for baking now! 

You can check out the full list of Nestle’s Gluten Free products here.

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Coconut & Chocolate Macaroons

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes + 15 minutes chilling
Makes: 24 cookies

Ingredients:
200g Shredded Coconut
200g Desiccated Coconut
1 tin (397g) Sweetened Condensed Milk – I use Carnation brand
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 large Egg whites
1/4 tsp Fine Salt
150g Gluten Free Dark Chocolate like Nestle chocolate melts

*If you don’t have 200g of each type of coconut, don’t worry. You can use 400g of either one or any combined variation of the two. However you will need to adjust how much Condensed milk you use.
If using more Shredded coconut you will need slightly less condensed milk. If using more Desiccated Coconut you will need the full tin. *

Method:

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line two large baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

In a large bowl place all of the coconut followed by the condensed milk and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.
Your mixture should be sticky and wet looking. If it isn’t clumping together nicely when pushed together you need to add more condensed milk. I normally add 3/4 of the tin to start with, mixing and then checking the consistency. Depending on your ratio of coconut you may need to add more or less condensed milk. I then add the remainder of the condensed milk in small amounts, mixing as I go until I get the right consistency.

In a separate medium sized bowl place your egg whites and salt and beat with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. wondering-if-your-beaten-eggs-whites-are-stiff-enough-hold-them-over-your-head-and-if-they-dont-fall-on-your-face-youre-good-to-go

Now take a spatula and add the egg whites to your coconut mixture. Ensure you add the egg whites to the coconut and not the other way around as you will squash your egg whites and not get enough air into the mix. Fold the two together slowly.

Now you can form your macaroons and you can really make them as big or as little as you like. I like to use a slightly heaped dessert spoon and squish the mixture into a rough shape, but you could easily make them larger or smaller. Now lay them out on your baking trays with a couple of centimeters (roughly an inch) between them, they don’t really spread so no need to stress too much here. 

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Use a slightly heaped dessert spoon to form your macaroons.

Bake for 25 minutes. However keep a close eye on them if you have adjusted the size of your macaroon. Smaller will cook faster, larger will take longer. The key here is to find the golden sweet spot. You want the bases to be a dark golden that has just crept around the edges of the macaroon and the tops to be very slightly golden. Once done let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. 

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Looking for that golden sweet spot: Dark golden bases and very lightly golden tops.

Now you can go ahead and melt your dark chocolate. I always recommend using a double boiler rather than the microwave. Microwaves are just way too hit and miss for my liking and I hate wasting good chocolate!

A double boiler is simple: Place a small pot of water on to boil, once boiling place a medium sized bowl over top. You’ll want to test the size of bowl you are going to use before putting it onto boil. The bowl should be big enough that it sits comfortably over the pot of water but not actually touch the water. You can then pop your chocolate into the top bowl and stir slowly allowing to melt. 

Once melted dip each cooled macaroon into the chocolate, coating just the bottom slightly. Allow excess chocolate to drip off before placing onto a piece of baking paper on a tray. Then pop them into the fridge for around 15 minutes. An alternative to coating the bottom is to drizzle the tops with chocolate instead. I tried both but I definitely prefer the snap of chocolate as you bite into their chewy goodness. 

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Just too good to resist!

Now you have a fantastic, easy, delicious macaroon that’s perfect for the holiday season!!

What holiday cookies will you be baking up this year?

 

 

 

 

To Die For Boozy Christmas Truffles

There’s nothing quite like getting a big bag of homemade treats at Christmas time is there, well at least I think so.

Admit it, there’s just something kind of wonderful and truly Christmassy when you receive a thoughtfully baked/made/chilled gift, preferably wrapped in crinkly cellophane or displayed in a beautiful little Christmas tin.

Personally I love giving homemade gifts, whether they’re delicious baked cookies, decorated gingerbread men or a cute little Christmas card. I just love the idea that someone will receive and enjoy this little gift I’ve made them and know that I chose to put my heart into it’s creation.

It’s also a great way to deal with those pesky people that are just impossible to buy for too! You know the ones I’m talking about! The grandma who quite literally has everything, the uncle that wants for nothing or the niece who is, lets say, gluten or dairy intolerant!

Whipping up a little something for them specifically is just a lovely way to say Happy Holidays, and an awesome way to empty out your store cupboards. I don’t know about you, but I always have lots of leftover baking goods, excess flours, weird ingredients I haven’t used again, chocolate….. pfffft who am I kidding! We both know there is no such thing as ‘leftover’ chocolate in this house.

The point is, it’s a great, cheaper alternative to buying a heap of little gifts for people at the time of year when it’s more about spending time together and appreciating all that we have.

Plus you know, who doesn’t need a hit of booze at Christmas. All that family milling about? Gah! Whip up some of these bad boys and you’ll be ducking into the fridge “just to check on something” every time tipsy Aunty Mildred starts pointing out everyone’s faults.

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Boozy Christmas Truffles

– Gluten Free – Dairy Free –
– Makes approx 20 medium sized truffles –
– Fridge time 2+ Hours –

Ingredients:
1 Cup Plain Gluten Free Sweet Biscuits (approx 125g. I love Schar’s Plain Biscuits)
1/2 Cup Desiccated Coconut
1/2 Cup Sifted Icing Sugar
1 Tbsp Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder (not Cadbury! as it’s not GF)
1/4 Cup Sultanas
1 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 Cup Irish Cream Liqueur (*see below for alternatives*)
+ Extra Desiccated Coconut for decorating

Alternatives to Baileys/Irish Cream.
There are so many different kinds of alcohol you can use in these truffles. At their core though, they are Whisky truffles, so I do tend to like to stick to the tried and true. However you can easily make these child friendly and make them with any sort of flavouring you like! Check out my list below of other substitutes:
– Any kind of Whisky but Johnnie Walker Black Label works well (just use a shot rather than a full 1/4 cup as it’s quite overpowering.)
– Any kind of Cream liqueur, think coffee, salted caramel or even cherry flavoured ones!
– Espresso, in particular I love to use Nespresso’s flavoured pods!
– Equal amounts of cream with a dash of your favourite essence, think Peppermint for Christmas!
– Hazelnut Coffee Essence or any flavour from a place like Yahava Koffeeworks 

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Why not give a shot of Espresso a try instead of whisky? I had some leftover pods of a limited edition Nespresso range that had hints of peppermint mixed with the coffee… gotta say, they were delicious!!

Method:

In a small food processor (a Nutri Bullet or similar works really well here!) place your biscuits and blitz until it resembles a very fine crumb. Don’t stress if you don’t get all the lumps out though.

Transfer the crumb to a large bowl and throw in the coconut, icing sugar and cocoa powder, stir to combine. Now transfer approximately one rough tablespoon back into your food processor and add your sultanas to this. Give them a blitz until they break down into smaller pieces, you want to stop though before they all start to clump together.

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Transfer your sultanas and dry mixture (which should be quite clumpy now) back to the main bowl and throw in. Add in the water and honey and give it a quick stir.

Now comes the fun part! You can add any kind of flavouring to these yummy truffles that you like. Check out my list of substitutes above for some ideas, but get creative! If you are using alcohol though my suggestion is adding about half the required amount, giving it a good mix and trying it before adding in the remainder. Some people like a real whollop in each bite, others prefer a more subtle flavour.

Line a baking tray or air tight container with grease proof paper and start rolling! Have a small bowl next to you with a good 1/4 cup extra of desiccated coconut to roll your balls in before placing in the tray.

Again the size you make your truffles is totally up to you and it will depend on how big you make them as to how many you’ll get out of this recipe. My general guide though is to use a teaspoon and make slightly heaped piles, then roll between the palms of your hands to round them out and finish with a dip in the coconut.

You can leave them on the tray or in a container in the fridge until they harden up, this generally takes 2 or more hours. Once hard they can be kept in any air tight container in the fridge until you devour them all or give them lovingly to friends and family.

I will say though, my first batch of the festive season is currently sitting in my fridge… where upon I remove at least one every time I open the door! My gorgeous friends who these were originally for MIGHT get some next week…. might. 

The best part though definitely is the fact that they can be made for any occasion! There is no reason you can’t whip them up for a little New Year celebration, for a colleagues birthday or for any little shindig you might happen upon…. or just because really! I mean when shouldn’t you treat yourself?!

What’s your go-to handmade gift? Pop across to Facebook and join in the conversation now!

 

How to Decorate a Christmas Wreath

 

OK So it’s only 37 days until Christmas….

….. and surprisingly my tree and decorations are not up yet! *shock horror* I know right?! How dare I, Miss I love Christmas and start getting ready for it earlier every year! But we are about to move house (in a short 11 days) and I thought it best not to put everything up and then have to pull it all down again….. I mean I did consider it…. but the look my hubby gave me kind of said it all.

So I have resigned myself to the fact that this year my decorations and beautiful tree won’t be going up until December 1st, you know, like the rest of the world! But this hasn’t stopped me from getting as organised as possible.

Now I suggest turning away if you’re not mentally ready for this! I know a lot of you are “I’ll start once December rolls around” people! but once you embrace the early Xmas prep idea you may just come to like it…. or even love it!

So far I have bought or ordered all but 2 presents and I’m going to do those today! My wrapping paper and cards are ready to go, my Christmas baking list is prepped (you’ll have to stay tuned for some awesome gluten free recipes that are about to drop!!) and I’ve even written out a shopping list for some of the things I’ll need to buy in bulk. Pretty amazing huh!

The other thing I really wanted to do to kick off my decorating preparation was to organize my door wreath. A couple of years ago I decided to decorate my own and I really enjoyed it. This year I thought it was time for a bit of a revamp. It’s not too hard to do and you can use decorations you already have laying around home. Why not check out Pinterest for some theme or style ideas!!

Here we go….!

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What you’ll need:
A bare leafy wreath (you can purchase these from any good Christmas retailer!)
Scissors
Pipe cleaners (you can use any colour, however green will blend in nicely)
Ribbon/Bells/Baubles (or any assorted decorations you like)
5m of Fairy Lights with Battery Pack
Oh and of course Christmas Carols to listen to while you do it all!

Directions: 

  1. Decide on your theme and colour. Think outside the box and check out Google or Pinterest for some great ideas! There really is no limit on what you can create. Some basic colour combos are:
    – Red, Silver & White
    – Red & Gold
    – Burgundy & Browns
    – Purple & Silver
    – Burlap & Red
    Now you can go on the hunt for decorations! Raid your old decs from previous years or hit up a specialty Christmas store or even dollar store’s like Red Dot. Don’t limit yourself to just baubles either!
    Keep in mind your climate and the location of the wreath too. Will it be exposed to hot afternoon sun? Or snow? I’m in Western Australia so it’ll be a hot one again this year, luckily my porch gives my wreath quite a bit of protection so I’m not too worried. Baubles can fade a little over time in the sun, so keep this is mind when making your selection.

    I went for traditional colours this year. Red, green and gold. I also like a fairly simple look with not too much going on so I decided on a (pre-tied, I know I cheated!!) big red bow for the top!

    I went for traditional colours this year. Red, green and gold. I also like a fairly simple look with not too much going on so I decided on a pre-tied ( I know I cheated!!) big red bow for the top!

  2. Grab your bare wreath and lay it out somewhere flat where you’ll be able to step back and assess your work regularly. I like to work standing at the kitchen table or on the floor. Ensure you have all your decorations and bits and pieces laid out ready to go so you don’t go searching for things as you need them.
  3. I had to strip my old wreath first. So I carefully removed all of the old decorations by un-winding the pipe cleaner and putting them aside to be reused.

    Last year's wreath just wasn't thrilling me anymore. Time to strip it and start again!

    Last year’s wreath just wasn’t thrilling me anymore. Time to strip it and start again!

  4. Fluff up your wreath! You want it looking as festive as possible so spend some time separating the fronds and pulling them out of the the middle.
  5. This step is optional. I decided to add Fairy lights to my wreath this year and now is the time to do it. How long a length you will need is dependent on what size a wreath you chose. My wreath is approx 60cm in diameter (or 2ft) and I used a 5 meter strand of lights.
    Starting at the top and towards the back start wrapping your lights around the wreath. Push the lights into the wreath ensuring the bulb is facing out to give you the best glow. Once you’ve finished wrapping it all the way around tuck the battery pack into the back of the wreath ensuring it’s in an easy to reach spot. Don’t worry about final light placement just yet, you can re-adjust once you’ve finished decorating.
  6. Now you can start playing. This step is really all about just trying things on and seeing how they look! Place baubles onto the wreath, tuck them into places, wrap ribbon loosely around! You can pop standing ornaments or even a Santa clause in the middle! Just don’t attach anything just yet. It’s all about experimenting with the look.

    Assessing whether it's coming together like I wanted... I think it needs larger baubles mixed in with the smaller ones and more tucked towards the back to give the wreath some depth.

    Assessing whether it’s coming together like I wanted… I think it needs larger baubles mixed in with the smaller ones and more tucked towards the back to give the wreath some depth.

  7. Remember to step back regularly and look at the whole picture. Keep in mind the height at which you’re going to hang it from too! Standing over the wreath means you place things in straight but if you’re like me (short!) then your wreath will actually hang above eye level, so I like to angle my decorations down slightly just so I get the full effect.
  8. Once you’re happy with the overall layout you can start attaching each piece. This is as simple as cutting each pipe cleaner in half and feeding one end through the top of your bauble or decoration and twisting it close. Then, using the anchor points on the back of your wreath for bigger/heavier items or just using the leaves for lighter pieces, you can push the decoration in and twist the pipe cleaner around.

    Cut your pipe cleaners in half and thread one end through your bauble or decoration.

    Cut your pipe cleaners in half and thread one end through your bauble or decoration.

  9. Push your decorations in deep, hang them loosely, do whatever you think looks good! This is all about your vision!
  10. Now it’s time to assess. I like to hang up my wreath and do my final touches. To hang your wreath you could go with a basic wreath door hanger like this one here or using a 3M hook on the inside of your door and a length of sturdy ribbon draped over the door.
    Once it’s hanging you can get a good idea of how it will sit and if you need to change anything up, like the angle or location of a bauble. Now is also the time to turn that battery pack on and assess the light placement and how they work with your decorations.
  11. Now that you’re finally happy you can do what I’ve done…. popped it in the spare room until December 1st! Or you can hang it out early and taunt your neighbours with how organized you are!!
    Looking pretty good I think... now to turn on the lights!

    Looking pretty good I think… now to turn on the lights!

    Ta-Dah!!! So pretty with the lights on! I love it!

    Ta-Dah!!! So pretty with the lights on! I love it!

So there you have it! A fairly simple walk-through on how to decorate a Christmas Wreath! If you really are stuck for ideas on what decorations to use there are plenty of YouTube videos or Pinterest images out there to get you started.

Will you be decorating your own wreath this festive season?!

My Simple & Summery 3 Ingredient Strawberry Popsicles

Summer has well and truly arrived…. well sort of…  we should probably just ignore the fact that it’s not technically summer yet.

But we certainly have had some random days when the mercury shot right up and we all end up sweltering hot. On those days we just need a little slice of icey cold heaven to cool us down. And what better way to chill us out, than that classic childhood summer snack, an icy pole.

Young or old, I don’t know many people who don’t have fond memories of licking an icy pole in the summer heat, with sticky sweet rivulets running down their hands and arms, trying to catch each drop and savouring it right to the end.

It was on a regular old day that I decided to whip these bad boys up and store them in the freezer for when it got too hot to handle. That sticky, hot day finally came and went over the weekend and we spent it with Mister L in his paddling pool, each with an icy pole in hand. I can’t tell you how glad we were that we had them sitting in the freezer ready to go!

So with so much gorgeous fresh fruit on the market at the moment, how can you not want to make up a batch of these and store them for when you’re really going to need them.

The best thing about these popsicles though is just how dang easy they are, almost to the point where you don’t really need a recipe. They’re also fabulous if you trying to avoid refined sugar, as this recipe can be made with or without, it’s purely up to your taste buds!

Hey, you could even make up an ‘Adults Only’ batch  with a little splash of something extra special in it😉

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My Simple & Summery 3 Ingredient Strawberry Popsicles

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Do We Need A Reminder to Remember?

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.” – John McCrae

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On the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month we stop to remember. We stop to remember the boys that we sent to fight against the tyrannical leader who forced a World War upon us. We stop and appreciate the world as it is, because thanks to these boys (and you can most certainly call them that) we have a free and well, I would like to say peaceful world, but I suppose I can’t.

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